Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
In my “wayword” file are several terms that may or may not have an eggcorn component. English spelling displays such inventiveness and variety that we need, as Pat often reminds us, strong evidence to counter the misspelling option. In the case of the three words below, the agent pulling the strings that makes the puppets dance may be nothing more than botched orthography. But I still wonder…
(1) A barcarole/barcarolle is a song in the style and rhythm of a Venetian boat song. The term is derived from an Italian word for “boat” (The most famous barcarole is surely the one from .). A spell this word as “bacharole/bacharolle,” invoking, one might posit, the magical name of Bach.
(2) , of web pages spell “ finicky ” as “finecky/fineicky.” Is it possible that these writers are importing “fine” into the adjective? A finicky person, we know, pays attention to fine detail. (The more tendentious “finpicky/finepicky” does not, sadly, show up the web, even as a pun, but I have a note to use it on the next web page I write.)
(3) On his produce sign my neighbor of spelling “vegetable” as “vegtable.” Google suggests that a host of others, given a choice, do the same. Most of these miscreants are probably spelling phonetically: despite the OED’s insistence that the word is pronounced with four syllables, almost everyone I know shortens it to three syllables, leaving out the second “e.” The “vegtable” spelling, it seems to me, raises the prominence of the imbedded “table,” as though the word were a compression “veg table.”
I heard something odd this afternoon. A clerk at our local Canadian Tire store, making excuses for her misbehaving credit card reader, said to me that “this machine has been very finicky today.” Only she pronounced it “fin-ICK-y.” Was this just an Idiosyncrasy of hers, or this part of some larger trend?