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Chris -- 2015-05-30

#1 2015-11-10 18:05:05

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1529

Freddy cat for 'fraidy cat

This is a Lehman’s term without any obvious fraidy referant, so I’m placing in the mondegreen bin.

I loved all of the stories, I ,couldn’t ask for anything better, well except they shouldn’t make the females such a Freddy cat, they need to make them a ill boulder sometimes.
http://www.amazon.com/review/R12DLQAI9Q3D8E

Boulders would be tougher.

Here at Carl’s—they explained with some derision—it was legal because Carl was a “freddy-cat” and a chronic “worrier,”
https://books.google.ca/books?id=xFtdhc … 22&f=false

Not a freddy cat at all, you are a very brave women. Only a freddy cat would not get her foot looked at.
http://daria-livingwithcancer.blogspot. … ottom.html

I am just a freddy cat when it comes to invansive things
http://www.ic-network.com/forum/archive … 20472.html

I can understand, on some level, why the Jackson are a freddy cat crew… how can you not be crazy as cat poop when you’re so infinitely talented?
http://www.lavondastaples.com/2012_10_01_archive.html

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#2 2015-11-12 08:10:47

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2569

Re: Freddy cat for 'fraidy cat

I’m curious what this “mondegreen bin” is that makes it a place to shelve a Lehman. What is the connection?


Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.

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#3 2015-11-12 17:15:21

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1529

Re: Freddy cat for 'fraidy cat

I’ve adopted the habit of deciding between eggcorn and non-eggcorn by the sense a substitution makes. So that’s why I threw Freddy in the mondegreen bin. I should have used the existing nomenclature. A Freddy cat, then, is a timid Annie Lehman. I couldn’t find the ground zero post for that term.

Edit: Annie’s debut was here, I believe.

Last edited by David Bird (2015-11-12 17:28:55)

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#4 2015-11-14 16:13:13

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1235

Re: Freddy cat for 'fraidy cat

David Bird wrote:

This is a Lehman’s term without any obvious fraidy referant, so I’m placing in the mondegreen bin.

I always thought the term mondegreen referred only to misheard song lyrics (or poetry). Is the definition of mondegreen broader than that?

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#5 2015-11-14 21:35:49

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2122
Website

Re: Freddy cat for 'fraidy cat

It depends on who’s using the term and how they’re using it (or want to use it in the future).
.
Some indeed don’t want to call it a mondegreen unless it comes from a song or poem. For others the mishearing is the thing: you can call it a mondegreen if it arises from mishearing. Many, perhaps most eggcorns are at least somewhat mondegrenous under that definition. They arise when one speaker says some word or phrase quite correctly, but another mishears or misanalyzes it, and learns it so misheard and misanalyzed because it makes at least some sense that way too.
.
I find it useful to have a general term for mistakes that arise from mishearing and misanalysis of what is heard (as opposed to slips of the tongue, pen, or keyboard), and tend to use mondegreen in this way. Occurrence in a poem or song, then, characterizes prototypical mondegreens perhaps, but is not definitional for the category. It makes sense that mondegreens would occur there, because that is where we (especially as children) most often hear invariant unintelligible language that we try to make out and to which we assign a meaning even when it does not make much sense. Shorter fixed phrases and idioms (the natural birthing place of eggcorns) also work the same way.
.
For me the main dividing line between eggcorns and (other) mondegreens is that eggcorns must make sense in all possible (preferably many) contexts. The eponymous mondegreen “and Lady Mondegreen” is quite unlikely to recur anywhere else in the experience of most of us outside the particular line in the ballad: “They ha’e slain the Earl o’ Murray, and laid him on the green (=Lady M)”. Even there it makes little enough sense: the Lady is mentioned nowhere else in the poem, so how did she come to be among the slain, and what is the point of mentioning her all of a sudden? Many mondegreens make much less (often “rudiclously” little) sense even in the one context in which they occur: “I led the pigeons to the flag” is a good example, or “Surely Good Mrs. Murphy shall follow me”, or “the wild, strange battle cry of the Light Brigade: Haffely, Gaffely, Gaffely, Gonward!”. These are all standardly accepted mondegreens, and none is likely to ever occur outside of its standard context, unless when jokers like we play them over in our minds or words. They got learned not because they made much sense, but because the hearers couldn’t figure out what else might have been said.
.
Something like Freddy cat , or a nominal egg [#642] , in contrast, may occur in many contexts, probably in any context where the standard acorn phrase Fraidy cat or cost [you] an arm and a leg might be used. If I judge it to make reasonable sense in such contexts (and am convinced it is unselfconsciously standard for somebody), I am happy to accept it as an eggcorn.
.
(fwiw rudiclously is an error of my very own: I found it in the phrase “rudiclously inadequate” in something I had written, weeks after I had written it. It seems to me to be a self-spooneristic and self-referential blend of “ludicrously” with “ridiculously”. I am prodigiously proud of it.)

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2015-11-15 19:38:55)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#6 2015-11-15 10:18:36

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2569

Re: Freddy cat for 'fraidy cat

The issue of what belongs in the category “mondegreens” is ultimately a debate about naming rights. The world first heard about mondegreens in 1954, when Sylvia Wright, an editor at Harper’s Magazine, published “The Death of Lady Mondegreen.” In the article, she tells about a misheard line in a ballad that her mother used to read to her. Wright quotes the opening stanza of the ballad like this:

Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl Amurray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

Her childish imagination conjured up a picture of the bloody corpses of the Earl of Murray and his wife stretched out in a forest clearing. Later in life, Wright learned that the phrase Lady Mondegreen was actually “laid him on the green.” She goes on to propose the term “mondegreen” as a name for all errors of this type. The rest of the article is a catalog of misheard phrases from songs, poems, and liturgical set pieces, such as

Our Father who art in heaven, Harold [hallowed] by thy Name.
Lead us not into Penn Station [temptation].
Surely Good Mrs. Murphy [goodness and mercy] shall follow me all the days of my life.
I’m just a bag of unloving [vagabond lover].

Wright’s article provoked a flurry of responses from her readers. Everyone seemed to have a favorite story to tell about misheard lines. When the Internet took off in the mid 1990s, one of the earliest groupsourced projects was the collection of these mondegreens. Discoveries included:

Like a virgin touched for the thirty-first time [very first time]
This is the dawning of the Age of Asparagus [Aquarius]
There’s a bathroom on the right [bad moon on the rise]
Wrapped up like a douche [revved up like a deuce]
Olive [all of] the other reindeer
The girl with colitis goes by [kaleidoscope eyes]
Don’t cry for me, Marge and Tina [Argentina]
Lead on, O Kinky Turtle [King Eternal]
Just brush your teeth [touch my cheek] before you leave me

The wave of new interest in Sylvia Wright’s mondegreens during the 1990s triggered an extension of the term to a wider array of language events. Two popular writers, William Safire and Jon Carroll, returned frequently to the topic of mondegreens in their newspaper articles. Some of the phrases they collected, instead of being lines from longer set pieces, were alterations of simple idioms, such as “intensive purposes.” In a 1994 New York Times essay, Safire claims that “A mondegreen is a word that is construed as it is actually heard, not as the speaker intends it to be heard.” Carroll, in a 1997 San Francisco Chronicle article, defines mondegreens as “mishearings of popular song lyrics or other frequently heard phrases.” Subtlety and steadily, the reach of Wright’s mondegreens was being extended. When the headword “mondegreen” finally broke into the dictionaries in twenty-oughts, it was this more general meaning that appeared in the definitions. Merriam-Webster, for example, calls a mondegreen “a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung.” [Boldings in all these quotations are mine.]

When Mark Liberman helped to coin “eggcorn” in 2003, he took a narrower view of mondegreens than the definitions that were beginning to appear in dictionaries. The notion of a mondegreen put forward in Sylvia Wright’s original article, with its restricted focus on lyrics, made it unsuitable, Liberman felt, for the more mundane mishearings that infected everyday idioms. The word “eggcorn,” said Liberman, was not a mondegreen “because the mis-construal is not part of a song or poem or similar performance.”

I side with Liberman on this question. Mondegreens, I would prefer to say, are a species of eggcorn, not the other way around. Still, some naming rights should apply—Sylvia Wright and her popular word did, after all, precede the term “eggcorn” by multiple decades. Eggcorns that arise from misunderstood lines in set pieces (e.g., lyrics, poems, liturgy, book titles), then, should probably, in deference to Sylvia Wright and her precocious recognition of a common class of linguistic slips, be set aside from the more general category “eggcorn.”

That said, there is still the issue of whether we can find other characteristics of slips in the reserved term “mondergreen” that differentiate them from eggcorns and that make it possible to extend “mondegreen” to eggcorn and eggcorn-like entities that are not song titles, lyrics, etc. Above, DavidT explores the idea of mishearing and context. DavidB appeals to a criterion of sense (“by the sense a substitution makes”). So far, none of these criteria seem like they draw bright enough lines to let me use “mondegreen” for a slip that is not clearly a song title, etc.


Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.

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#7 2015-11-24 21:17:21

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2122
Website

Re: Freddy cat for 'fraidy cat

Sylvia Wright, as I remember, said something to the effect that the point of (or the great thing about) mondegreens is that they are better than the original. (You probably have the article, kem, and can quote exactly how she phrased it.) But I do not remember that she went into any detail about what constitutes being “better” in this context. Arguably it means “more entertaining for us who laugh at them.” Many eggcorns come close to, if they do not actually achieve, a better kind of being better, in the sense of making better sense. The eponymous eggcorn (as opposed to the eponymous mondegreen) is an example.
.
In any case, it didn’t seem to me, back when I read the article years ago, that she stressed origin in songs, poems or liturgical language, even though her examples came from such contexts.


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#8 2015-11-27 12:58:33

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2122
Website

Re: Freddy cat for 'fraidy cat

David B quoted:

I loved all of the stories, I ,couldn’t ask for anything better, well except they shouldn’t make the females such a Freddy cat, they need to make them a ill boulder sometimes.

and commented:

Boulders would be tougher.

What is with that ill ? Is it a further shortening-down of li’l ? Is it influenced by itty-bitty (eensy-weensy, eeny-weeny (yellow …))? Or what?


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#9 2015-11-27 13:27:58

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1529

Re: Freddy cat for 'fraidy cat

I think ill was just a typo for lil. Boulder was just a funny mispelling too, one that wouldn’t be caught by a spellchecker. I do have a weakness (a feeble, one would say in French) for the supertitious addition of letters to words.

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#10 2015-11-27 13:40:05

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2122
Website

Re: Freddy cat for 'fraidy cat

Oh, OK, a finger-ordering typo (metathesis). That works.
.
Don’t you mean supersstitious? (Or adventitious? Is Adventism a superstism?)
.
Feeble related to foible? Yep! I didn’t know that.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2015-11-27 13:48:22)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#11 2015-11-27 14:24:24

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1529

Re: Freddy cat for 'fraidy cat

Ooops, looks futilessly for real wood to knock on in this office yes, I got nervous with the number of esses in that word and thought it better to drop one, just to be safe, apparently.

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