yoda as a generic

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 4 17:42:14 UTC 2010

Ron, are you auditioning for Grinch or for Scrooge? Or are you trying to
genericize your own name?

I know, I know--you're one of the happiest people you know. And I can
outgrump you any day.

Fine... you don't like genericization in this case. I don't see the
problem, but I'll grant you the point. Would you settle for a
"snowclonelet" of "the Yoda of X"? That does not solve the problem of
"my Yoda", but it does address this particular usage, does it not?


On 5/4/2010 1:02 PM, ronbutters at AOL.COM wrote:
> 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
> To: 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
> Prohibition."
> --Sam Allis, Boston Globe, May 3, 2010, p. 23, G section
> http://www.boston.com/ae/events/articles/2010/05/03/remembering_the_dark_day
> s_during_the_nations_dry_times/
> ---Amy West

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

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