Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2015-05-30
When I first saw TV images of the beginning of the Palestinian Intifada in the late 80s, I was struck by just how young many of the participants were. I wasn’t the only one – the Wikipedia article on “Intifada” has this quotation from the BBC:
“The Palestinians were largely unarmed, so the enduring picture of the intifada is one of young men and boys throwing stones and rocks at Israeli troops.”
The reshaping “infantada” seems to acknowledge this aspect of the movement.
I was inspired to go looking for this by Ken Lakritz’s wonderful “revisitism” post. But how radical does a reshaping become before it’s no longer an eggcorn? This isn’t a case of a nice, neat metathesis. I think I’d still call it an eggcorn, but we haven’t talked much about the outer phonological boundaries of eggcorns.
Most of the citations seem to be from people opposed to the Intifada, but I’ve got examples from both sides below. Supporters are presumably more familiar with the standard spelling, but it’s possible that some people may be using the reshaping as a derogatory pun. In any case, all of these but the last looked authentic to me. 1220/225 r/ughits. Examples:
Never heard of the infantada in which Muslims sent their children out to fight Israli tanks with rocks, later with suicide bombs?
This is a slow-paced, quiet, thought-provoking film shot right before the 2000 Infantada, and since then bus tours have been suspended
Twenty some years of bargaining, killing, bombing , missiles, rock throwing children called the Infantada, treaties signed and broken by the Palestinians before the ink dried, hate for the settlers in what they considered their territory, all Israelis both male and female having to serve in the military so as to learn to defend themselves and their country, ‘surgical strikes’ by Israel, Israel finally building a huge wall along the West Bank and Israeli border and suicide bombers.
http://www.triadblogs.com/BrendaFayBowe … ow%3F.html
also there are more than one infantadas ..the one you’re referring to is the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The one I’m talking about was in 1987 and lasted till the signing of the oslo accords in 1993. BTW the infantada loosely means “ebb and tide of violence” ...but it was used to talk about the period of civil disobedience that spiraled into violence on both sides by the time the accords were signed in 1993
http://www.halflife2.net/forums/archive … 49502.html
The Palestinian kids take Miss America’s speech as a call to arms, and the world’s first children’s Jihad, the Infantada is under way.
http://ewatew.blogspot.com/2008/02/worl … 46-pm.html
[probably satirical fiction with a punning use of the reshaping]
Last edited by patschwieterman (2008-07-28 00:56:19)
I’m quite struck by that penultimate example.
also there are more than one infantadas ..the one you’re referring to is the Al-Aqsa Intifada.
I wonder how the contributor got both the reshaped infantada and the standard intifada in the same sentence? I can imagine a couple of possibilities. The user may know both forms, but see them as different – perhaps seeing the first is an English loan word and the second as transliterated Arabic. Or, the user may have typed infantada but cut and pasted Al-Aqsa Intifada from some online source. Or one of the instances may have been an error (a misspelling or a typo or what have you). This last possibility seems unlikely, though, since infantada appears again later. That would make intifada the error, coincidentally identical to the standard form.
Also, it’s striking that s/he glosses infantada as “ebb and tide of violence”, and not as anything to do with infants. This seems like counter-evidence to the word’s eggcornicity for this particular speaker. It also differs from the usual definitions of intifada as either “shaking off” or “a rebellion involving Palestinians/Arabs.”
There are also 500 hits for “Antifada.” This variant also makes sense as an eggcorn because an uprising is often “anti- “something.
Nilep—yeah, you’re obviously right about the 4th one; it’s not an example of the eggcorn. I included it in my first collection of cites a month ago exactly because it was so puzzling (I gave it multiple sentences to highlight that), and then didn’t read it again and cut it or gloss it before posting. I assumed the first use of “infantadas” here was mocking the use of the term earlier in the same thread (my memory is that it’s used in one of the posts right before this one, but this annoying library browser won’t let me check without losing my whole post)—but the reversion back to the reshaping after making the point with the std form is strange enough to make your guesses as good as any. I was intrigued enough to read the guy’s (gal’s?) other posts on that thread, and I find him/her striking in more than just the use of “infantada”—a rare instance of a person on a discussion forum who’s both fiercely partisan in some respects and carefully even-handed in others. Sort of refreshing but hard to parse. And the poster’s handle—CptStern (or was that Cpl?)—made me wonder whether this is a member of the Israeli military. Maybe that explains their confidence in giving a translation of the Arabic word (apparently hard to translate) very different from the usual ones. (By the way, Nilep, here’s how I compile cites in posts: when I’m first putting a post together, I put the ones that seem like eggcorns at the beginning, and the ones that aren’t but are interesting at the end. I usually try to get three fairly unquestionable cites in before the puzzling or intentional ones. In the old days, before you showed up, I usually didn’t bother to explain this, and it generally wasn’t a problem—many of my pre-Nilep posts have unglossed questionable/puzzling/non-eggcornish cites at the end of the examples. Early in your tenure on the forum, however, you went surprisingly ballistic about one of my cites that was near the end of the list (hey, how about posting an eggcorn of your own once in a while…), and after that I’ve tried to remember to gloss those before posting to avoid a repeat. I regret the error this time, but you’ll find that most of the time my weird ones come after at least three less questionable ones.)
Jorkel—a really nice find. That never occurred to me.
Does anyone have an opinion on whether this is out of the ballpark structurally? It adds an n, swaps out an i for an a, and switches the t and f—that’s a lot of reshaping. But is it too much for an eggcorn?
This is a superb flounder eggcorn. And antifada is equipotent.
Over a hundred ghits for “intifatah.” This is a bit eggcornish in English, confusing the name of the Palestinian political party (Fatah) with a piece of the Arabic word “intifada.” Supposedly the word “Fatah,” an acronym, is also an Arabic word meaning “open,” so it may be an eggcorn in Arabic as well (assuming any Arabic speakers actually make the mistake).
Last edited by kem (2008-07-29 20:27:56)
Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.
Intifatah—nice one! I’m ending up wishing I knew something about Arabic and Arabic-English transliteration practices.
“Infantada” is a flounder? Man, our terminology is changing faster than I can keep up. Though I definitely like the “flounder eggcorn” (f-e) collocation—Zwicky obviously wouldn’t care for what you’ve done to his neologistic use of “flounder” (since he calls flounders non-eggcorns), but it’s a neat way out of the problems with drawing impermeable categorical boundaries.
In Zwicky’s original flounder post, my impression was that he allowed single-word reshapings that changed only a part of the word into the “eggcorn” category, while “flounders” were cases where whole standard English words were swapped in/out for each other. So for him, “eggcorn” was presumably okay, but “flounder” wasn’t.
“Infantada” replaces only part of the word, but the remainder (-ada) is sorta opaque. (I don’t feel like dealing with the potential resonances of the ”-ada” ending, but “crusade” is “cruzada” in Spanish, and lots of people have drawn a (fairly ironic) parallel between the Children’s Crusade and the Intifada. But this issue is also made murky by the relative commonness of the ”-ada” ending in Spanish, and the cross language aspect, etc.) So if “infantada” is a f-e, then “ansister” is one, too, right? “Eggcorn” is presumably still an eggcorn since the ”-corn” syllable is still parsable? A lot of interesting stuff to think about, but this category seems to be getting fuzzier.
On second thought, “infantida” may not be a full-fledged flounder. I wasn’t thinking of “ada” as an idiomatic context, but it certainly could be. As well as the “in-.”
One thing that has become clear to me recently is that the context of the switched word in an eggcorn is not clearly defined. It can be as tight and obvious as a non-parsable idiom (e.g., “crutch of the matter”) or it can be as loose and concealed as the multitude of sentence permutation that allow “hawk” and “hock” to be switched. We would not expect a switch of “crux” and “crutch” outside of the idiom “X of the matter” to be an eggcorn. With “hawk” and “hock,” we would expect most switches to be eggcorns-almost every context would be a possibility. But not every context. If someone wrote “carnival hocker,” we would probably not call it an eggcorn, nor would we lightly admit “Jeremy is deeply in hawk to Paul the pawn broker.” So “hawk” and “hock” are only interchangeable within certain syntactic and semantic ranges. Which is another way of saying that even flounders such as hawk/hock have a context. And since it is the presence of a context that differentiates eggcorns from flounders, flounders are eggcorns. I can only imagine that Zwicky, by saying that flounders were not eggcorns, wanted to raise the profile of the idiomatized eggcorns. But the line he draws is, from a theoretic standpoint, a line in the sand. We could populate every band of the spectrum that reaches from pure flounder to pure eggcorn with appropriate examples.
Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.
Early in your tenure on the forum, however, you went surprisingly ballistic about one of my cites that was near the end of the list (hey, how about posting an eggcorn of your own once in a while…), and after that I’ve tried to remember to gloss those before posting to avoid a repeat. I regret the error this time, but you’ll find that most of the time my weird ones come after at least three less questionable ones.
Yes, I remember the exchange – and I apologize for the fact that it could be seen as me “going ballistic”. I did recognize the pattern here – eggcorns first, with odd ducks at the bottom of the list – and I did not take the odd ducks as counter-evidence to the eggcornicity of the earlier examples. Sorry again if that wasn’t clear. It seems as though infantada and intifada have an odd, probably not eggcorn-like relationship “for this particular speaker [CptStern].”
I do think that the first three examples, each of which mentions children, are strong evidence of infantada as an eggcorn-like reshaping meaning ”(Palestinian?) children’s rebellion.”
As to, “hey, how about posting an eggcorn of your own once in a while…”
In my “real job,” many of my academic contributions take the form of peer-review, editing, and book reviews. The fact that I act more as a gainsayer than as a contributor on this forum is probably down to a naturally contrarian disposition. Please don’t take it as a lack of enthusiasm for the project. I hope my comments strengthen the quality of everyone else’s contributions, and that I’m not (only) a wet blanket.