Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
Here I have cobbled together a list of the most common speech and writing errors that are not eggcorns. ‘Errors’ and eggcorns are not mutually exclusive, of course; eggcorns are special errors. The categories posted below come from bits found here and there on the web, and are not based on any authoritative scholarship on my part. Most were gleaned from someone else’s laboriously-prepared class notes, inadvertently exposed to me via the web, the vast free unsung academic content factory. I am a linguistics tyro, so don’t trust me on any of this, and feel free to correct, add to or tweak descriptions, and especially to suggest a more logical ordering. It’s clear that most of these categories are not mutually exclusive; some may be subtypes of others. These descriptions were applied at first to “speech production errors”. I’m applying them loosely to typed communications, as tyros will. Most of these might be called in the jargon developed on this forum. The categories are not intended to be exhaustive, nor do they include other forms of “”: , or computer-associated errors. A glossary follows for any word ending in -eme.
1. Anticipation errorsThe over-eager and prescient fingers let fly with phonemes (individual sounds) or words that they can see coming up ahead.
2. Perseveration errors
This might be called a rinse-cycle error, where traces of the word, or the whole word itself, colours susceptible elements downstream.
It sounds very great when it is the time for Hunsen of Cambodia and his hunchmen be put on such trial.
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s … .google.ca
at close quarters
coloring way outside the lines
3. Feature substitution/innovation/meltdown
Blends can produce another existing word, with unintentional and sometimes comical change of meaning. These may or may not be eggcornical. The following blend of famished and ravenous is just a vanilla malapropism, but funny anyway.
i just dont’ get hungry…i’m ravished…even after i eat.
http://www.soulcysters.net/showthread.p … TARVING!!!
A semantic paraphasia involves the substitution of an improper word that’s somehow allied in meaning. This can be a difficult error to distinguish from a Grade A eggcorn. Eggcorns are supposed to be standard for someone, and this would distinguish them from semantic paraphasia, which would be disavowed upon reconsideration by the perpetrator.
A phonological paraphasia involves the substitution of a word that sounds similar to the target word. These can either be nonsensical: and , or logical: .
6. Metathesis, consonant reversal and spoonerism:
The order of letters or sounds is reversed. These can be meaningful or not; often it’s hard to tell what role awareness played in their production. It is possible that the mind corrects the spelling of metathetical switches. The following example, collar reefs, may be eggcornical or just a mistake, wherein the jumbled letters of “coral” are recombined into a meaningful golem. Sometimes hard to distinguish from cupertinos, I suppose.
Everything in this whole universe is very beautiful, especially the sea that is very attractive for many people but you never know what exactly is in it. There are many kinds of sea creatures, fish and collar reefs.
They’ve created an underwater version of “Google Earth” that lets you visit collar reefs and even shipwrecks.
7. Common garden misspellings
i wouldn’t be that bothered by a headline, its crazy right wing people creating a rouges gallery that worries me
http://www.vanilladays.com/gallery/2010 … liverpool/
8. Common garden typos
9. Common garden malaprops
Sorry to be so tardy in responding to your innovative categorizations, David. These portentous posts can take some time to digest.
Perhaps in later exchanges we can get to some of the details of your categories. My first response, though, is a more general one. As I argued in my post about the street waif, Sam Antics (at the end of ), I worry a bit about approaching eggcorns from a subtractive standpoint, hacking away speech errors that are not eggcorns until something is left that we agree is an eggcorn. When we have a substitution that (1) has a same/similar sound, (2) is motivated by the semantics of the replaced word, and (3) the speaker/speaker’s community believes to be the correct expression, we’ve got an eggcorn. Theoretically, we should not need to tick off a list of subtractions and exceptions. Making the eggcorn call is seldom that simple, though. Each of the pillars supporting an eggcorn stands in a forest of nonpillars that look a lot like the three pillars. Lists such as yours come into play, not to decide what an eggcorn is, but to decide whether a particular candidate really fits the definition.
It’s the second pillar, the need to establish the semantic bridge between the acorn and the eggcorn, that gives us the most trouble. I would view your nine-point list not so much as a catalog of non-eggcorns but as a categorization of the more common reasons why certain slips fail the semantic requirement for eggcorn status. The list items are, if you like, alternate explanations for a word switch, explanations that, if they are sufficient reasons for the existence of the slip, weaken the semantic rationale. The existence of an alternate explanation does in itself not rule out a parallel semantic explanation, of course. An alternate explanation could be at work and the switch could still be an eggcorn. “Nib it in the bud,” for example, may be motivated by phoneme anticipation, but it may also be motivated by the semantic connections between “nip” and “nib.” My initial feeling is that it is an eggcorn, phoneme anticipation notwithstanding.
I could not have said it better myself, Kem. I did not imagine this post as a yardstick to see if each new entry measures up. It was meant more as a potential reference base to simplify discussions, and to spread a layer of gloss on WTFology. As always, there will be a lot of room for ambiguity and the need for champions.