Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Nouny adjectiveness

I occasionally spot words that are auditioning for a new part of speech. (#, #) I ran across a couple recently, one that was sort of self-consciously parading, and the other that snuck itself into a (kind of) conversation.

Number 1: MSN has ad campaign going at, the point of which I have to confess is escaping me.* When the site first comes up -- but you have to really be watching, because it's only for a few seconds -- the page says:
Wait just a moment for a quick dose of awesome.
Although it seems calculated (I can imagine the marketing discussions that went into developing the tag), I like it. Once you get past the part where an adjective is being all noun-y, it reads better than the nominally (haha) correct awesomeness.

Number 2: The second instance appeared in the comic strip "Sherman's Lagoon" last Sunday, to wit:

Double score here -- happy being used a noun ("your happy"), and a solution to the question of how you'd pluralize it ("conflicting happys"). For the latter, it's conceivable that you could use happies, but just whacking an -s onto happy-the-noun preserves its adjectival origin better.

I suppose we could also speculate that to stay on top of the cutting edge of language change, you need to read ads and comic strips. At least, that's my excuse.

* Also, guitar dude keeps moving his legs like maybe he has to go.


Sometimes your work is just done for you, what can I say? Over on Fritinancy, Nancy Friedman is inspired by Mark Peters of the Boston Globe to take the stem -memtum through many of its recent incarnations, which include (I steal these from him and her):
  • Joementum (Lieberman, whom Peters credits with, you know, unlocking the potential of the word).
  • Mittmentum, Obamamentum (current presidential race)
  • O-mentum (Oprah)
  • Met-mentum (New York baseball)
As an aside, I like one of the comments on her entry, in which a certain "Orange" notes that ...
Is he on crack? "O-mentum" doesn't evoke Oprah—it evokes the omentum, the great blob of peritoneal tissue that occupies some of the space around our abdominal organs.
Right, of course! That's everyone's first thought! But after they get past their medical degree, then it invokes Oprah. Sheesh.