What do you have when you want to combine two words because you are too lazy to spit them both out? A portmanteau. With Eric Hunley
This one has to be done if not for anything, the meta aspect of things.
Podcast - "iPod" and "Broadcast"... Or is it?
Ben Hammersley original accidentally coined the term podcasting in an article as he explains on the BBC program Radio Four in 4.
So where do we get the portmanteau of iPod and Broadcasting from a made up word? It is a backronym - another portmanteau - and the meaning is under some dispute.
A little history. In 2000 Dave Winer drafted the Real Simple Syndication (RSS) standard to .92 and added the "enclosure" element that passes along a path to a media file. This ultimately led to different podcasts but most credit Adam Curry of putting together all of the elements needed - RSS, scripting, and actual audio content for his show Daily Source Code. He is commonly referred to as the "Podfather" - another portmanteau. Adam Curry also created RSS-to-iPod in 2003 which enabled transfer of MP3 files from Userland Radio - a blogging platform - to iTunes.
Then in June 2005 iTunes 4.9 included podcast subscription support bringing them mainstream.
But the name and the meaning. What is that? The common accepted definition is iPod + broadcasting.
However, there is another option given by Tee Morris and Evo Terra in their 2005 book, Podcasting for Dummies. This is Personal-On-Demand Narrowcasting. Evo added "because I don't even own an iPod, yet am quite obviously a podcaster, I see no reason for the association to continue to be made."
The controversy seems especially fitting for podcasting as they are all about creativity and can be anything to anyone, so why not the word itself? Whatever you think Podcasting means, I think it is here to stay and I hope you continue to enjoy this one.
Frenemy, or the plural frenemies, combines Friend and Enemy thus making it both a Portmanteau and an oxymoron or "contradiction in terms."
The earliest printed use of the term was from gossip columnist Walter Winchell in the Nevada State Journal article "Howz about calling the Russians our Frienemies?"
In 2000 Sex and the City Season 3, Episode 16 was titled Frenemies. Ironically, the actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall are rumored to be frenemies themselves.
Frenemy is a tricky term because it is a specific type of rival. There are feuds and people who despise one another but frenemies are not quite full on enemies and they are not friends. Often they are close at one point and feuding at another.
Dr Paul Dobransky has an interesting take in the Psychology Today article "How to Spot Friends, Enemies, Frenemies and Bullies." Link to the article is in the show notes.
He describes how to identify and react to the four types of relationships in social media:
Friends are both constructive critics with the competence, concern and knowledge and experience to comment on you, as well as being a clear advocate. "Friend" them.
Enemies are both destructive critics (or incompetent ones) as well as being non-advocates. "Unfriend" or delete them without noticing any harm done really.
Bullies are enemies who have already gotten "under your skin" - your boundary - and even as you delete them you feel the pain inflicted emotionally. It may last awhile. Never, ever accept a reapplication for "Friending" or go anywhere near them in person if possible.
Frenemies can lead to any of the other three, and that is why they are to be given the most attention. You might not want to Unfriend them just yet, because they may sometime soon prove a great new person to know, but if things start to turn south, be hot on the delete button.
A great example of a frenemy relationship could be found with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. They worked together at the start with Microsoft building software to run on Apple computers. Then Microsoft released Windows and Steve Jobs accused Bill Gates of theft. Bill Gates famously responded "Well, Steve, I think there's more than one way of looking at it. I think it's more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it." Ultimately Jobs was forced out of Apple and spent some years in the wilderness so to speak. He founded Next, which never became very large but also bought Pixar which ultimately did.
Then in a strange turn of events, Apple was in dire straights and bought Next to get a new operating system bringing Jobs back to the company. Steve Jobs managed to work his way into becoming the "interim CEO", iCEO - another portmanteau - and picked up a 150 million dollar investment as well as the commitment from Microsoft that they would continue making Office for the Macintosh. With the investment and commitment Microsoft and Gates have been credited by many with saving the company.
This early history was covered in the great made-for-television movie "Pirates of Silicon Valley."
Over the next decade and change, fate saw things reverse with Jobs bringing Apple from the brink to creating smash hit product after product to ultimately becoming the largest company in the world by marketshare. During this same Microsoft suffered from an anti-trust lawsuit from 1998-2002 and Gates retired from Microsoft to focus on philanthropy. Their relationship warmed up and at the end, Gates visited with Jobs from time to time until his death.
The most interesting thing about some frenemies is that they often are a reflection of one another and without each other may not have become the legends in time.
Brexit - "British" and "exit" references the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
This term was first coined by Peter Wilding, the chairman of British Influence, in a 2012 blog post called "Stumbling Towards the Brexit."
Brexit culminates after several decades of history.
Originally, the European Communities, predecessor to the EU were created in in the 1950s. Great Britain attempted to join in 1963 and again in '67 but was vetoed by Charles De Gaulle, President of France - some of those not always warm and fuzzy Anglo-French relations.
Finally, on the third attempt, the UK joined in 1973 under the Conservative government of Edward Heath. But not everyone was happy with the arrangement.
There was a segment of the population known as Eurosceptics - another portmanteau.
In the 1970s and 1980s these voices for withdrawal were mostly from the political left.
Then in the 1990s the political right started showing opposition to further EU integration and this led to the creation of The United Kingdom Independence Party - UKIP which split off from the Conservative Party.
This may also have been a factor in the UK never adopting the euro and staying with the pound sterling as their currency. Prime Minister Tony Blair declared that there were five economic tests that the euro must meet. It failed the five-tests and the pound has remained in the UK.
Fast forward nearly 20 years and on June 23 2016, 51.9 percent voted to leave the EU. This vote resulted in Prime Minister David Cameron resigning after losing his campaign against Brexit. He was succeeded by Theresa May.
The UK was scheduled to exit March 29th 2019 but that deadline was extended to October 31st.
Also in March, Prime Minister Theresa May proposed "slow brexit" but ultimately under pressure she resigned effective June 7th of the year.
July 24th 2019 Boris Johnson (BoJo - another portmanteau) was elected Prime Minister in his first statement to the House of Commons as prime minister, he affirmed his absolute commitment to leaving the EU October 31st, with or without any kind of deal.
Brexit is a perfect example of the scope and power of one word.
This episode was chosen by a poll on Twitter. The poll had Infomercial, Infotainment, Bennifer, and Brangelina. The latter two had zero votes - so I someone is trying to tell me something.
On to the winner -Infomercial.
"Information" plus "Commercial." is actually a more recent version of an earlier portmanteau - "Advertorial" as in "advertisement" and "editorial." which Merriam Webster dates back to 1946.
Most of us have been up late at night or at different periods of the day only to see things that will quote unquote make our lives easier. This portmanteau is so commonly used that we just throw it around. But what is an infomercial? Is is ShamWow? Is it a Ron Popiel product so wonderfully covered by Weird Al Yankovic in his song "Mr. Popeil?"
Or can it even be used by a presidential candidate? Well.... Yes.
The first known informercial was Vitamix blender in 1949 however they didn't really catch on because in the 1960s, the Federal Communications Commission FCC and the National Association of Broadcasters NAB set limits on the number of commercial minutes allowed per hour of programming.
They also required that all commercials be clearly identified as such. Many of today's infomercials would not meet that standard.
However many advertisers used cable as an outlet as the restrictions were not applied there.
Things started to turn in 1979 when the Justice Department sued the NAB in US V. National Association of Broadcasters
It was an anti-trust claim and stated that limitations allowed commercial minutes per hour inflated prices by artificially restricting airtime availability.
Then in 1981 The FCC lifted the prohibition on program-length advertisements on radio followed by the NAB dropping its code in 1982. Infomercials fully returned to broadcast TV in 1984 after President Ronald Reagan's FCC lifted its restrictions on the amount of commercial time permitted during the broadcast day.
Over the years infomercials have been used to sell all kinds of products - especially expensive items that take more time to justify price.
They also have been used for televangelists - another portmanteau, psychics, get-rich quick schemes, and even Ross Perot used them in 1992 and again in 1996 for his presidential campaigns.
Informercials have become so common that they even have their own networks - Corner Store TV, Access Television Network and GRTV as well as the shopping networks like QVC and the Home Shopping Network.
Every hour of every day has an infomercial playing somewhere and they don't appear to be going away anytime soon.
Mr Popeil https://youtu.be/9BX56syrmWQ (https://youtu.be/9BX56syrmWQ)
Vitamix Commercial - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJ0uz6YdTcM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJ0uz6YdTcM)
Brexit, Bennifer, Brangelina. Infotainment infomercial and podcast .What do these all have in common?
They're portmanteaus, sometimes called Frankenwords. These were first used by Lewis Carroll in "Through the Looking-Glass" and we are surrounded by by them everywhere we look.
This new show - Portmanteau - will cover a new portmanteau every episode - they'll be short - and look into the history of the word of the day.
These may be well known or they may be brand new. They may even be suggested by you.
Be sure to subscribe today and join in on the fun.
Bite-Sized and Bodacious!!
Well written and researched tid-bits of linguistics. On a medium of speech and communication, this new show provides a cheerful coffee break insights into the history and peculiarities of language. I’ll be tuning in on the regular!
Word Play All Day
If you consider yourself a wordsmith, or you simply want to learn about where some of these commonplace terms originated, this show is a must listen. Eric is very thorough and provides not only insightful commentary, but he does it in a fun and intriguing way!
A great fun and educational show. I’m hooked on the word last!