"Upset" & other nomenological phenomena

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Sun Nov 17 14:54:10 UTC 2002

My favorite is from the Polish-speaking world. Before WWII, "Alfons"
was a Frenchified but perfectly reasonable Polish name. After
(during?) the war, it took on the meaning "pimp." I met a guy in
Krakow once (in his 50's in the 70's) who hemmed and hawwed when I
asked him his name. Of course, it was "Alfons."

I'm not sure, but I would suspect that the "Randy" handle for
"Randolph" died in Britain (when it became a synonym for "horny," as
it did not in the US - surely the case since I was once introduced to
a "Randy Cox" with nary a giggle).


>  >>My father was born & christened  Sherlock  (after his grandfather,
>>>S.A.Bronson) in 1878, some years before Conan Doyle created his character.
>>>Sherlock Holmes's iconic stature has since rendered "Sherlock" virtually
>>>out-of-bounds  as a given name. I've never encountered another Sherlock.
>>>I suppose there are other examples of this sort of thing, but I can't think
>>>of any, offhand, in the English-speaking world.
>>>A. Murie
>>Well, Jesus is pretty unusual as a given name in the English-speaking
>>(but not Spanish-speaking) world.
>Um.  Not quite a parallel!
>A&M Murie
>N. Bangor NY
>sagehen at westelcom.com

Dennis R. Preston
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Languages
740 Wells Hall A
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
Office - (517) 353-0740
Fax - (517) 432-2736

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