The Snowclone is Dead, Long Live the Snowclone!

This morning I stumble upon two language termanologies, both of which owe their origins to the Language Log blog.

The first, appearing in the title of this post, is “snowclone.”  According to wikipedia a snowclone “is a type of cliché and phrasal template originally defined as ‘a multi-use, customizable, instantly recognizable, time-worn, quoted or misquoted phrase or sentence that can be used in an entirely open array of different variants.'”  Basically it is a phrase where you can substitute different terms for variables and yet still have the phrase be recognizeable and have a contextual meaning.  For example the title of this post or “X is the new black.”

The next language related term, also with origins in the Language Log, is eggcorn. While you can read the entry of eggcorn here on wikipedia, I really have to recommend that you just visit The Eggcorn Database and start reading. My favorite encountered eggcorns so far are:

  • old timers’ disease for Alzheimer’s disease
  • preying mantis for praying mantis (and I am regularly guilty of confusing this one cause it makes so much sense either way)
  • eardrop for eavesdrop

Personally just enjoy nearding out on weird obscure words that define weird obscure occurences in human life.  A personal favorite in this ilk is “earworm” which is when we get a song “stuck in our heads.”

Also I feel like snowclone could be the name of a band . . . but really that isn’t here or there.

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~ by Nathaniel on October 1, 2009.

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