JFK (Just For Kerry)

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Mon Feb 9 03:19:53 UTC 2004

At 12:46 PM -0500 2/8/04, Beverly Flanigan wrote:
>What does this story have to do with dialects or word etymology?  Are
>personal initials now to be antedated?

    The humorous reinterpreting of what initials stand for is a
legitimate subject of linguistic interest.  HMO's (How Many Others?),
TWA (Teeny-Weeny Airlines) are two that come to mind; more examples
were once given in a series of ads-l messages about three years ago.
A compilation of these items into an article might be worthwhile.
Anyone interested?

    We deal here with humor/playfulness in language, and Allen Walker
Read once gave a linguistic address in which he emphasized this
feature.  The address was published and I have it somewhere in my
office. I remember that he quotes someone as referring to man (woman
too, of course) as homo ludens--Man at Play."

    Btw, does the humorous reinterpreting of what initials stand for
occur in other languages?

Gerald Cohen

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