Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
“Fecal position” v. “Fetal position”
When I heard this spoken, I thought it might be a play on words, but the speaker was seriously referring to the position assumed by stooping and wrapping your arms around your knees… which could make sense because of the position assumed when a proper sit-down, western-style toilet is not available.
Google Image Search depicts that vertical, stooped position, and two others; lying curled up and on one side (classic fetal position), and leaning forward with legs tucked and knees and elbows on the floor. I didn’t have the opportunity to ask if the speaker distinguished between the stooping and classic modes, but I would guess she wouldn’t, because the subject was not defecation, but simply the stooping position. My inference is that she didn’t know the meanings of the arguably technical terms ‘fecal’, and ‘fetal’, and simply misheard or mislearned the term.
Welcome to the eggcorn website.
Your example would qualify as an eggcorn only if the speaker knew what “fecal” means …which would allow her to construct a mental image for the modified expression “fecal position”—perhaps something like “a position which facilitates defecation.” When speakers do not understand their wrongly chosen words, then their utterances are more likely to be nothing more than malapropisms rather than eggcorns.
Last edited by jorkel (2008-03-16 16:35:48)
Thank you, jorkel, for that very helpful clarification; You must have fallen not far from the eggcorn tree~
Speaking of witch, a particularly notorious malapropositioner is neocon radio talk host Janet Parshal (of what I call “Janet’s Partial America”); Her unspeakable ravaging of The King’s English is almost enough to make the program listenable~
”...And from the tiny mustard seed
a mighty oak shall grow.” ~jeroboambramblejam