Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2018-04-11
7240 google hits for “cold and nipply” vs. 477 for the more traditional “cold and nippy”.
“Now that it’s cold and nipply, a cotton sweater simply won’t do.”
“I had no rain jacket, it was a cool rain and I had NO desire to get soaked, cold and nipply.”
“We had another great Thursday night at CONTACT finding inventive ways to stay warm in this nipply weather.”
Thank you, sambell, for calling our attention to “nipply.” This is one of those slips that circulates widely as a pun. It was featured, for example, in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.(youtube clip).
The relationship between puns and eggcorns is complex. Eggcorns are inadvertent. Puns are usually the opposite (advertent?). Some slips that start off as eggcorns become puns when the language community in which the expression is embedded becomes more sophisticated about the way a word is used. A case in point is the previous sentence. The tens of thousands of instances of the word “eggcorn” on this forum are not, strictly speaking, instances of the eggcorn “eggcorn.” They are punning references to an event that really was, we believe, an eggcorn for certain speakers (Perhaps “eggcorn” is still an eggcorn, but I double dare anyone to find an example of it on a web cluttered with references to the word as a figure of speech.).
Certain other words reverse the process: they start off as puns and become eggcorns. Taking this second track, turning a pun into an inadvertent eggcorn, can be tricky. The speakers who employs the expression must somehow miss the point of the pun while still using the images evoked by the punning word to complete their semantic frameworks, and they must persist in this blinkered condition long enough for the once-punned expression to become standard usage for them. The clip from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation illustrates the complexity of the problem. For Chevy Chase and the script writer the word “nipply” is, of course, a pun, plain and simple. For the character Chevy plays in the movie, Clark Grisword, “nipply” is an inadvertent slip, one that we typically call a “Freudian slip” because it exposes a hidden track of thinking. But using “nipply” to refer to cold weather is not really standard for Clark, as he proves when he corrects the slip. We can go one step further, in fact, and say that the writer of the dialogue presupposes that “nipply” is not an eggcorn. The writer put the “nipply” line in the dialogue to evoke laughter. A goal that would fail if “nipply” was an eggcorn, since a person for whom “nipply” was standard usage would either not get the joke or would have to extract some sexual reference from “nippy” that was more evocative than “nipply.”
The assumptions of the authors of the dialogue are just assumptions. It is possible that their assumptions are universally true. Looking at examples of “nipply” on the web, I’m fairly certain that in some of the instances the writers have navigated the laborinth described above and have turned the pun into an eggcorn. It’s hard to know for sure, however, because contexts that might prove the speaker is making use of the imagery of an erect nipple are also the cases that are most likely to be puns.
Last edited by kem (2009-08-31 22:24:52)
Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.
Unable to resist a double dare, I found the eponymous eggcorn without needing to break a sweat. I stopped immediately in case finding the second one required strenuous stretching or bending.
Peanut allergy forum question page, April 19, 2009
Questioner: Is egg corn squash safe for someone with nut allergies?
Moderator: I believe what you are asking about is Acorn Squash. Acorn Squash: It is a vegetable in the summer squash family and gets it’s name because of it’s shape, not it’s origin.
Reply by Questioner: :shamed::shamed::shamed::shamed:yes, acorn squash. Thanks you PurpleLady. You can guess who does the cooking in my home.
(http://lensaunders.com/peanuts/forum84/ … sionID=537)
There’s a picture of stuffed egg corn squash here.
Last edited by David Bird (2009-08-31 22:13:16)