March 13, 2006

X-back mountain

As Arnold Zwicky observes, Brokeback X hardly counts as a snowclone, except in the limited sense that any similar case would be, where we generalize a modifier from a specific referent in order to evoke a cloud of associated qualities. That's an everyday step in the evolution of words, an instance of what the Greeks named for us as metonymy -- with a small twist, since it's applied to half of a two-word title. But Chris Burrows sends in an example taking off from the movie title in a direction that is more canonically snowclonish: "Spongeback Mountain!"

Posted by Mark Liberman at March 13, 2006 10:28 AM