Brand names -- references ETC.

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Fri Apr 25 19:58:50 UTC 2003

My former student Jennifer Westeghaus (now an intellectual property attorney) 
and I gave a paper on this very subject at the SHEL conference in Seattle 
last spring (to be published in the conference proceedings if all goes 
according to plan). We are also scheduled to give papers on the same topic at 
the DSNA meeting at Duke at the end of May 2003 and in Sydney, Australia, in 

I don't think the practice -- i.e., asking for a "Kleenex" instead of a 
tissue, which Jennifer and I note is really just a kind of short-hand 
reference (technically, SYNECDOCHE or ANTONOMASIA) -- is really "growing." 
But there is a lot of evidence that the process of trademarks actually 
turning into generics is on the decline.

Some published sources (which our work builds on but does not always agree 

Baron, Dennis. 1989. "Word Law." Verbatim 16.1: 1–4. [an excellent 
introduction from one of the ADS's very best writers]

Clankie, Shawn M. 2001. "Why Bud Weiser Can Sell Cars (But Not Beer)." 
Verbatim 26.3:3.

Clankie, Shawn M. 2002. A Theory of Genericization and Brand Name Change. 
Edwin Mellon Press.

Landau, Sidney. 2001. Dictionaries: The Art and Craft of Lexicography, 2nd 
edition. Cambridge University Press. [see his discussion of the 
"metaphorical" use of BAND-AID--a good start but, in our opinion, Landau 
misses some of the linguistic subtleties]

Paikeday, Thomas M. "Xeroxing in American Speech." Paper presented at the 
American Dialect Society, 27 December 1974.

Shuy, Roger. 2002. Linguistic Battles in Trademark Disputes. Palgrave. 
[acknowledges Landau's arguments and illustrates with other examples, but 
does not move beyond Landau's frame or reference with respect to genericness]

Merriam-Webster. Word for the Wise. 1998 (January 9). [suggests the term ANTONOMASIA where 
we prefer the good old-fashioned SYNECDOCHE)

In a message dated 4/25/03 12:55:32 PM, pkurtz at HEIDELBERG.EDU writes:

> Can anyone list some contemporary references, either internet or journal
> articles, which discuss the increase (or decrease) in use of brand names 
> for
> every day items in speech (such as "Jeep" for an SUV)?  I have students 
> doing a
> project on this who are having trouble finding information.
> Thanks!
> --
> Patti J. Kurtz
> Assistant Professor, English

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