Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 13:57:46 -0400

From: Gregory {Greg} Downing downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]IS2.NYU.EDU

Subject: Re: Blendings in Festival Names

At 07:57 AM 10/24/97 -0400, you (Robert Ness ness[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]DICKINSON.EDU ) wrote:

Here in Carlisle PA we have an "Octubafest" (beer and tubas). Give it a


There are plenty of these festival coinages in New York: Wigstock (from

Woodstock) is a cross-dressing event, and Woofstock is a canine event that

raises money for the ASPCA.

I don't think this is just about festivals. There's a very common tendency

to coin proper names by taking existing compound words and changing one of

their components, maybe especially the first of the two components. Think

for example of all the "-----gate" scandals in the 80's and 90's, based on

Watergate. I probably can't recall them all (from the Reagan, Bush, and

Clinton years), but a few of them I've heard or read about are

Iran-Contragate, Koreagate, Whitewatergate, Travelgate, Filegate, etc. etc.

(Someone with NEXIS etc. could find them all I'm sure).

This isn't a strict morphological thing; none of the "-----gates" has

anything to do with a gate. (Cf. "copter," and compounds and collocations

built on it, which result from an intuitive sonic division rather than a

morphological division of helico-pter; and the now-insecapable "cyber----,"

which results from a nonetymological and nonmorphological division of

cybern-etic, where the cybern- element has to do with the arrangement or

government of a system, and not with computers at all originally.) It's just

that everyone knows "-----gate" was a defining scandal, and "----stock" was

a defining festival.

I think brand names are sometimes coined by this method too, especially

gimmicky silly ones targeted at a very young audience, but I can't think of

any just now (and have to get back to other things) -- perhaps others can

think of some.

God bless us, every one??????? (Absit (n)omen!)

Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]