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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2011-02-12 18:58:16

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2100

impugnity << impunity

Three links that flew by my perch in recent weeks:

(1) An article in Canada’s national Globe and Mail newspaper caught my attention. The columnist Hannah Sung observes a semantic drift in the word “like” due to Facebook. She quotes a commentator saying about the Facebook the LIKE button that

[l]iking something is about allowing that particular thing to be a part of your network. Therefore, you don’t dislike something: You ‘unlike’ it, meaning you take those permissions away.

That the humble verb “like” should attract new referents is no surprise. “Like” has always been a meaning magnet. The OED describes six major incarnations of the verb “like” in a thousand years of evolving English and only one of the senses still has real currency. Twitter may be giving us pages of new vocabulary, but Facebook has a peculiar way of warping the meanings of everyday words (cf. friending, tagging).

(2) Mark Liberman noted this week on Language Log a slip that hasn’t been discussed on this site: the confusion between “impune” and “impugn.” The confusion has eggcorn written all over it. “Impunity” means “exemption from punishment, security.” “Impugnity,” if the word existed, says Liberman,

might mean something like “the property of not being assailed, disputed, or faulted”, which is within spitting distance of impunity.

Interestingly, the two words, built off of different Latin bases ( pugnare, to fight, and punire, to punish), use opposed meanings of the “in-/im-“ prefix, the intensifying and the contradicting meanings, to arrive at the same general sense.

(3) Wordspy has a new entry for “googleganger,” a word based on “doppelgänger.” A googleganger is a person whose name is the same as yours and whose web references therefore interleave with yours on Google searches. Dixon and I, it would seem, are part of the exclusive group without googlegangers – when our names pop up on web pages, it’s either one of us or someone pretending to be one of us. We may never (sniffle) hear anyone call us “tocayo.”

I think “googleganger” is a nice complement to googlenonce, “Googlenonce” still has not made it off the forum (“Googlenonce” continues to be, as it were, a googlenonce on our site, with David T its “onlie begetter” but not its only user.). I think our word deserves wider recognition.

Last edited by kem (2011-02-13 15:09:20)

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#2 2011-02-13 03:25:59

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1750
Website

Re: impugnity << impunity

Kem wroteː

“Googlenonce” still has not made it off the forum (“Googlenonce” continues to be, as it were, a googlenonce on our site, with David T its “onlie begetter” but not its only user.)

Did I really? I thought I copied it from you, kem, or from Pat, or Joe or David B or somebody. Oh, well. I still feel a sort of community ownership towards it, and that feels appropriate.


*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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#3 2011-02-13 05:04:24

burred
Eggcornista
From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 930

Re: impugnity << impunity

We’re the only ones likely to be thrilled to find a googlenonce, or legomenonce. Remember, April 1 is official nonce day, when halfaxed eggcorns can be paraded with impugnity.

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#4 2011-02-13 06:46:59

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2100

Re: impugnity << impunity

The forum history seems to indicate that you, David T, used the word first.

We’re the only ones likely to be thrilled to find a googlenonce

Not quite, David B. Googlewhacks and googlewhackblatts have been around for some time. They are ultra-specific googlenonces, searches defined by detailed rule sets that return single hits. Odd that so much effort has been put into finding specific productions without coming up with a word for the generic case.

It may be that Ken Lakritz is also sans googleganger. I beat both Ken and Dixon in a quotation-mark Googlefight, but lose to all of you with googlegangers.

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#5 2011-02-13 17:05:39

burred
Eggcornista
From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 930

Re: impugnity << impunity

From where I’m sitting, “Joe Kroziel” in second position triggers some sort of bug that crashes Googlefight.

It would be a rare event to find a googlenonce eggcorn that was also a googlewhack. Googlewhacks do not require that the words be side-by-each.

Last edited by burred (2011-02-13 17:13:19)

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#6 2011-02-13 17:16:27

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2100

Re: impugnity << impunity

some sort of bug that crashes Googlefight.

That’s because there are no hits for “joe kroziel.” Joe Krozel easily wins a Googlefight with me. He must have googlegangers.

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#7 2011-02-13 17:18:24

burred
Eggcornista
From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 930

Re: impugnity << impunity

Sorry, Joe!

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#8 2011-02-14 09:55:02

kayzed
Member
Registered: 2011-02-09
Posts: 6

Re: impugnity << impunity

Can I just ask what Googlenonce means? A Google search for the term only turns up this page.

“Nonce” is British slang for a pedophile, so I’m hoping it has nothing to do with that!

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#9 2011-02-14 12:05:54

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1750
Website

Re: impugnity << impunity

Linguists (at least) use nonce as an adjective meaning “that only occurs once”. Of course counting depends very much on what and how you are counting, but the general idea is of something that is only written once in a particular corpus of data, or that is only said once in the history of mankind (how could we ever know that to be the case?), or that has only been found in the speech of a particular individual, or that was made up and used on a particular occasion rather than learned (but may have been invented on another occasion as well by somebody else) or something of the sort. One definition or description of an eggcorn has been “a sort of nonce folk etymology”; i.e. a private, not-yet-widely-accepted folk etymology.

So a googlenonce is something that shows up only once in a google search. (The word’s formation involves recasting the adjective as a noun, but that’s easy enough to do in English. As Calvin [or was it Hobbes?] says, “Verbing nouns weirds language.”)


*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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#10 2011-02-14 13:02:47

kayzed
Member
Registered: 2011-02-09
Posts: 6

Re: impugnity << impunity

Ahh, hence why it only came up once in a Google search. It’s all clear now… :)

So, does that include words that were invented by someone who was mis-speaking (as opposed to the natural development of language) then subsequently adopted into language? Is there another term for them? I’m thinking of things like “normalcy” or “misunderestimated” or “refudiate” (funnily enough, all examples from politicians, though I’m sure there are others that aren’t).

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#11 2011-02-14 13:43:43

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1750
Website

Re: impugnity << impunity

I’m not sure of the reference of “that” in this sentence:

So, does that include words that were invented by someone …

I suppose you mean “the category of nonce linguistic structures”

Like any other word, nonce acquires its meaning by its usage (with overt definition being a possible but relatively unusual and certainly non-definitive kind of usage.) Yes, it has been used for invented words, whether purposely or inadvertently invented. I’m not sure what “mis-speaking” means in your sentence—if you mean the invention is judged a mistake by most other speakers, sure, the category of nonce words could include such. But by the stage where a term has become “adopted into the language” it is pretty hard to refer to it in present tense as a nonce structure.

I would not (and I think it very important not to) exclude the widespread adoption of a form judged erroneous by many, perhaps even including its original perpetrators, from “the natural development of language”. On the contrary, I think it is happening all the time and is highly central to the natural development of a language. Any shift in the language patterns that is great enough to attract notice is almost certain to be disapproved of by some, and many such will be judged erroneous. (It is also possible to see something as erroneous but approve of it—witness the gleeful adoption of favorite eggcorns by many who post on this site.)

fwiw, Harding, Bush and Palin were not the first to use the terms associated with them, though it is quite likely that they came up with them on their own (i.e. they probably didn’t learn them and very likely never heard or read them from anyone else.)

I don’t know a general term for adopted mis-speakings. I’m sure Kem or Pat or somebody can make a good suggestion or two.


*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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#12 2011-02-14 13:49:08

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1750
Website

Re: impugnity << impunity

btw that Burred-brained suggestion/recollection of legomenonce is a bastardized (and totally unnecessary) perversion of the staid and respectable (not to mention impressive to the uninitiated) term hapax legomenon , which is used in textual criticism and means, essentially, “nonce structure”.


*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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#13 2011-02-14 16:57:25

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: impugnity << impunity

I’ve seen David T. use nonce in other posts before and I thought it was a trendy way of saying nonsense! ... just as people say natch for naturally. (Now I’ll have to go back and rethink everything David has said).

Last edited by jorkel (2011-02-14 17:09:34)

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#14 2011-02-14 17:10:06

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1750
Website

Re: impugnity << impunity

Works that way too! What nonce we have written, ever and anonce!


*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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#15 2011-02-14 21:29:19

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: impugnity << impunity

Hey, an ounce of nonce is worth a pound of expound, and I say that with the most sincere impugniety.

Last edited by jorkel (2011-02-14 23:25:33)

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