Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Thu Jul 15 12:25:42 UTC 1999


It's very seldom that a "coiner" is personally identified. Is it really the
case that you wouldn't like to hear from him about the coinage? I don't
want to belittle your eterprise at all (for the "dating" of senses,
expressions, and even items is an important task), but the cognitive, folk,
anecdotal, and other factors which surround coinage and shift are surely as
interesting (and, I would claim, with again no intent to demean the dating
game) "linguistically" (if not sociohistorically) more interesting.


>On Wed, 14 Jul 1999, Gerald Cohen wrote:
>>     I've followed the responses to Mr. Johnson's July 12 e-mail, and it
>> seems now that one minor task remains to be done:  It would be helpful to
>> have a statement directly from Paul Lewis clarifying just  when and how he
>> coined the term "Frankenfood."  Also: are there any details of his coining
>> the term that would be of any interest but have thus far escaped mention in
>> any publication?  If so, would he please write them down so  we may have
>> his authoritative statment about what happened.
>This is really not necessary.  It's crystal-clear from a Nexis search that
>Lewis coined the term in a 16 June 1992 letter to the New York Times.
>Lewis himself confirmed in a Boston Globe interview later in the year that
>this was the coinage.
>Fred R. Shapiro                             Coeditor (with Jane Garry)
>Associate Librarian for Public Services     TRIAL AND ERROR: AN OXFORD
>  and Lecturer in Legal Research            ANTHOLOGY OF LEGAL STORIES
>Yale Law School                             Oxford University Press, 1998
>e-mail: fred.shapiro at               ISBN 0-19-509547-2

Dennis R. Preston
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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