Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2015-05-30
Years ago when we were both in school, I was discussing with my sister the status of my major, endocrinology, as a”real” scientific endeavor, compared to hers, psychology, which I characterized as a pseudoscience (not that I believe this, just using it as a means of baiting her). As she tried to rebut what I was saying about psych, I loftily informed her that she was “living in a fool’s paradigm,” well aware that she would recognize the misquotation, which she did. My question is whether this qualifies as a true eggcorn, or some other category, such as a malapropism. Also, “paradigm” has been so widely disseminated since the introduction of the idea of paradigm shifts, I find it hard to imagine that no one else has used this either mistakenly or as a jape, as I had intended it when I tossed it at my sister. Has anyone else examples examples examples
Last edited by sontung (2017-07-19 08:32:45)
I’d call yours a pun. Since it was advertent and even purposeful, it is not an eggcorn as usually defined on this site (at least). Eggcorns certainly overlap with malapropisms, and with a number of other categories as well (mondegreens, blends, ...), but they are eggcornish only to the extent that the perp actually thinks they are correct (as well as only to the extent that they make sense).
I found a couple of usages on the Internet that might be inadvertent and perhaps are thought to be correct, but most hits were pretty clearly advertent and japish (to adapt your term). E.g.
Sorry Paul but whilst it may be right in some instances, you are demonstrating the fool’s paradigm of one who ‘knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.’
Heed the warning:
You’re living in a fool’s paradigm that will be to your detriment.
For a clown is a fool in costume and an empty vessel is a noisy one.
As the formatting of this second example indicates, this is a poem, and poets purposefully play with language all the time, so it may not be an “innocent” mistake. Of course it may be, in which case I would think it an eggcorn for its author.
The substitution does make sense: better sense for many contexts than does “fool’s paradise”—e.g. when, as in both examples above, it refers to a foolish way of thinking rather than a foolish imagination that one is in a state of lasting bliss.
I rather liked the following, but it is pretty clearly advertent:
I think it’s good to call the more entrenched levels of seeing things “paradigms” and the more excapable levels “models”, even though there is no hard line between the two: the fool’s paradigm is the wise man’s model.
Last edited by DavidTuggy (2017-07-19 22:01:25)
*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .
Presumably some of the many people who have used the term ‘fool’s paradox’ have used it eggcornishly. There’s no real way of knowing.
On the plain in Spain where it mainly rains.
Eggplants, we’ve called these puns-that-become-eggcorns. Also achecorns.
Included in this eggplant/achehorn category is one of the most commonly-cited eggcorns, “oldtimer’s disease” for “Alzheimer’s disease.” A scenario for how this term could become an eggcorn might go something like this. Imagine a woman at a party describing her grandfather’s aberrant behavior. She says, making a pun, “I think my grandfather has oldtimer’s disease.” The speaker, however, is always making puns, most of them groaners, so her listeners’ laughter is muted. When the speaker says this about her grandfather, a man at the outside edge of the circle of listeners hears her description of the disease and recognizes that he has seen this same behavior in his own grandfather. He doesn’t recall the name of the disease. Hearing the speaker call it oldtimer’s and missing any cues from fellow listeners that the phrase might have been said in jest, he adopts the punned term. At this point he has acquired an eggcorn in much the same way that anyone acquires a secondhand eggcorn. Assume, moreover, that he is one of the world’s super connectors and, before anyone has a chance to correct him, he spreads this eggcorn to the vocabulary of dozens of other fallow minds. Even though the eggcorn was planted by a pun, for him and his interlocutors oldtimer’s disease is, despite its parentage, indistinguishable from any other eggcorn.
Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.