World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Snowclone

Article Id: WHEBN0003078632
Reproduction Date:

Title: Snowclone  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: MIT in popular culture, Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2015 January 4, Reference desk/Archives/Language/2007 October 8, Language Log, Got Mercury?
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Snowclone

Snowclone is a neologism for 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".[1]

An example snowclone is the phrase "grey is the new black," a form of the template "X is the new Y." X and Y may be replaced with different words or phrases—for example, "Orange is the New Black" or even "comedy is the new rock 'n' roll."[2] Saddam Hussein's 1991 speech promising "the mother of all wars" gave rise to the snowclone "the mother of all X," e.g. "the mother of all patents," "the mother of all bombs", etc. The term "snowclone" can be applied to both the original phrase and to a new phrase that uses its formula.

Contents

  • History 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4
  • External links 5

History

The term snowclone was coined by Glen Whitman on January 15, 2004, in response to a request from Geoffrey Pullum on the Language Log weblog.[3] Pullum endorsed it as a term of art the next day,[1] and it has since been adopted by other linguists, journalists and authors.[4][5] The term alludes to one of Pullum's example template phrases:

If Eskimos have N words for snow, X surely have M words for Y.

As Language Log explains, this is a popular rhetorical trope used by journalists to imply that cultural group X has reason to spend a great deal of time thinking about the specific idea Y,[6][7] although the basic premise (that Eskimos have a larger number of words for snow) is often disputed by those who study such Eskimo languages.

In 1995, linguist David Crystal referred to this kind of trope as a "catch structure," citing as an example the phrase "to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before" as originally used in Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series (1978).[8] Adams' phrase references Star Trek ("...to boldly go where no man has gone before!") to humorously point out the use of a split infinitive, a controversial construction.

Snowclones are related to both memes and clichés, as the Los Angeles Times' David Sarno notes, "Snowclones are memechés, if you will: meme-ified clichés with the operative words removed, leaving spaces for you or the masses to Mad Lib their own versions."[9] In the study of folklore, snowclones are a form of what are usually described as a proverbial phrase which have a long history of description and analysis. There are many kinds of such wordplay, as described in a variety of studies of written and oral sources.[10]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ .
  10. ^

Further reading

External links

  • The Snowclones Database
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.