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ERIC Number: ED442282
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Jul-30
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Genericization: A Theory of Semantic Broadening in the Marketplace.
Clankie, Shawn M.
Northern Review, n28 Jul 30 2000
Genericization theory developed as a response to claims from outside of linguistics that generic use in brand names (for example, using Kleenex as a generic noun for all facial tissues, or Xerox for all photocopiers) is the result of marketing factors or misuse by consumers. This paper examines the linguistic factors that create an environment where genericization of a brand name could take place. These triggers of generic brand name change can provide insight into more traditional problems of semantic change, namely the problems of actuation, or how such changes begin, and whether there are types of semantic change that may be seen as regular or systematic. There are four primary hypotheses that form genericization: (1) Novelty--when a brand name for an innovative product and the association of that item with its brand name become synonymous; (2) length and predominance--when the predominate brand name in a semantic class is shorter than the corresponding class-noun, and the brand becomes the generic for the entire semantic class; (3) genericization as a regular process--when the brand name change is a regular process that recurs in the same pattern; and (4) simple association--when there is a psychological association between a brand name and a single product (i.e. Rollerblades or Walkman). (KFT)
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A