Fw: [ADS-L] yoda as a generic

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed May 5 00:58:47 UTC 2010

At 9:17 PM +0000 5/4/10, ronbutters at aol.com wrote:
>The legal sense of "generic" says that the true
>origin must be forgotten for a term to be a true
>generic. That is why Kleenex and Xerox are not
>true generics; I would call them pseudogenerics,
>and at best Yoda fits into that category, and
>then only in the limited use that any famous
>name is used. Indeed, the examples that have
>veen proposed would be rather pointless if
>people did NOT make a strong commextion with the
>movie character. Even "quisling" is I expect
>known by the relatively few people who would
>ever use it as related to a historical figure.
>Why not just say "traitor"...

Not all traitors are quislings.  For me, at
least, a quisling is necessarily a collaborator
who is positioned within one's own government or
military service who helps an outside force gain
or hold power against the true interests (as
defined by the user of the pejorative term) of
one's own country.  Thus Tokyo Rose was not a
quisling, although she was a traitor, but P├ętain
was arguably a quisling.  Knowing who Vidkun
Quisling was is not a precondition for using the
term with this meaning, and I'm not sure there's
an obvious non-eponymous substitute;
"collaborator" comes closer than "traitor", but
extends to restaurant owners and linguistics
professors who don't qualify (for me, at least)
as quislings.


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

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