Is the zombie asking for brains? Demanding? It seems like a compulsion that they can't control, but is it an exclamation? A declaration of intent? How would you classify it?

  • 2
    I would call it an exclamation or, perhaps, an interjection. – Anonym Apr 21 '16 at 22:29
  • 1
    An imperative. – Elliott Frisch Apr 22 '16 at 0:32
  • Could you edit your question to provide some context? This would help readers to provide a useful answer. For example, did the zombie discover a pile of steaming brains (i.e. sense of anticipation that an urge will be satisfied)? Was the zombie clutching its own head (i.e. some lingering humanity, appalled at its demise)? Was the zombie desperate for flesh in a deserted and bodiless town? The scenario provides the context for intent, which then helps suggest how to define the groan. – Reinstate Monica May 22 '16 at 0:51
  • well, zombies NEED brains, if that helps – concerned May 22 '16 at 0:54
  • Obviously, they're speaking Zombezie. – Hot Licks May 22 '16 at 0:58

This seems to be holophrasis, a whole series of ideas in a single word, for example "howdy" for "how do you do" or "dead!?" to ask if the person laying in front of you has expired and your fear and revulsion at the fact. Depending on how "Braaains" is delivered it could a declaration of intend, a plea for sustenance, a statement of confusion. It all has to do with intent and delivery. There have been many iterations of zombies through out literature and cinema. If you are asking about what motivates zombies that may be more appropriate elsewhere.

  • 1
    This is why I love ELU: I just learned a new word! Interestingly, Wikipedia provides additional context by noting the prevalence of "prelinguistic" holophrasis, e.g. how a very young child will just demand "food" instead of saying "I want that bowl of delicious custard you've just prepared". This definitely seems to match the zombie scenario, the zombie's language ability having atrophied to that of a two-year-old. It might also match Homer's "mmm, donuts" meme. Food for thought there... – Reinstate Monica May 22 '16 at 1:07

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