yoda as a generic

ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Tue May 4 17:02:03 UTC 2010

It is (apparently) true that the quotation that Amy cites has one of the legal markers of generics: it is not Capitalized. Even so, I don't think it is really generic, the fundamental criterion for which is that most people do not recognize a connection between the word and its etymogical proper noun. Any name can be used the way YODA is used here. Even "quixotic" is probably not truly generic for most people who know the word.
------Original Message------
From: Dave Wilton
Sender: ADS-L
ReplyTo: ADS-L
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] yoda as a generic
Sent: May 4, 2010 5:14 PM

It's been around a while. From Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 3, "School
Hard," shooting script 7/30/1997, by David Greenwalt:

Spike talking to Angel: "You think you can fool me? You were my sire,
man...you were my Yoda!"

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Amy West
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 7:19 AM
Subject: yoda as a generic

(I did a quick search of the since-1999 ADS-L archive and the
before-April-2008 Language Log archive before posting this: I
apologize if I missed something.)

I spotted this use of "yoda" as generic -- equivalent to "guru" -- in
the Boston Globe yesterday:

I am drawn to Prohibition, as I am to all catastrophes, so I turn to
Prohibition yoda Dan Okrent for enlightenment. Okrent is author of
the forthcoming book "The Last Call: the Rise and Fall of

--Sam Allis, Boston Globe, May 3, 2010, p. 23, G section


---Amy West

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

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

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

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