Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
I read an e-mailed article in, I believe, the Copyeditor newsletter that pointed me to the database and forum. How did you discover this site? Were you familiar with eggcorns before you found the database and forum? I had never even heard of an eggcorn until I read that article.
Last edited by JonW719 (2008-01-25 16:44:18)
Feeling quite combobulated.
And I had heard of the phenomenon (was in fact collecting examples), but I’d never heard the coinage that names this database.
My mom and I call them “another one of those ‘what did they think they heard?’ things”
I learned about the website from an NPR program circa July 2006.
About half of what I write below is conjecture, so perhaps others can correct the narrative and fill in the missing elements.
I think there was a planned media exposure by the founders. I’m guessing it started out with more scholarly circles—Language Log, for instance—then progressed to high-end media like The New York Times. (If I had only subscribed to the latter, I might have learned about eggcorns a year earlier than I did and beaten out Ken Lakritz on dozens of independent finds).
Media exposure then turned to wider audiences (again, NPR), but also to niche markets like one of the science magazines (Omni?), and various other newspapers.
The term ‘eggcorn’ was certainly coined in the last 5 years. (Pat, for one, could probably give you the exact date—or you could find mention of the anniversary buried here in the Forum). Although the term is new, many of us have kept lists of them our entire lives but may never have put our finger on exactly what makes them unique. There are also the concepts of folk etymology and the Mondegreen which are very similar to the eggcorn, so the latter is not unprecedented. (As an eggcorn hunter it perhaps irks me most when a comparison is made with Malapropisms).
I have to wonder whether the eggcorn boom is over. Not much has been added to the Database in the last year. The work involved for the gatekeeper is certainly oppressive, with little personal reward. Zwicky and others have certainly made a household name for themselves—at least among the educated people—but academic circles have little regard for what the man on the street thinks, so there’s probably little incentive to spread word of the eggcorn to ever wider groups. (By the way, I’ve not had a single one of my Forum contributions added to the Database, so what might that suggest? ...Perhaps that the attribution is being saved for an academic).
Overall, I wonder about a few things like: Who convinced the media to take up the cause?, and: Did it all require a certain amount of funds to keep the media activity afloat? (I’ve had to write grant proposals before, so I wonder if there was a knock on the door of some funding organization to contribute).
Last edited by jorkel (2008-01-25 18:20:51)
I was doing a google search for the origin of what turned out to be an eggcorn (sorry, can’t remember the word now, but it was an early entry into the database). Two or three entries down the search list took me here. Man, did I have fun that first day. I was in stitches for about an hour while I read aloud some of the entries to my family. I still have a lot of fun contemplating the proposed and existing eggcorns. The appeal is much more widespread than to simply academics, so I say call in the hogs to the eggcorn trough and let’s have some fun slopping with our fellow swine!
I just found this wonderful site today while searching for the word “beknighted”, which turned out to actually be benighted, but that’s another story….........I’m thrilled to find others that care about language!!
I am proud to be a part of such a select group!
I have a good friend from Hawaii that massacres the English language, especially the sort of phrases discussed here. She says that we should nip it in the butt (as opposed to the bud).....she has a million of them…......
It’s been a few years, but I think I saw someone mention it in a comment on Slashdot.org, their comment pointing out another commenter’s eggcorn.
I think the word eggcorn is growing in recognition… I’ve dropped it a couple of times in comments on the blog Pharyngula, and just yesterday I saw someone pointing out someone’s eggcorn there. (Self phone)
Last edited by Craig C Clarke (2008-01-26 05:35:18)
I like “nip it in the butt”!
Best of all, what I love about the database, is that it’s not judgmental; the early entries don’t say, “gee, how stupid those people are!”
The premise is, “perfectly reasonable people think it’s a different phrase. Why?”
I like some of the eggcorns’ imagery better than the original!