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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2011-09-09 22:51:21

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1164

Mary Anne Toinette

This isn’t an eggcorn, just a kind of funny misunderstanding of a famous name.

Sorry dude…brioche is not cake in french. And I’m pretty sure Mary Anne Toinette never said that (don’t quote me on this)
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s … .google.ca

If you like to sit in the sun and top up your tan and be around the modern Mary Anne Toinette then Nice has a beach on offer.
Travel agency

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#2 2011-09-10 14:52:49

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1740
Website

Re: Mary Anne Toinette

I’d call it an eggcorn, and I like it! It takes two exceedingly Frenchy names and replaces them with a very English double name and an incomprehensible surname (which is a perfectly normal kind of surname.)


*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 2011-09-10 15:39:55

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2087

Re: Mary Anne Toinette

Funny, but not an eggcorn, IMHO. Like calling Charles de Gaulle “Charles D. Gaulle” (http://www.google.ca/search?q=%22charles+d.+gaulle%22 ) and all other proper name confusions.

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#4 2011-09-11 02:26:04

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1740
Website

Re: Mary Anne Toinette

A little beyond that: Marie Antoinette has no surname in it and Mary Anne Toinette does.

But (as you know) I would not deny some degree of eggcornhood to Charles D. Gaulle either. At least there is a restructuring which is apparently standard for the speakers involved: they are thinking of the structure they pronounce or write (unlike the case in a standard malapropism) and they think it is standard for everybody else too. I would agree that they are not particularly striking eggcorns: the restructuring is pretty banal, but it is there.


*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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#5 2011-09-11 08:39:18

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

Re: Mary Anne Toinette

I’m siding with Kem on this one—I don’t think it’s an eggcorn. The semantics of proper nouns seems to be just plainly different from that of common nouns, and the difference makes eggcornicity harder to define in the case of names (if the term is even relevant). Mary Anne Toinette does demonstrate a degree of “eggcornishness” (as opposed to eggcornicity) in that it’s a reshaping that looks like a well-formed proper noun in English. But that’s not enough to make it an eggcorn in my book. Eggcorns achieve a greater degree of semantic equivalence than this reshaping does. “Dayview” in “This play will make its Broadway dayview next week” has a contextual aptness and specificity that’s lacking from “Mary Anne Toinette.”

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#6 2011-09-11 19:49:03

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1740
Website

Re: Mary Anne Toinette

patschwieterman wrote:

Eggcorns achieve a greater degree of semantic equivalence than this reshaping does.

This surprised me. I thought the argument was essentially “Proper nouns have no meaning (only reference) —or, perhaps, they all have the same meaning; in either case exchanging one for another is not a change in meaning. I.e. they already have a perfect degree of semantic equivalence, and that is why they are not eggcornical: because there is no semantic restructuring going on.
.
But you are apparently saying something different, and I am not sure what.
Are you saying that Charles DeGaulle and Charles D. Gaulle do not achieve the same degree of semantic equivalence that debut and dayview do?
.
Sorry if I’m just being dense, but I really am puzzled!


*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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#7 2011-09-11 22:15:45

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2087

Re: Mary Anne Toinette

With this discussion of Mary Anne Toinette we have completed the grid of proper/common noun combinations in the substitution of similar sounding words. If we use “Mary Anne” as the name for the replacement of one proper noun by another, we get this diagram:

The same grid filled in with examples:

To me, the ones in the right column, the proper/common (Aunty Lehmans) and the common/common pairs, have the best claim to being full eggcorns: using a common noun as a replacer allows the standard semantic interpretations assigned to common nouns to play a motivating role in the substitution. The ones in the left column, in contrast, employ proper nouns as replacers. Proper nouns have a peculiar grammar and semantics that doesn’t fit well with the definitions we have given for eggcorns (Proper nouns, however, can be de-properized in the blink of an eye, so they can give the appearance of eggcorns – compare our earlier speculation that “penny annie” might be an eggcorn.).

Last edited by kem (2012-08-11 13:54:04)

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#8 2011-09-11 23:41:36

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

Re: Mary Anne Toinette

Kem’s diagram is really useful in conceptualizing the different kinds of substitution that involve proper nouns on one side or the other. For the lower-left box, I like someone’s coinage of “Lehmann’s terms,” because it’s structurally equivalent to something like “Billy Reuben lights,” and I can therefore remember what I’m referring to.

DT wrote:

Are you saying that Charles DeGaulle and Charles D. Gaulle do not achieve the same degree of semantic equivalence that debut and dayview do?

Well, I haven’t actually talked about the De Gaulle examples yet. I find this stuff somewhat mindbending; this summer I tried to read a bit of the technical discussions on proper names in linguistic literature, but it became quickly clear that I’d have to do a good bit more background reading than I had time for if I wanted to understand the details—“referentiality” is a central and complex topic with a dense history, and adjectives like “Fregean” and “Russellian” and “Millian” and “Searlean” and “Austinian” kept reminding me I was a Lehmann; I more or less gave up for now.

But the perspectives you expected me to enunciate (that proper nouns are content-free or that they share essentially the same content) seem to me to be what one might call “traditionalist” views that have been brought seriously into question, and probably for good reason. Your own jump to the DeGaulle example illustrates the problem: it seems to have a certain semantic “texture” because of the “de” element that is going to feel different from “Marie Antoinette” to an English speaker, and is going to get treated differently. In a certain way, I agree that “Charles D. Gaulle” is closer to eggcornicity than “Mary Anne Toinette”—it’s a reshaping that’s homophonous, immediately transparent to someone who knows the acorn, and arguably quite reasonable in terms of Anglophone naming practice if you don’t know what the “de” element is. But the problem is that it’s very hard to argue that “Charles D. Gaulle” provides “new imagery” for “Charles DeGaulle” in any fundamental way; it is, in fact, a decent equivalent precisely because it pretty much evokes whatever image the eggcornista already has for Charles DeGaulle. And as you move toward things that might be different enough to have a chance of seeming to provide “new imagery”—like Mary Anne Toinette—it gets harder to say that they’re really providing “imagery” in an intelligible way. The apparent meaning of the compound “dayview” in context evokes for me relevant and central aspects of the meaning of “debut.” But “Toinette” evokes “Antoinette” for me only because of a sonic similarity; I have no other associations with it that are relevant in context.

I can see Kem’s argument for the eggcornicity of some “upper-right” terms (using his diagram as a guide). And people who’ve been reading the forum for a long time might rightly point out that I myself have gone back and forth on the eggconicity of lower-left terms (I’ve made arguments in favor of “Acapulco singing” as an eggcorn, e.g.; I probably don’t fully agree with me anymore). But UL terms just don’t seem to me eggcornical—they fail the new imagery test in one way or the other.

Last edited by patschwieterman (2011-09-11 23:45:00)

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#9 2011-09-12 03:02:53

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1740
Website

Re: Mary Anne Toinette

the perspectives … (that proper nouns are content-free or that they share essentially the same content) seem to me to be what one might call “traditionalist” views that have been brought seriously into question, and probably for good reason.

OK, I don’t buy those views either, but understood something like them to be the basis for the notion that if a reshaping produced a proper noun it couldn’t be an eggcorn.
.
So if I understand you now, your objection to Charles D. Gaulle and Mary Anne Toinette is that they “fail the new imagery test”. Maybe they’re not “content free”, but they’re “imagery free”, or at least the switch from one to the other produces no new “imagery”. So if not “semantically equivalent”, they are at least imagery-equivalent? (And more so, not less so, than debut and dayview ). Anyway …
.
I truly suspect that we are not really far apart. I agree that whatever restructuring of content/imagery/semantics/whatever-you-call-it goes on in them is relatively minimal and banal; you apparently see them as having either none or so little as to be negligible. That isn’t a huge difference. But to me it is a difference of degree, not a clear difference in kind.


*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 2011-09-12 04:44:22

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

Re: Mary Anne Toinette

So if I understand you now, your objection to Charles D. Gaulle and Mary Anne Toinette is that they “fail the new imagery test”. Maybe they’re not “content free”, but they’re “imagery free”, or at least the switch from one to the other produces no new “imagery”. So if not “semantically equivalent”, they are at least imagery-equivalent?

I find trying to talk about this stuff a little bit like reading an introductory book on quantum physics and then trying to talk about that—while I’m reading I feel I understand, but once I close the book and try to articulate quantum interrelations in my own words everything seems to slip away. I like being precise, but I worry I don’t have the conceptual vocabulary to achieve precision in a discussion of how names mean.

Anyhow, yes, the imagery test seems to me the problem for proper nouns. But like I said, the two examples we’ve been talking about feel different. I’m not willing to say proper nouns don’t create meaning beyond that merely tied to a single, set referent; while “Toinette” evokes no particular imagery relevant to its acorn for me—it feels like a nonsense word, and seems simply malapropic as an element of the name—“Mary Anne Toinette” as a whole can evoke all sorts of things for me, but only the sounds themselves suggest “Marie Antoinette.” All the other associations evoked feel wildly irrelevant to the acorn. By contrast, “Charles D. Gaulle” evokes “Charles DeGaulle” pretty darn strongly—esp. given its near-homophony with the acorn. And the abbreviation of “De” has something approaching the weird combination of reasonableness, unexpectedness and even subconscious cleverness implicit in many eggcorns. I’d say those associations do participate in the “semantic” (and I think they’re a big part of why this feels like an eggcorn to you, DT). They just don’t seem to point to what I mean by “Charles DeGaulle” in any new way. The difference does feel instinctively qualitative to me even though I feel stymied in trying to articulate the nature of the difference precisely.

Last edited by patschwieterman (2011-09-12 04:51:59)

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#11 2011-09-12 16:15:08

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1740
Website

Re: Mary Anne Toinette

patschwieterman wrote:

I’d say those associations do participate in the “semantic” (and I think they’re a big part of why this feels like an eggcorn to you, DT). They just don’t seem to point to what I mean by “Charles DeGaulle” in any new way.

I agree that this sort of stuff can turn your skull inside-out: trying to understand what you yourself mean when you say what you think you mean. I very much agree that associations do participate in “semantic” connections (I’d go further and state that semantic connections consist solely in such associations which have become established as conventional), and I certainly would say these particular associations are what makes these feel eggcornish to me.
.
Again, if I hear you, again you are saying that the problem with these eggcorn-candidates is not that e.g. C DeG and C.D.G fail to be “equivalent” (they both point to the person you mean by “C DeG”), but that they don’t point to that meaning in a new way. I am saying that they do point to it in a slightly (but not strikingly) new way. In any case, it is not the lack of equivalency that is the problem, but the lack of a “new” way to build up to that equivalency. Have I got that right?


*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 2011-09-12 18:06:00

JuanTwoThree
Eggcornista
Registered: 2009-08-15
Posts: 312

Re: Mary Anne Toinette

My tuppence worth

Charles the Gaulle Airport opened in Paris in March 8, 1974.

I was searching the internet for a way to get to paris charles the gaulle after the concert – there seems to be no train at night. Does anyone know …

Charles the Gaulle airport is the only airport that presented me 3 times with food poisoning!! So, AVOID AT ANY COST! ...

i,m going from schiphol to paris charles the gaulle with wing vieuw.


I love de Asterixness of it.

PS I’m delighted to see that there are plenty of examples of “Cyrano The Bergerac” “Guy The Maupassant” “Simone The Beauvoir” AND, wait for it
......
.....
.....
.....

“Ellen The Generous”

I don’t care if it’s an eggcorn or not, or if it’s been spotted before. I’m smiling for weeks now.

Last edited by JuanTwoThree (2011-09-12 18:21:42)

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#13 2011-09-13 00:47:29

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

Re: Mary Anne Toinette

Taxi fare, how much from charles the gall airport to Route d’Apremont Vineuil St Firmin, Chantilly in Paris, France
World taximeter

Richard the Lionhearted didn’t speak English either.

Last edited by burred (2011-09-13 00:53:49)

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