Re: Verbing Nouns

Subject: Re: Verbing Nouns
From: Jerry Kindall <kindall -at- MANUAL -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 1997 10:38:29 -0500

On 2/27/97 1:00 AM, "George F. Hayhoe" <gfhayhoe -at- SCESCAPE -dot- NET> wrote:

>David Orr noted:
>
><<I newspapered while I Mondayed and coffeed yesterday. The article said
>Madeleine Albright Kissingered recently as she diplomatted while she
>Chinaed.>>
>
>It's either the scariest thing about our language or almost mystical, but
>isn't it intriguing that the sentence above is entirely comprehensible?
>Verbing some nouns gives language extraordinary compression.

I'm not sure I entirely agree. In my mind "newspapering" would be
something a reporter or a publisher does. (Or maybe your 12-year-old
neighbor who has the paper route!) "Coffeeing" would be something
Starbuck's employees do (unless David means he MADE the coffee). And
what exactly makes "Mondaying" different from "Tuesdaying"? And is
saying Albright "diplomatted" redundant after saying she "Kissingered?"

For those who remember the old Softalk magazine (probably very few), they
once ran a piece which bemoaned the verbing of words and other English
shenanigans common in the computer industry. (If, the author pondered,
you have 8" disks, and 5.25" diskettes, would you have 3.5"
diskettettes?) I recall the ending of the piece being something about
how the author pondered these points as he "highwayed, avenued, and
streeted home" from a trade show. It was amusing. Since the piece
mentioned 3.5" disks, I imagine it was written no earlier than 1984.


--
Jerry Kindall <kindall -at- manual -dot- com>
Manual Labor <http://www.manual.com/>
Technical Writing; Internet & WWW Consulting

Author of the Web Motion Encyclopedia
The comprehensive animation and video reference for Web designers
Coming Summer '97 from Waite Group Press

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