Eggcorn Forum

Discussions about eggcorns and related topics

You are not logged in.

Announcement

Registrations are temporarily closed as we're receiving a steady stream of registration spam.

Anyone who wishes to register, please email me at chris dot waigl at gmail dot com with the desired username and a valid email address, and I will register you manually.

Thanks for your understanding.

Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2008-07-24 04:36:27

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2030

shrimp << scrimp/skimp

“To scrimp” means to economize, be sparing of. “To skimp” means something similar. “Scrimp” is the older word, and it is possible that “skimp” may have been derived from it, though no one seems to know why or how the “r” might have been dropped from “scrimp.”

“To shrimp” means to fish for shrimp. A shrimp is a marine crustacean, but it can also refer to something tiny, diminutive. By extension, then, “to shrimp” could arguably mean to cause something to recede, to become tiny.

“Scrimp” is not a very common English word. “Skimp” is a bit more familiar. A few speakers find both of them too strange to tolerate and substitute for them the invented verb “shrimp.” Examples:

Video game forum post: “The good news is that the developers have not shrimped on originality here.” (http://tinyurl.com/6lmo7q)

Software forum: “Next would be power supply, don’t shrimp on it.” (http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/teamf … pid=437678)

Blog entry: “how broke i am. i am just trying to shrimp and save for hk trip.” (http://weepinghearts.blogspot.com/2006_ … chive.html)

Blog about judo: “I shrimped and scraped but just couldn’t make any space for myself. ” (http://tinyurl.com/6atezt)

Both “scrimp” and “shrimp” came into English, it appears, from Germanic sources, and possibly even from the same German word, but they entered English at least four centuries apart, and have never been formally connected to each other.

It might appear at first glance that the eggcorn can flow in the other direction. There are over a hundred ughits for the dish “scrimp scampi.” I suspect, though, that this is not really an eggcorn. People who say and write “scrimp scampi” are probably assimilating the initial sound of “shrimp” to the initial sound of “scampi.” The recipes for the dishes they describe under the heading of “scrimp scampi” don’t call for “a pound of peeled and deveined scrimps.”

I found this example (at http://www.sportsfilter.com/lockerroom/ … s.cfm/1046) of a shrimp/skimp substitution. I know it’s an intentional switch. But I had a good laugh.

“Listen, chum, don’t be so shellfish. This is a piranhial problem for everyone. Your brain is a mussel. Don’t shrimp on editing, and remember that you can fine tuna your post all you want. The reaction will be the salmon a few minutes as it will any sooner. If you don’t have the time to mullet over and make your post appropriately koi and crappie, then wait till the marlin.”

Offline

 

#2 2008-07-24 14:29:46

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1686
Website

Re: shrimp << scrimp/skimp

Just for the halibut.

Cool find!

Eggcorn vs. more prototypical malaprop?

I’m getting that for you, and perhaps for others, the defining characteristic of an eggcorn is the introduction of alternate imagery. Would it work for you all to define an eggcorn as “a malapropism that makes sense”?

btw thanks for taking the trouble to make your posts “appropriately koi and crappie”. I, and I am sure others, enjoy them.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2008-07-24 16:51:56)


*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 .)

Offline

 

#3 2008-07-24 16:26:50

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2030

Re: shrimp << scrimp/skimp

“A malapropism that makes sense?” Not a bad starting point. The statement contradicts, however, the current “Eggcorn” entry in Wikipedia, which echoes Mark Liberman’s early definition of an eggcorn. There is says that an eggcorn is “not a malapropism.”

Offline

 

#4 2008-07-24 17:02:22

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1686
Website

Re: shrimp << scrimp/skimp

That definition is problematical. The justification given is that eggcorn, in the appropriate dialect, does not sound any different than acorn. In other words, only hidden eggcorns would count. The vast majority of eggcorns accepted into the official list or discussed here or reported in the Wikipedia article do have some difference of pronunciation. I think Pat said in a posting a while ago that it’s fairly generally accepted that eggcorns are indeed a type of malapropism.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2008-07-24 17:15:05)


*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 .)

Offline

 

#5 2008-07-24 17:08:43

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1686
Website

Re: shrimp << scrimp/skimp

Btw, you dismissed “scrimp scampi” as probable cases of inverted homeoarcton (pat me on the back for that word!) (half-Spoonerism ?), probably rightly. But you do get “scrimp cocktail”:

Stock Photo: Scrimp cocktail
Large bowl of shrimp,garnish,lemon,cocktail sauce, with ice filled bowl.
www.dreamstime.com/scrimp-cocktail-image527555

We had the scrimp cocktail which was very good and Porterhouse Steaks @ $49. which were good, but not great. (Alfred’s has a far better steak IMO.
eastbay.citysearch.com/review/41957068

Helle gets scrimp cocktail, and I get prawns in garlic. The prawns are delicious, but it is greasy work to rid them of their armour

(126 ghits—many seemed legit.).

I can’t eat shrimp, but my wife loves them. Still, after paying big bucks for a cocktail that turns out to have only a half dozen shrimp, one might well use the term sincerely.

Without the cocktails:

I’m a scoop up some scrimp sauce, some tartar sauce, and some tabasco and we’ll do it up right. Y’hear?

Growing up, my daughter loved scrimps. We would make about 6 or 7 scrimp cocktails, with scrimp sauce and dig in. She’s 31 now and still calls them scrimps.

And others. Then theres:

“Get me some scrawberries and some scrimp cocktail.” “Yo nigga, you want some fruit?”, “Yeah, I’ll take a scrawberry” “What kind of milkshake would you …
www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=scrawberry

Which suggests there may be a phonological simplification going on: SCCV => scrV. Which reminds me that while most of us don’t permit initial sr, some east Texas and Louisiana dialects say “srimp”, “srug your shoulders”, and so on.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2008-07-24 17:20:37)


*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 .)

Offline

 

#6 2008-07-24 20:29:52

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2030

Re: shrimp << scrimp/skimp

Oh yeah. Inverted homeoarcton. It was right on the tip of my tongue.

Apart from some sound issue, I can’t figure out why anyone would substitute “scrimp” for “shrimp.” Few people use the word “scrimp.” Everyone knows “shrimp.” Must be some kind of local (or loco) illiteracy.

Offline

 

#7 2008-07-25 10:58:11

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

Re: shrimp << scrimp/skimp

I think Pat said in a posting a while ago that it’s fairly generally accepted that eggcorns are indeed a type of malapropism.

Well, I’m not sure what I wrote, but I was almost certainly thinking of the Language Log post by Arnold Zwicky from almost four years ago in which he wrote that

Eggcorns are a species of classical malapropism (CM, distinct from the inadvertent “Fay/Cutler malapropism”, or FM) originating in reanalysis.
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/language … 01390.html

Mark Liberman is obviously a brilliant guy who seems to know just about everything, but I think that in that first eggcorn post he was using “malapropism” in a “popular” sense, rather than in a strictly technical one. Arnold Zwicky, by contrast, is someone who has specialized in (among other things) malapropisms, and I’ve always suspected that he diplomatically slipped in that note on eggcorns as malaprops as a quiet corrective to the Liberman post. I don’t know whether Zwicky’s perspective on malapropisms reflects a more general take on the issue among linguists who specialize in such matters, but he seems to be one of the principal researchers on the topic. And until very recently, at least, he was the professional linguist who had most concerned himself with the technical definition of eggcorns. (By the way, that chunky AZ post is obviously one of the cornerstones of the Database—it’s old hat now, but if you’re interested in what was influencing Chris Waigl when she first started all this, it’s worth a read.)

There’s a frustrating story behind the Wikipedia “Eggcorns” article. It was originally built around that first Liberman post on eggcorns, but that isn’t the only reason that the article considers malaprops and eggcorns mutually exclusive categories. Some years back, the eggcorns article was threatened with deletion because it allegedly violated Wikipedia’s restrictions on neologisms, and there was a move to truncate it and fold it into one of the related articles—such as the one on malaprops or the one on mondegreens. In some ways the threat was a good thing—a number of resourceful people did a lot of work on the article very quickly, and it was soon bristling with impressive references. But there was a tactical problem: if anyone working to save “Eggcorns” admitted that someone with the standing of Zwicky considered eggcorns a subset of malaprops, that would only strengthen the hand of the anti-eggcorn faction. The people backing deletion soon backed down, but in the meantime the perceived inconsistency between the various articles had also become a side issue in the fight, and a number of entries (those on malaprops and mondegreens, and probably others) were brought into line with the idea that eggcorns weren’t malaprops. So the unfortunate truth is that “political expediency” had a role in shaping the eggcorns article and some other ones, as well. Zwicky has actually said on LL that the whole thing left him with a bad taste in his mouth (or words to that effect), and it’s easy to see why.

That’s why writing an encyclopedia “democratically” is simultaneously a fascinating and a problematic undertaking. Democracies require compromise every step of the way, but maybe encyclopedias shouldn’t.

Oh yeah—this is a thread on scrimps. That has me shratching my shalp, too. Italians? Anglo-Saxons with a time machine? Scoot, I dunno.

Offline

 

#8 2008-07-25 15:49:50

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2030

Re: shrimp << scrimp/skimp

Perhaps the time is right to jump back into the Wikipedia fray and try to make the eggcorn piece fit reality (as we know it). Perhaps if enough of us started making changes we could make them shtick.

Offline

 

#9 2008-07-25 18:33:42

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1686
Website

Re: shrimp << scrimp/skimp

We could sir try.


*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 .)

Offline

 

#10 2008-07-25 20:47:00

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

Re: shrimp << scrimp/skimp

I spent a year behind the scenes at Wikipedia, and I’ve pretty much sworn off it. But if anyone else wants to make changes and needs “muscle” in the form of support from others, I’d be willing to show up, and other people on the forum might, too.

We’ve long used “malaprop(ism)” as a shorthand for “non-eggcorn malaprop” here on the forum, and I think it’s useful in that regard. When we need to get technical, we can make that clear. Many of us distinguish between “typos” and “misspellings” in a similar way. Typos really are misspellings, but it’s nice to have a concise way of noting the difference between inadvertent and intentional spellings.

Last edited by patschwieterman (2008-07-25 20:50:12)

Offline

 

#11 2008-07-25 21:45:28

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1686
Website

Re: shrimp << scrimp/skimp

Interesting. Have you sworn off Wikipedia as a whole, or just off the Eggcorn article?

fwiw Typo to me is not the same as “inadvertent misspelling”. It is an inadvertent misspelling that arises from the mechanics of typing, especially from a finger slipping on adjacent keys or hitting a key next to the targetted key. There are a lot of inadvertent misspellings that arise from other causes, as witnessed by the fact that handwriting has a lot of them. Let alone, of course, the advertent ones! And of course “advertent misspelling” can be taken to mean “purposeful misspelling”, i.e. I know it is misspelt and choose to write it so anyway, or “advertent spelling by one unaware that it is generally taken to be erroneous.” Lots of distinctions to make.


*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 .)

Offline

 

#12 2008-07-25 22:14:49

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2030

Re: shrimp << scrimp/skimp

I’m willing to give Wikipedia a try. It’s been an age since I was on it. In fact, my old login no longer seems to work. I have registered as “sandofagen.”

I added “sore grapes” to the Wikipedia “Eggcorn” entry as a sample eggcorn, just to get some wikipractice. I footnoted the the sample to our discussion of “sore grapes.”

We might try to clean up the eggcorn examples for a start. Why, I wonder, are “should of” and “could of” on the list. They are not even eggcorns. Or, if they are, they are not good eggcorn examples.

I’ll copy this post to a new thread for those who want to do some work on the Wikipedia article.

Last edited by kem (2008-07-26 04:15:24)

Offline

 

#13 2008-07-27 05:46:28

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

Re: shrimp << scrimp/skimp

DT wrote:

Have you sworn off Wikipedia as a whole, or just off the Eggcorn article?

Both, though I always felt weirdly like I had a “conflict of interest” where the Eggcorn article was concerned, so I was mainly a spectator there.

Once you’ve made your way into the dark heart of the beast, you find that Wikipedia has a weird, intense, and often very frustrating subculture. People stake out little squares of turf that they protect with manic fervor, hypersensitivity abounds, epic battles are waged over the difference between American and British spellings, and lots of things are done out of sheer spite. Burn-out is pretty common. But I’ll probably go back if I’m ever in a situation where I feel like I have free time. And I now understand better how to avoid arguments—there are lots of pitfalls for the “neofight.”

DT also wrote

fwiw Typo to me is not the same as “inadvertent misspelling”. It is an inadvertent misspelling that arises from the mechanics of typing, especially from a finger slipping on adjacent keys or hitting a key next to the targetted key.

In a strict sense, you’re absolutely right (and I should have learned by now to anticipate your “that’s not exactly precise” objections, esp. when I’m defining terms). But lots of people on the Web use “typo” in an extended sense, and I’m one of them. I rather like the term “WTF typo” for, say, the instance where you intended to type “parts” but look at the screen and discover that you’ve written “party.” Or “Gnome, Alaska.” My most common WTFT is “are” for “our” or vice versa. I’ve also run across the term ”’teh’ typo” recently. I’m not sure whether “teh” would fall into your defintion of typo or not. I assumed the users were employing the term to distinguish more “mechanical” typos from “neuro-screwup” typos, but I’m not certain.

I’ll add a comment on Kem’s last post in the thread at the re-post.

Last edited by patschwieterman (2008-07-27 05:48:20)

Offline

 

#14 2012-07-24 12:58:57

drxenocide
Member
Registered: 2010-08-25
Posts: 2

Re: shrimp << scrimp/skimp

I came to this post because I noticed I use “sKimp”, and I noticed from the video game Fabel II “anyone can fight balvarines, the truely adventurous sCRimp on seafood”. Are these eggcorns that became canonical? Im not a linguist so I browsed the thread but most of it was over my head.

Offline

 

#15 2012-07-24 13:35:08

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2030

Re: shrimp << scrimp/skimp

Replacing “skimp” with “scrimp” would not be an eggcorn. Both are current English words, both mean about the same thing, neither are hard-coded into an idiom. Which you choose is influenced by your language history, English dialect, etc.

Offline

 

Board footer

Powered by PunBB
PunBB is © 2002–2005 Rickard Andersson
Individual posters retain the copyright to their posts.

RSS feeds: active topicsall new posts