suggestive names

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon Jun 12 16:29:06 UTC 2006

W. C. Fields used the expletive "Godfrey Daniels" when annoyed in his

I have also seen credited to Fields an inquiry as to the well-being of
the Bates family, but particularly the young master.

A friend was in a class when Dizzy Gillespie appeared as guest
lecturer.  Gillespie had the class say a four-word phrase -- I forget
the 2nd word, but the phrase was something like "hoof parted, ice
melted", which when repeated again and again, more and more quickly,
turned into "who farted? I smelled it".

These and the other responses seem mostly to be either dodging an
offensive term (while leaving it clear what the term dodged is) or a
tongue-twister &c that gives an obscene result when garbled.  Not
really parallel to Slartibartfast?


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
Date: Saturday, June 10, 2006 2:06 pm
Subject: suggestive names

> a correspondent writes, in connection with my writing on Language Log
> on substitutes for taboo vocabulary, mentioning the character
> Slartibartfast from the Hitchhiker's Guide, adding
> > Adams wrote that he wanted a name
> > that sounded obscene but wasn't, so he started with
> > and tweaked it until he had something he could broadcast.
> *someone* must (he says, for the hundredth time or so) have collected
> names that are invented to sound indecent without being so, and/or to
> trip you into making a speech error with unfortunate consequences.
> i'm trying to recall the whole Farkle Family on Laugh-In: Fred and
> Fannie Farkle, and their children, including Flicker, the youngest
> Sparkle, and the twins Simon and Garr.  the whole thing was designed
> to induce unfortunate speech errors.
> is there a term for such names?  anyone studied, or at least
> collected, them?
> arnold, who hasn't
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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