Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
I personally believe so. But of course, it’s not my database, not my term, etc. My personal fascination with it is in the process of substituting imagery, and I am fascinated even if it’s only one kid who does it. I’m in it for the exploration of alternate metaphors, alternate images, and the fun of it all.
As long as the eggcorn is fun, as long as it tickles my fancy, I notice it. I’m not worried about documenting new words, new usages, in any lexicographical sense. I’m just in it for fun.
Is there an “official” requirement for this site?
Do each of you have a standard you apply?
(My own personal standard is, I need to see someone use it in a way I think is not a deliberate pun, just once. If I make it up but can’t find someone else using it, it doesn’t count. If I make it up and CAN find someone else using it, it counts. But I enjoy it more when other people make them up, and I stumble across them)
My short answer to your last question: Aim for 1000 Google hits…
My long answer:
An eggcorn is an eggcorn even if just one person utters it. (Granted, it must follow certain rules …a critical one being that it’s a naive utterance). And it certainly doesn’t matter how many people utter the same words as an intentional construct, a pun. So the answer is: an eggcorn requires just one legitimate utterer.
Now, I’m not associated with this website in any official capacity, so I have no real authority over what enters the Database. But I have asked myself: “If I were selecting eggcorns for the Database, which ones would I include?”). Using a “reasonable person standard,” I guess I’d pick the eggcorns that have the widest impact on language reshaping—and that means the greatest number of people making the same alteration. Higher numbers convey a certain universality to the eggcorn, but also a credibility—since there’s a smaller chance that a single person didn’t just sit around and contrived these things.
About 9 months ago—when I was contributing eggcorns more actively—I set the psychological threshold of 1000 Google hits as a benchmark for my submissions. I often fall far short of this mark, and that isn’t always a problem when the eggcorn has solid evidence to support it. But sometimes low-Google-hit submissions open the door to alternative explanations like typographical errors, the Cupertino effect (ala Spellchecker), eye dialect, lazy spelling, idiom blends, malapropisms, folk etymology, Mondegreens, punning, intentional (non-pun) usage, and possibly others. (Sorry for the lack of parallelism in that list. I’m too lazy to fix it).
Just look at how Pat threw “infinitesmall” into question after I was already convinced that it was an eggcorn! Also, Peter Forster once remarked how we eggcorn hunters are masters of self-deception. So, it’s nice that submissions in the Forum get hashed over from several viewpoints. I guess I just have faith that the ones that stand the test of this scrutiny will eventually make it into the Database.
Last edited by jorkel (2007-06-26 14:58:27)
I think rare eggcorns should be in the Database (eventually), tagged as such. I’d put rare at below 500 ghits (and very rare at below 50). A
I think that’s a great idea. Sub-categories would make for some fun and efficient perusing. I think it would be great to be able to search the master database under terms like rare, animal(flamingo dancers), violent(scalped potatoes), etc. Each entry could be tagged with its own peculiarities. Some would make it into several categories. I could have fun with that.