This article about women who’ve left the polygamous FLDS sect has an interesting clip, polyg, as a short form of polygamy with apparent adjectival usage. Here’s she’s talking about the rebellion she went through after her mother left polygamy behind:

“I think I was one of the first girls in the seventh grade to wear lipstick. I put henna in my hair to make it red. I wasn’t going to look like a little ‘polyg’ kid,” she said, using the slang “polyg” with all the contempt of a racial slur.

Clipping across the morpheme boundary – excellent! While examples aren’t exactly frequent (129,000 hits on Google, but that’s mostly hits for various chemical names) polyg does seem established as an adjective by those who use it. Some examples showed it being used as a noun, too, as in “where a lot of polygs went” and so on.

Another interesting use of this clipped form was here, where it’s short for polygraph.


Wrong of way

Back in January I heard my dad say something pretty interesting but keep forgetting to post about it. We were driving around town and he shouted at another driver, “What do you think you’re doing? You have the wrong of way!”

This method of negating right of way is new to me. I’m used to, “You don’t have (the) right of way,” where the predicate is negated. But in my dad’s version the adjective is swapped with an antonym – within a set phrase, no less! ETA: This is also interesting because while “having the right to (something)” is a common phrase, I don’t think people would normally say “have the wrong to (something).” Hm.

I was curious to see if this is in wider use, so of course I went to trusty Google. It gets 36,000 hits, but that’s a bit skewed because there’s apparently a song by that name bringing up thousands of those annoying junk lyrics pages in the search results. Other than that song, it shows up in a few news articles, apparently as an attempt at a clever title.

This article in particular has a very interesting example:

“Whooshing through, he swiped an oncoming red MG that had refused to yield the wrong of way until threatened with extinction.”

How exactly do you yield the wrong of way, I wonder?


Now that our department’s symposium and poster session are over, I have a bit more time to post so I’ll be doing some catching up.

This post isn’t really going to be about linguistics, but I’ve noticed a trend with my blog visitors and want to discuss it a bit. You see, about 1 in 10 hits to my blog for the past three months have been people looking for the word tikaani ‘wolf’. Apparently it’s a very popular dog name and people want to know how to pronounce it. Also, most people think it’s an Eskimo word, but it isn’t. Sorry to burst your bubble.

One more time for emphasis: tikaani is not an Eskimo word. It’s from Ahtna, one of the Native American languages of Alaska. If it were (Central Alaskan) Yup’ik Eskimo, for example, it would be kegluneq. If it were Iñupiaq Eskimo, it would be amaġuq.

Putting tikaani aside, a lot of hits to this blog come from people searching for dog names. What is it that makes people want Alaskan and/or Eskimo names for their dogs? (Judging from this page at the Alaska Native Language Center, they get asked about dog names a lot, too.) Sure, they might be huskies, but so what? I don’t see people naming their German Shepherds Helmut or Fritz just because the breed is German.