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#1 2010-12-26 23:00:11

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2149

The Year in Eggcorns, 2010

Those of us who dabble in the evolving semantics of the English language have had a busy twelve months. I give you, in the waning days of 2010, 10 observations about The Year in Eggcorns:

(1) This year we lost all claim to propriety as we rode our barrel over the precipice of Viagra Falls and plunged into the misty never regions of innudendo and eggporn. Discussions on this forum ranged over such expressions such as “valva,” “cockhold,” “genetailia,” “homaphrodite,” “tuba ligation,” “exasturbate,” “defacecate,” “fairskins,” “circumschism,” “askefise,” “rum, bum and concertina,” “repuke,” “fallopen tubes,” “vast deferens,” “poop-pooped,” “sexpool,” “spread ego,” and “emusculate.” We have, as one of David’s Québécois speakers might say, gone fool copro in recent months. Whether this was our long-delayed Befreiung or a journey into simple Schmutzigkeiten remains to be seen. Reactions to this trend will probably run the gamete between the two responses to Kaylee’s famous quip in the Firefly series.

(2) We passed less questionable milestones in 2010, marking the fifth anniversary of the Eggcorn Database and the Eggcorn Forum. A couple of years ago Pat wrote about the post that launched a thousand posts, Liberman’s original mention of “eggcorn” on Language Log. We can now amend that to “the post that launched five thousand posts”–sometime in late November of 2010 we crossed the half myriad line. In addition, three individuals, David T, David B (using a double avatar), and yours truly, passed the thousand-post mark, joining Pat and Joe in the rarified kiloposter air. Fpberger and JuanTwoThree became Eggcornistas and discovered, alas, that the check was not in the mail.

(3) The mantle of “most obsessively numerical contributor” was snatched from my shoulders this year when David B, the man with a vocabulary the size of a planet, called attention to how the number of posts written by our contributors relates to their rank according to the classical power law. In short, a few posters do a lot a posts and a great many do only one or two, a trend that continued through 2010.

(4) In compiling the year end list, I was struck by how many posts turned out to be (often inadvertent) reposts of earlier submissions. This was partly due to our confusing forum search options. But the search problems have always been there. Chances are that we are seeing the effect of our accumulating mound of eggcorns as we inch closer to Pat’s Eggcorn Omega.

(5) The big fuzzy spots that we started to note in 2009 continued to pop up in 2010. We found the following collections:

repudiate, refute, refuse, rebuke, repugn, recuse
abstruse, obscure, obtuse, obstruct, abstract
stalk, stuck, stock, stark, stork, stook, stake, steak, stack, stick
stung, stunk, stun, stunt, shunt
couch, cache, catch, coax, crouch
stutter, shutter, splutter, spatter, stammer, stagger
stuck, stark, starch, stark, stoic

(6) Pat pulled off a delicious four-year zing, leaving us all wondering how many other IEDs he has planted in our gentle landscape. Tread carefully in the new year.

(7) Contributors adopted new terminology this year. In 2009 we latched on to silicisms and Annie Lehmanns. This year that we made the acquaintance of Aunty Lehman and found eggcorn squashes growing in our gardens.

(8) We tried to launch our long-delayed FAQ in 2010,but lacked time or enthusiasm. Perhaps in 2011…

(9) Eggcorns received some unexpected publicity this year. The Los Angeles Times presented us with an eggcorn crossword. The word “eggcorn” made it into the Oxford English Dictionary. The Macmillan English Dictionary webzine did a review of our site.

(10) Finally, the increasingly tenuous cord binding the Eggcorn Database and Eggcorn Forum seems to have snapped in 2010. Only one enty was made to the Eggcorn Database in 2010, and it was (in my opinion) not even an eggcorn. Will 2011 solve this problem?

In a few days I’ll post, in the Contributions Meeting Place, a list of our 2010 eggcorn candidates.

Last edited by kem (2010-12-27 05:38:49)

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#2 2010-12-29 02:49:37

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 637

Re: The Year in Eggcorns, 2010

kem wrote:

...We can now amend that to “the post that launched five thousand posts”–sometime in late November of 2010 we crossed the half myriad line. In addition, three individuals, David T, David B (using a double avatar), and yours truly, passed the thousand-post mark, joining Pat and Joe in the rarified kiloposter air.

I’m confused. You’ve just accounted for at least 5,000 posts (as of November) by just 5 kiloposters. Additionally, someone mentioned elsewhere that we’ve passed the 1,000 single-poster mark. That makes at least 6,000 posts, not even counting those from we who posted between 1 and 1,000 posts. If that’s all true, or even close, there’s no way we only passed the 5,000 post mark just a month ago. Clarification, please.

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#3 2010-12-29 04:28:10

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2149

Re: The Year in Eggcorns, 2010

Clarification, please.

Somebody is watching our math. Yes, Dixon, you are right, I have made a mistake, a big one. I was going by the numbering system on the threads and calling them posts.

If you look at the top of the Forum page, under the “Eggcornish Meeting Places” heading, you will see that the Forum reports about 13400 posts in about 4600 threads.

Which means that I don’t understand the Forum’s thread numbering system. This particular thread line is numbered “5069,” but that doesn’t correspond to the post count or the thread count. And if you try to step through the threads in sequential order, you’ll find that about 1 out of 10 sequential numbers reports that no thread corresponds to the number. Hmm. Perhaps Pat or Chris can explain the discrepancy. Maybe it’s a “feature” (i.e. bug) in the Forum software.

Anyway, we passed the five year mark, no matter what the real total on the threads and posts. Pat will have to adjust his claim to “the post that launched over 10000 posts.” Much more impressive.

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#4 2010-12-29 04:42:06

burred
Eggcornista
From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 948

Re: The Year in Eggcorns, 2010

Dixon, the five thousand posts must make reference to the number of threads or topics. This one is topic 5069. The number of individual posts, before this one, has been 13,856, entered thoughtfully by somewhere around 1719 individual posters (give or take a robot, and a multiple-named crank or two). The average number of posts per member is 8, and it looks like the mean number of replies to any post is about 1 and a half.

Last edited by burred (2010-12-29 05:36:11)

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