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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2009-01-10 21:56:53

Registered: 2007-03-21
Posts: 291

Geoff Nunberg on Rabble-Rouser

This is just a pointer to Geoff Nunberg’s Language Log posting on the eggcorn-like reanalysis of the word “rabble-rouser.”

“If Rabble Comes can Rousers be Far Behind?”

Nunberg begins by assuming that since the word “rabble” occurs in the phrase “rabble-rouser” so often, the latter term becomes a common thinko for the former. After a greater analysis of the component terms, however, he concludes that rabble-rouser has been reanalyzed as ‘noise-maker’, “with rouse shifting its meaning from ‘stir up, provoke’ to ‘raise’ (in the sense of ‘raise a cry’) and rabble shifting its meaning to ‘noise’ or ‘ruckus’ somewhere along the way.” That’s a double- or triple-reanalysis.



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