April 07, 2004

X nazi

Our referrer log features a few disturbing search requests today, including how can you stop people from reading your mind? and why am i so fat? and what language do they speak in beijing? We have nothing much to offer the first two pilgrims, but I believe that Bill Poser and Dan Jurafsky will have set the third one straight.

There were also some of the usual semi-odd queries, like Pete Rose, scholarly , incall, adult situations, wedding vowels, and so on. One of them was linguistics nazi. This is a new phrase to me, though it's transparent enough, since "X nazi" has come to have an extended meaning something like "someone who is serious about X in an unfriendly way". As the Wikipedia entry for nazi says:

The usages seen in popular culture are seen as offensive by some; these include the politically correct as well as those who consider the use to be a trivialization of the Nazis, who killed millions. Phrases like "Open Source Nazi," "Feminazi," or "Soup Nazi" are examples of those in common use.

By synchronicity, I happened to read this Dive into Mark post a few minutes later, which uses the term "grammar nazi" and supplies a suitable joke:

Two busty coeds—a Southern belle and a New England yankee—are in Florida on spring break. The belle turns to the yankee and asks, “So, where y'all from?”

The yankee turns up her nose and says, “I’m from a school where we don’t end sentences with prepositions.”

Without missing a beat, the belle replies, “So, where y'all from, bitch?”

I've heard several other versions of this joke, all about men, substituting other (mostly anatomical) epithets for "bitch". I think Mark's version would be better without the "busty" and "belle" bits, but I enjoyed it in context all the same.

[Update: note that the use of y'all with a singular referent is the real ungrammaticality in this joke...]

Posted by Mark Liberman at April 7, 2004 06:51 PM