FW: journalist's inquiry on the slang of Variety magazine
Cohen, Gerald Leonard
gcohen at UMR.EDU
Sat Dec 18 22:05:39 UTC 2004
Dear ads-l members,
Yesterday I received the query below, and perhaps some ads-l members can assist Ms. Wren on the topic she asks about. Please respond directly to her (perhaps with a cc. to ads-l); her email address is celiawren at hotmail.com
I'm not knowledgeable about the slang of Variety, although my records show at least 8 Comments on Etymology items pertaining to theater slang. I don't know what Ms. Wren's deadline is, but I'm sure any assistance would be very welcome.
Best. -- Gerald Cohen
> From: Celia Wren
> Sent: Friday, December 17, 2004 9:04 AM
> To: Cohen, Gerald Leonard
> Subject: journalist inquiry
> Dear Professor Cohen:
> I am writing an article about the idiosyncratic slang that has been coined and used by the show-biz magazine Variety. I wondered if you knew of a
> lexicographer/language expert I might interview for 15 minutes or so to get some insight into the Variety-slanguage phenomenon? Perhaps you might even
> speak on the subject yourself? I got your name from the American Dialect
> Society website.
> Variety's slang includes terms like > "> to pinkslip> "> (meaning to fire someone), > "> to ankle> "> (meaning to leave a job), > "> to greenlight> "> (meaning to give the
> go-ahead for a project), > "> biopic> "> (a biographical film) and > "> boffo> "> (outstanding). Some of the slanguage terms have apparently infiltrated the lexicon of the broader public: > "> Corny> "> and > "> sex appeal> "> are both terms that
> Variety claims to have coined (according to the slanguage index on their
> My questions are:
> How much Variety slang has infiltrated the lexicon of the broader
> Did they really coin > "> corny> "> and > "> sex appeal> "> ? How about > "> cliffhanger> "> ?
> Are there any other magazines that have invented their own language in this
> My article is for the Boston Globe > "> Ideas> "> section. If you have any
> suggestions on language experts I might interview, I> '> d be very grateful.
> Celia Wren
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