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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2007-10-11 08:00:14

From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Articles on word evolution in ??Nature?? magazine

The latest issue of Nature has a couple of articles that sound like they might be of interest to eggcorn aficionados. One looks at the evolution of irregular verbs in English, and the other compares the rates of evolution of words of different frequency of use across four Indo-European languages. (How do you quantify the rate of evolution of a word? Guess I’ll have to read the article.) There’s an article on the articles here: … 7.152.html

I think for us the most relevant point is the opening line of the summary article:

The less often a word is said, the faster it will change over time, whereas more-often uttered words are resistant to change.

A useful point, but one that will be utterly unsurprising to forum regulars. We’re used to the idea that low-frequency words that sound like some high-frequency word are particularly vulnerable to eggcorning.

(Thanks to SG for the link.)



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