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#1 2009-12-10 23:20:09

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2145

of her elk << of her ilk

The web provides ample evidence that speakers of English have trouble with their “ilks.” “Ilk” is an old Teutonic word, distantly related to “like,” which survives in modern English only in the idiom “[of] his/her/that ilk.” In the context of this idiom the word seems to mean a kind, a sort, and usually conveys negative connotations.

The most common replacements for “ilk” seems to be “elk.” Thousands of web pages contain the error. Here is one:

A wikipedia discussion forum: “Mongo and his elk are a relatively minor sub-cabal. I think he is over reaching to attempt to “consensus coup” this RfA ”

Hard to see an eggcorn in these “ilk/elk” switches. Unless the speakers are limping along on the notion that elk travel in herds. More than likely these are just pails.

Nancy Friedman, who visits us occasionally as “Wordworking” and who authors the Fritinancy blog calls attention a funny application of this slip (twitter post ). Sarah Palin, the American Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2008 and the ex-Governor of Alaska, attracted considerable media attention with her penchant for slaughtering and field butchering some of Alaska’s charismatic mammals (Here is a widely distributed picture of her with a bloodied elk.). So the phrase “Sarah Palin and her elk” in place of “Sarah Palin and her ilk” could arguably have another door into eggcornhood.

Besides the example pointed out by Nancy, I see two others on the web that could also be “ilk/elk” replacements in a Sarah Palin context:

Online response to NYT article: “Without addressing these issues, NOW and others have nothing to offer the average Jane and in consequence, have allowed Sarah Palin and her elk to define women’s issues.”

Reader comment on Talking Points Memo: “And it is Palin and her elk that are running everyone else out of the republican party. ”

Forum post: “i would rather be in hell first, than have anything to do with Christians like Sarah Palin and her Elk.”

Last edited by kem (2009-12-11 04:03:23)

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#2 2009-12-11 01:09:16

Chris Waigl
Eggcorn Faerie
From: London, UK
Registered: 2005-10-14
Posts: 115
Website

Re: of her elk << of her ilk

Thanks, Kem, I’m just preparing to enter this, and the discovery of more Palin-related cites is significant.

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#3 2009-12-11 02:09:41

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1776
Website

Re: of her elk << of her ilk

So are you seriously considering listing this among the eggcorns, Chris? Does anybody who uses “of her elk” only of Sarah Palin do it thinking this is the standard non-jocular form? Do those who use it as standard for all and sundry (not just for Mrs. Palin) construe an elk in the meaning in a way that we fastidious eggcorners would accept as a reasonable reshaping?
.
As far as I can see, it’s either a joke or a non-eggcornish (because non-sensical) malapropism. The fact that it enables us to poke fun at a well-known political target doesn’t justify giving it preferential treatment among potential eggcorns.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2009-12-11 02:12:20)


*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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#4 2009-12-11 02:40:06

Chris Waigl
Eggcorn Faerie
From: London, UK
Registered: 2005-10-14
Posts: 115
Website

Re: of her elk << of her ilk

Seriously? I find it somewhat questionable, but also much more interesting than it looks on the surface. It’s clearly frequently non-jocular, and it’s not restricted to Palin. As for Palin, though, I do wonder about allusive, connotational eggcorns (or close relatives).

I agree with your concern of being attracted to poking fun at Palin – I do think she’s getting more than her fair share of ribbing, whatever I think of her politics. I have connections to Alaska and am seeing her from a slightly different angle.

(http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/english/1107/elk/)

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#5 2009-12-11 03:19:06

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: of her elk << of her ilk

Personally, I’ve got some doubts about the eggcornicity of this one, though it’s now a done deal – the Database article went up while I was looking around for more data.

I found quite a number of hits for the variant “and her/his/their elks,” especially in the writing of people who are probably non-native speakers of English. Is “elk” pluralized simply because the writers are aware that the target phrase is used in contexts that imply a larger group of people? Or is “elks” evidence that they really are thinking of the people in question as leaders of a “herd” of followers? I think you can probably argue this one both ways.

Perhaps more interesting to me personally is that the “elks” variant seems to be a regionalism with a focus I don’t remember seeing reported on the forum before. I found hits from all over, but a disproportionate number are from the Middle East and North and Central Africa – Pakistan, Palestine, Eritrea, Somalia, Egypt, Libya, Ghana and elsewhere. Writers in predominantly Islamic areas seem to be passing this hand to hand – that’s probably a testament to the power of online discussion forums in shaping global Englishes. Examples:

Alhassan said in an interview with The Statesman, Suez, Biwater, Saur and their elks who had lined up to grab the assets of Ghana Water Company did an about turn from lease to management contract.
http://www.thestatesmanonline.com/pages … ewsid=4104

Hirsi Ali and her elks thrive on our silences and inadequacies of our responses.
http://arabwomanprogressivevoice.blogsp … lling.html

Lemlem and her elks in the former Jebhas will do everything to fool young Eritreans again, just like the current hgdef.
http://www.ehrea.org/08.htm

These interferences are the roots of the outrage in the region , address ( correct ) them , then the propaganda of Zawahiri and Ben Laden and their elks will have no place in our region .
http://www.libya-alyoum.com/look/articl … Section=14

it is a shame you do not criticize the talibans and their elks, while criticizing the current political leadership.
http://muslimmatters.org/2009/08/17/pak … dependent/

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#6 2009-12-11 04:14:54

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2145

Re: of her elk << of her ilk

We should keep in mind that, for many Americans, an elk is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks in the U.S.A. So using “of that elk” instead of “of that ilk” might be a reference to club membership rather than an animal herd.

Like Pat, I’m not thumbs up or thumbs down on this one. I just find it a hilarious reshaping. The Palin imbrication is so subtle that even Jon Stewart couldn’t get a laugh out of it, I suspect, but it’s still humorous in its multi-layered and nuanced imagery.

Last edited by kem (2009-12-11 04:27:53)

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#7 2009-12-11 07:53:13

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1776
Website

Re: of her elk << of her ilk

Agreed, it’s fun[ny] in any case, and especially w.r.t. Palin it makes a good joke. Yes, if anybody thinks “of his/her Elk” is like saying “of his/her Rotary (Club)” that could be an eggcornish reshaping. (I’d be glad for any evidence that anybody does—I’d collected this years ago, but would not have put it down as an eggcorn.) And I have nothing in principle against ribbing Palin or anyone else. (I’m having a hard time resisting a few puns along those lines, but I will be good.) It just seems that there are a lot of better eggcorns that we’ve talked about over the years that haven’t been accepted into the Elk of the database, and I don’t see why this should be jumped to the head of the line.


*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 2010-02-14 11:48:40

ScottJohanson
Member
Registered: 2010-02-13
Posts: 1

Re: of her elk << of her ilk

It’s funny how changing just one letter of a word gives it a completely different meaning yet everybody seems to get it wrong. This is something that bugged me for a while and I’m glad I’m not the only one who has noticed.

You can get wartrol online from http://banishwarts.com/wartrol-review/ did you know that?

Last edited by ScottJohanson (2014-09-06 09:46:26)

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#9 2010-02-22 05:18:07

palladio
Member
Registered: 2010-02-22
Posts: 3

Re: of her elk << of her ilk

I hear “ilking out a living” instead of the correct “eking out a living” quite a bit. I guess there’s no shift in meaning there, just the use of an incorrect word.

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#10 2010-09-24 23:26:23

Glen78
Member
Registered: 2010-09-24
Posts: 1

Re: of her elk << of her ilk

I have always been wondering how people of Palin’s level make these kind of mistakes. It has to be embarrassing to use incorrect words that create absolutely another meaning of what you meant to say. I always double check what I write if I have doubts. Some people just don’t care.

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Last edited by Glen78 (2010-11-14 00:18:36)

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