Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
Ben Zimmer’s Language Log post Artifacts of the spellchecker age explains a lot about how some of the odder substitutions may have come about, in particular if they involve two technical terms, low-frequency or Latinate words and the like.
A friend suggested recently that eggcorns could be used to help improve spell-checkers. I have no idea where spell-checking technology is at the moment, but it seems logical that collocations could make things a lot better. A misspelled “vicious” should, for example, not receive “viscous” as the first suggestion if the next word is “circle”.
(My own spell-checkers would still want me to write “Anglophobe” for “Anglophone” and “homophone” for “homophobe” if I hadn’t taught them these words. This has been a problem since I started using spell-checkers.)
This morning, I discovered that an oil leak in my car had started a viscous circle on my driveway. I add more oil, the leak continues, the circle grows. A vicious viscous circle!
should be Pun-ished