word finding

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sun Apr 9 17:01:16 UTC 2006

1.  Liane Hansen, reporting on NPR's Morning Edition Sunday, 4/9/06,
on the third anniversary of Baghdad's fall, with reference to that
day three years ago: "... the mood was almost jubilatory"

a natural derivative from the intransitive verb "jubilate", but
normally pre-empted by "jubilant".  not in AHD4, NOAD2, or NSOED2.
OED2 has one cite, from 1872.  but ca. 12,200 raw google webhits, so
hansen is far from alone.  maybe "jubilatory" sounds more
enthusiastic than "jubilant", because it has two more syllables (and
one more accented syllable).

2.  this reminded me of "jubulant" as a morphological re-shaping of
"jubilant" (we've recently had "nuptuals" and "esculate", among
others).  ca. 1,150 raw google webhits, including:

A very jubulant picture taken before quarterfinals at FLR. I'm on the
left just in case you think all Asians look alike ...

Tally!! I am abundantly jubulant to hear from you. IM me sometime
buddy ol pal...I have missed you. ...

Atop his warhorse, he trotted up through Haraguchi Kenichi's men (all
of them bloody, dirty, and oddly jubulant) ignoring the men as he
passed by. ...

3.  and then an odd (to me) word choice, from MTV's Real World gay
guy Tyler, interviewed in Instinct magazine, April 2006, p. 21: "I
was the most athletic person in the house, which is kind of a
dichotomy to have the most athetic guy being the gay guy."

sounds like Tyler actually intended to say "dichotomy", but it's not
clear what sort of word choice glitch this is -- a classical
malapropism (in which the word the rest of us would use --
"disparity"?  or what? -- is phonologically similar to "dichotomy")
or a semantic error (in which Tyler has abduced a meaning for
"dichotomy", presumably on the basis of the 'contrast, opposition'
semantic component of "dichotomy", that is somewhat different from
the meaning the rest of us have).  probably the latter, given the
very frequent use of "dichotomy between" to express contrast/
opposition/tension as well as separation/difference -- among the ca.
1,920,000 webhits for <"dichotomy between"> are things like

   "the dichotomy between structure and randomness"
   (Jock Sturges) "that dichotomy between the public consumption of
the work and my intent and practice in making it"
   "clarifying the dichotomy between the 12-step approach and
professional psychotherapy and counseling"
   "the dichotomy between sex and faith"

Tyler seems to have taken the contrast component all the way out to
contradiction, perhaps with an element of surprise.  that's further
than i'm willing to go, but no doubt others have gone there with Tyler.

arnold (zwicky at csli.stanford.edu)

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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