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#1 2008-12-18 00:10:42

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1751
Website

petty Annie and vigil auntie

martyc35 reported “petty ante” back in 2005. This is a bit different.

[re someone who had made a big deal out of a nothing:] Her little petty … [pause] … Annie stuff!

And the police have no time to enforce this petty annie stuff.

You take someone out the hood who had petty annie type of doe and you drop huge stacks on them

You’re losing time, energy, focus, concentration, willpower, brains, everything over petty BS. let the petty-annies be in their own petty-annie world.

I think you and yours know very little, actually, and just love to gripe….next time ANY of you Petty-Annie self rightgeous whiners care to mouth off…think about all the times that you don’t know about,

You really got something to offer, and we’re talking big here – not Petty Annie bunko rackets –

The double usage in the fourth example, with a nominal rather than adjectival meaning in the first case, is notable and a reasonably good indication that this is standard for someone (though of course maybe they liked it as a joke enough to repeat it).

Penny-ante is pretty opaque for a lot of us (I have the idea it has to do with a card game played for low stakes, but maybe it’s craps rather than cards? Or both?) So it is ripe for eggcorning. And it is usually used metaphorically rather than literally, so literal identification with “ante” in “upping the ante” and so forth is likely to be weak.
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We’ve talked before about different routes by which an eggcorn might come to be. This one is very likely to be a Spoonerish kind of metathesis: move all the nasality to the corresponding place in the second word, and move the stop-ness (the t-ness as opposed to the n-ness) to the corresponding place in the first word.
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The meaning of “petty” fits fine: penny-ante stuff is trivial stuff. (Reminiscent of picky-oon , that).
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The “Annie” fits fine too. Like “Johnny” in “Johnny-come-lately” or “Johnny-cake” (which may be eggcorned off “journey-cake”), it’s a good generic name for a person who plays some stereotypical role, in this case one of being concerned about petty details. Stereotypically such a person would likely be a female—Like a nosey-Suzy, I guess. At least us he-men’s stereotypes about ourselves usually don’t run to this particular quality. And two-syllable names with a final diminutive -y/-ie seem to be especially susceptible to this kind of generic usage: Katy-bar-the-door could not easily be Kathryn-bar-the-door, nor would we easily say Jonathan-come-recently.
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(By far the most “petty Annie” ghits were combinations with the surname Petty. Amazing how many of those there were.)
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fwiw “vigil Annie” and “vigil auntie” occur, but they seem to be purposeful word-plays at least most of the time. Still:

was their Vigil Annie days which involved the whole school in a parade and dressing up western.

Then the outraged citizens who were stuck in traffic will turn vigil auntie and hang the bastard in the name of good gas mileage.

We have a vigil-auntie observing Main St. here in Whitehorse that is broadcast on local cable,

I think he is going more for objectivity in controversial cases and not catering to the vigil auntie mob rage surrounding the story.

The image of an elderly relative spying on one’s relatively innocent doings is a pretty strong one to me. (In case anyone’s unaware of it, the standard pronunciation of “auntie” would be [ˈænti] rather than [ˈanti] for a good many of us.)

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2008-12-18 00:15:58)


*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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#2 2008-12-18 00:52:42

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

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

Wow. Simply awesome.

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#3 2008-12-18 05:02:15

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2101

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

“Penny ante” is poker talk. I speak with the authority of a misspent youth.

Plenty of hits for “penny annie,” too, which reinforces your analysis of “annie.”

I wonder if these web sites are referring to Annie Lehmann*? I nominate her the patron saint of eggcorns.

*http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/forum/viewtopic.php?id=2355

Last edited by kem (2008-12-18 05:03:40)

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#4 2008-12-18 07:14:57

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1751
Website

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

Sane Annie Lehmann?? Swede Annie Lehmann?? Why not?

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2008-12-18 07:21:11)


*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 2008-12-18 09:40:13

nilep
Eggcornista
Registered: 2007-03-21
Posts: 291

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

This is lovely. I especially like “the petty-annies … in their own petty-annie world,” which I think shows a clear link to Johny-come-lately and its (his?) ilk. “Petty-Annie self rightgeous whiners” is similarly suggestive, even if it is an adjective.

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#6 2008-12-18 20:16:40

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2101

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

Calling the mysterious “annie” and “Lehmann” eggcorns leads to some perplexity. Normally eggcorns “re-image” a phrase. But a proper name does not have semantics. It is, as the linguistic philosophers say, “semantically unmotivated,” presenting no image to “re-.” We solve this problem in the case of “penny Annie” and “Lehmann’s terms” by investing the names with a personality, “de-properising” them, as it were. But if the only motivation behind the deproperisation of a name is to make it work as an eggcorn, aren’t we caught in a logical circle, inventing an image to make the word an eggcorn then calling it an eggcorn because of the image we invented?

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#7 2008-12-18 20:33:55

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1751
Website

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

Philosophers are pretty much all wet on this one (a proper name does not have semantics). The properer a name, the more meaning (imagery) it brings with it. Herbert and Eve Clark wrote a cool paper back in the 70’s dealing with this; they were puzzled by the fact that supposedly meaningless proper nouns could be productively turned into quite understandable verbs with non-arbitrary meanings—that one could Houdini his way out of a closet, or get Houdini’d in the stomach. A name like Abraham or Muhammad is not meaningless, even when attached to someone other than Abraham or Muhammad themselves; and (Abraham) Lincoln, or Winston, or Barack, are highly meaningful names. Even a name like Annie in common use is meaningful: if I say it to my wife we will both (probably) get the picture of our neighbors’ daughter, with lots and lots of imagery attached. Of course, we know that other people use Annie to refer to different girls or women than the one we first think of, so, sure, at a societal level the name is available to attach to different specific people. But proper names are not inherently meaningless; it is only because we are such a large society that we know different people of the same name that they may come to seem so.
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I do not think Johnny in Johnny-come-lately, or Katy in Katy-bar-the-door, are meaningless or improper (sorta speak). Similarly, I do not think I am deproperizing Annie if I perceive her in petty-Annie.


*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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#8 2008-12-18 20:52:50

TootsNYC
Eggcornista
Registered: 2007-06-19
Posts: 263

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

The world is full of “people” who aren’t real but are metaphorical. Johnny-come-lately; every Tom, Dick and Harry; Jimmy Crack Corn; Polly want a cracker.

“Annie” is exactly the sort of generic first name that lends itself to this. And it flows nicely with “petty.”

There are also people who once were real people, and have become essentially a symbol; we might still know who they were, and it might have strong references in our culture today (“You made these cookies? How very Martha of you!”). Or, we might really only mean them symbolically, their individual actual life having ceased to be important, and their cultural significance having superceded it (Typhoid Mary).

re is Typhoid Mary

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#9 2008-12-19 03:15:11

nilep
Eggcornista
Registered: 2007-03-21
Posts: 291

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

Me too!

Erm…

Furthermore, note how many of the names TootsNYC suggests are generic/metaphorical are, as David suggested of Annie, “two-syllable names with a final diminutive -y/-ie [which] seem to be especially susceptible to this kind of generic usage.” (Johnny, Harry, Jimmy, Polly)

Leaving aside the issue of generic or metaphorical names, even highly idiosyncratic names are meaningful in some sense(s). David says, “If I say [‘Annie’] to my wife we will both (probably) get the picture of our neighbors’ daughter, with lots and lots of imagery attached.” I imagine that even those philosophers most dedicated to generative semantics or other specific theories would accept this level of meaningfulness: a specific referent known to some community of language users by the proper name.

Beyond even this, though, I think that there is probably a gradient of semantic richness that attaches to proper names. For example, one week ago a name like Muntazer al-Zaidi would not have suggested any unique referent to me, but it would have vaguely suggested sociological categories such as “Arab” and “Middle Easterner.” Today, of course, it also suggests “journalist,” “protester,” and “size 10 shoes.”

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#10 2008-12-19 06:28:56

Craig C Clarke
Eggcornista
Registered: 2005-11-19
Posts: 232
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Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

“For example, one week ago a name like Muntazer al-Zaidi…”

If this trend catches on, will we find ourselves in the future talking about protest targets having been “Muntazed?”

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#11 2008-12-20 01:29:22

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1751
Website

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

I’d been scratching my brain again, trying to remember the name for the proverbially optomistic (love that spelling) girl—Pollyanna! Yes, some sort of blending with that may have gone into “Petty Annie”.
.
Also (sure enough):

In addition, her Polly Annie Playtime solutions to foreign policy make women look bad.

There’s also “Annie-git-your-gun”; and the two get combined in

Polly-Annie-Git-Yer-Gun. I’ll shoot any man that looks at me wrong,

The common noun and adjective “Pollyanna” come historically from the novel of that name. And I suppose “Annie-git-yer-gun” is a reference to Annie Oakley. But names of that sort, even when the original historical or literary referent is forgotten or not learned by a new generation, can last in fixed phrases of this sort. They are not thereby rendered meaningless, even though a lot of meaning (most of the associations brought by the original Pollyanna or Annie Oakley) is bleached out.
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Anniehow (and yes, that occurs), there are some interesting parallels there.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2008-12-20 01:33:42)


*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 2008-12-20 06:05:25

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2101

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

Philosophers are pretty much all wet on this one (a proper name does not have semantics).

I think you may be misunderstanding the point. The name “Vidkun Quisling” is, as a proper name, semantically empty. It is just a symbolic pointer to the person who is Vidkun Quisling. As linguists point out, proper names display their semantic oddness by their peculiar grammatical behavior-they do not take articles, they do not pluralize, they do not accept restrictive adjectival clauses.

Proper names, however, readily transform into verbs, adjectives and common nouns. We all know what happened to poor Vidkun’s surname. Notoriety is not a prerequisite for this transformation. If I ask “Which of the three John Smiths are you talking about?” the proper name “John Smith” immediately becomes a common noun whose meaning is “a person named John Smith.” The examples you give of “meaningful” names are all common nouns that were once proper nouns.

I have no trouble recognizing the eggcorn in a proper noun that has made its transition to a common noun before the eggcorn act. “John Hancock” as a signature could easily eggcorn into “John Handcock.” It’s these eggcorns in which the de-properisation is only recognized because we want to find an eggcorn that look suspicious. I don’t know what an “annie” or a “lehmann” is. I can invest the words with a meaning based on annies and lehmann’s I have known or read about, and, insofar as we share a literary culture or a circle of acquaintances, the investiture may result in a word that has some claim to a entry in Webster’s next big dictionary. But when I only know that Annie is a skinflint because of the eggcorn “penny annie,” is “penny annie” still an eggcorn? The “penny annie” eggcorn images, but it doesn’t re-image, unless the “re-” part is allowed to refer to a post facto invention of a word with semantics.

Last edited by kem (2008-12-21 04:05:25)

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#13 2008-12-20 07:07:34

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1751
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Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

But pointing to the person Vidkun Quisling opens up mental access to all that is known about that person. That (shared) knowledge too is meaning. Similarly pointing to the species “elephant”, as the word elephant does, opens up mental access to all that is known about elephants, and that (shared) knowledge is meaning available for communication.
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Another way to talk about it is to say that it all depends on the semantics of the word “semantics”. If it only refers to non-defeasible, un-changing, “eternalized” associations of the structure under consideration, things that provide the crisp truth-values that philosophers prize so highly, sure, then a proper name or a pronoun may have little or conceivably even no semantics, but can and may even need to be seen as just a pointer. (Pronouns also do not take articles, do not pluralize straightforwardly, and do not readily accept restrictive adjectival clauses.) But that wouldn’t mean they had no meaning(s).
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But I find it much more useful to equate a form’s semantics with all its meaning(s). I couldn’t begin to think clearly about eggcorns, or jokes, or, really, even ordinary garden-variety syntactic structures, if I only considered denotative meanings. Very little of what we talk about on this forum, of what parts of a meaning or image contribute in what ways to an eggcorn, fit at all well in that kind of a model. And if defeasible, less-than-fully-central meanings are included within semantics (as I think they must be), proper nouns are certainly not meaningless.
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Your “previous use as a common noun” criterion makes a sort of sense, but doesn’t jive with how language usage and language learning interact. We often encounter a new usage and construe something in a new way for the first time simply because that is the best way to make sense of the new usage.
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For instance, we are used to the fact that Shakespeare is the name for a body of literary works, as well as an author. For most of us, Harry Smith is not. But if someone were to ask, “Where could I find an account of the Battle of New Orleans from a British soldier’s viewpoint?” and another were to answer, “Why don’t you look in Harry Smith?”, we would immediately deduce that (a) Harry Smith was a British soldier who (b) wrote something, likely including an account of the Battle of N.O., and (c ) that the speaker is referring to what he wrote by his name. It need not be pre-established to be accessible.
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The first time I heard “Don’t be a silly Billy”, I realized that one who is silly is likely to be called a silly-Billy, without having pre-established Billy as a common noun. Why can’t I do the same with “petty Annie”, or “Lehmann’s terms”?
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The name Houdini need not have been (and probably wasn’t) independently established as a common noun before being used as a verb in “Houdini your way out of the closet”. It is usage in that structure, in the slot reserved for a certain kind of verb in the “way” construction, that clues a hearer in to the need to construe it in a new way. And the semantics of that new way can be be understood only if the name includes a lot of specifications beyond the “dictionary” meaning, or “denotation” or “truth-value meaning”.
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I truly don’t think that the use of a proper name keeps this from being a clear kind of re-imaging, or makes it a completely different kind from what we find in other eggcorns.
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(Sorry to be so long-winded. It’s late, and I don’t have time to work this through enough to make it short. The power-point on “Getting the joke” available at http://www.sil.org/~tuggyd/PowerPoints/ … nglish.htm talks about some of these issues—you’d probably enjoy it even if you’d wind up still disagreeing with me.)


*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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#14 2008-12-21 04:03:54

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2101

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

David –

I’m not saying that “penny annie” is not an eggcorn. It may be. I’m just calling attention to some of the strange eggcorns candidates that we are nominating.

One disadvantage to calling “penny annie” an eggcorn, it seems to me, is that our minds automatically invoke the “re-imaging” aspect of eggcorn behavior, leading us to search for some semantically significant use of “annie” that could stand in place of the semantics of “ante.” “What if,” my more skeptical side keeps asking, “what if this is a snipe hunt? What if the English language issues to proper names a general license that permits them to join themselves to certain language structures without requiring these names to pass a semantic property test?”

We may just have to disagree about the role of semantics in all of this. I readily concede that proper names have a meaning. Their meaning is the person denoted by the proper name. In the first half of the twentieth century many linguistic philosophers-we call them today “logical positivists”-thought that this kind of direct reference was a paradigmatic kind of meaning. They sought to find the paths that would lead most words to the touchstone of direct reference. Modern philosophy, even modern linguistic philosophy, finds this idea of the positivists impossibly confining. What words point to, they all seem to agree, is not their ultimate referents in a physical matrix. The exact target that the meaning of words points to, however, is still a topic of much discussion. Opinions range from extremes that deny the pointing nature of words (e.g. linguistic analysts) to those that posit a quasi-Platonic intermediate realm of mental states (cognitive linguists), with all stops in between.

How one construes the word “semantics” depends, as you say, on what philosophy of language one subscribes to. However, I don’t think that taking special note of the way that proper names, pronouns and demonstrative adjectives deliver their meaning commits one to the ontological positions held by the logical positivists. The positivists noticed the oddness of these constructions and built a philosophy around it. But their philosophy did not make the behavior of these constructions unusual, did they? These constructions seem to have their own oddness. So when modern linguists say that proper names are “semantically unmotivated,” they aren’t necessarily trying to sneak positivism in the back door. It seems to me that the curious grammatical behavior of proper nouns must be influenced, at least in part, by their failure to join in the semantic games played by common nouns.

Last edited by kem (2009-01-27 16:10:18)

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#15 2008-12-21 04:15:19

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1751
Website

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

Yes, proper nouns behave differently from common nouns. I think I can talk coherently about why. But it is not because they lack all meaning. Modern linguists (am I a pre-modern one?) come in all kinds and say many kinds of things. Which particular linguists do you have in mind who say proper names are semantically unmotivated? And what do they mean by that if not something positivist?
.
I can say “sure, it is semantically unmotivated that the girl next door is known to me as Annie”. I can as easily say, “it is semantically unmotivated that the nearest star is known to me as sun, or that stars are known by the name star or dogs by the name dog, or that the planet I live on is known as Earth.” But that doesn’t mean the words sun, star, dog and Earth are meaningless.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2008-12-21 04:17:25)


*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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#16 2008-12-23 02:10:47

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

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

I hope David Tuggy will forgive me for posting a not-quite-sequitur in his thread, but all this talk of logical positivism reminds me of a remarkable anecdote I saw recently in Wikipedia’s A. J. Ayer article about an incident involving that famous logical positivist in 1987:

At a party that same year held by fashion designer Fernando Sanchez, Ayer, then 77, confronted Mike Tyson harassing the (then little-known) model Naomi Campbell. When Ayer demanded that Tyson stop, the boxer said: “Do you know who the fuck I am? I’m the heavyweight champion of the world,” to which Ayer replied: “And I am the former Wykeham Professor of Logic. We are both pre-eminent in our field. I suggest that we talk about this like rational men”.[3] Ayer and Tyson then began to talk, while Naomi Campbell slipped out.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_J_Ayer

The footnote is to a biography of AJA, so maybe it happened.

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#17 2008-12-23 02:41:14

nilep
Eggcornista
Registered: 2007-03-21
Posts: 291

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

Regardless of (one’s assumptions of) the semantics of Annie as a lexical item, the fact remains that it can be seen as containing the morpheme -ie (-y). This morpheme has the semantic / compositional / motivated / what-have-you sense of “diminutive.” And this meaning, at least, is therefore available for re-imaging.

While I’m on the soapbox, let me also point out that there is an assumption – perhaps unnoticed because it is commonly assumed by language scholars of many stripes – that words are part of a linguistic system, and that this linguistic system can be abstracted from any specific instance of language use. David’s arguments above seem to suggest something that I would argue specifically: the process of creating eggcorns is a byproduct of language use (or maybe learning). A lack of match to linguistic theory may point to insufficiency of the theory as easily as complexity of usage.

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#18 2009-01-27 17:16:03

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2101

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

I thought of an interesting example of the issue I raised this thread. When I was young, Liberace was a popular television performer. Liberace was not a fabricated stage name-it the Polish surname he acquired at birth. Liberace insisted that it was pronounced “lee-burr-AH-chee.”

I remember that many people in my parent’s generation called him “liber-archie.” You can still find some examples of this spelling on the web. Presumably those who made this change were importing “Archie” (a name that was a lot more popular in my parents’ generation than it is now) into “Liberace.” I remember when I first heard “Liberarchie” that I wondered why someone named “Archie” would put “liber” in front of his name. I thought it must be some kind of artistic affectation.

The question I pose is this: is “Liberarchie” an eggcorn?

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#19 2009-01-27 18:26:42

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1751
Website

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

Yes. (Though not a very complete one: what does the Lee-burr mean?)


*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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#20 2009-01-27 20:19:08

Peter Forster
Eggcornista
From: UK
Registered: 2006-09-06
Posts: 813

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

At the time when Liberace was becoming popular in the UK there was also a radio series called “Educating Archie” which featured a ventriloquist and his dummy. I thought for some time that Libber-Archie was something to do with this invisible pair.
It’s clearly an eggcorn, whether demi- or not, and retrospectively he could be seen as (Gay-) Libber Archie, though in the 50s the Libber might have stood for libertine – www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/686671.html – he certainly seemed to upset William Conner.

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#21 2009-01-28 23:31:21

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2101

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

I don’t see how “Liberarchie” could be an eggcorn. It’s just a name confusion, isn’t it? When my parents called him “Liberarchie” they thought (wrongly) that his name was something-Archie.

Let me suggest a parallel. Deloris, a friend of my daughter’s, comes to the house. I haven’t met her. My daughter says, “Dad, this is Deloris.” I’m not familiar with the name, and my hearing is not too good. I reach out and shake her and and say “Hi, Doris, glad to meet you.”

If Liberarchie is an eggcorn for Liberace, then Doris is an eggcorn for Deloris. But Deloris is not an eggcorn for Doris, since there is no imagery moving around. I know that I’m dealing with a name, and my mind only goes looking for sound parallels with the name I thought I heard (OK, I know that there is some semantics, since I would only look for female names-but I could have given you an example that lacked even that bit of information).

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#22 2009-01-29 15:07:21

Peter Forster
Eggcornista
From: UK
Registered: 2006-09-06
Posts: 813

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

Wait a minute. How have I got myself involved in this? My poor powers of concentration are hardly compensated for by a prodigious capacity for vacillation – I knew I should have read the rest of the thread before submitting my last post. While reading David my head nods in agreement, but continues when I read Kem.
Although Liberace may have been the first, we’re now surrounded by one-name entertainers like Sting, Slash or Sade, or Morrissey, Moby and Madonna. Would Mad Donna and Maurice E be eggcorns of Madonna and Morrissey? If there was an entertainer called Bozhorzh could Boy George be its eggcorn? Given Liberace’s ‘exoticism’ could someone, somewhere, have innocently eggcornified him as “Liebe Archie?” (66 ughits for ‘liebe archie” – I wish I could read German).

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#23 2009-01-29 16:40:22

JonW719
Eggcornista
From: Colorado
Registered: 2007-09-05
Posts: 285

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

Peter Forster wrote:

(66 ughits for ‘liebe archie” – I wish I could read German).

“Liebe Archie” would basically mean “dear Archie” in German. Sounds like an advice columnist. :-)


Feeling quite combobulated.

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#24 2009-01-29 18:02:54

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1751
Website

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

kem wrote:

I don’t see how “Liberarchie” could be an eggcorn. It’s just a name confusion, isn’t it? When my parents called him “Liberarchie” they thought (wrongly) that his name was something-Archie. ¶ Let me suggest a parallel. Deloris, a friend of my daughter’s, comes to the house. I haven’t met her. My daughter says, “Dad, this is Deloris.” I’m not familiar with the name, and my hearing is not too good. I reach out and shake her and and say “Hi, Doris, glad to meet you.” ¶ If Liberarchie is an eggcorn for Liberace, then Doris is an eggcorn for Deloris. But Deloris is not an eggcorn for Doris, since there is no imagery moving around.

I don’t see the parallel as that close. If they misheard the name “Liberace” and thought it was “Larache”, that would be more like thinking it was “Doris” instead of “Deloris”. In either case it is substitution of one simplex name for another that sounds sort of similar. But “Something-Archie” adds syntactic structure, making it a modified proper name instead of just a simple one. Peter’s “Mad-Donna” is a better parallel, except of course that the “mad” is more easily identifiable.
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I never thought of “Lieber-Archie”, but —why not? Liebe® is one of those German words that have made it into the outskirts of English. That would be a more complete eggcorn—if anyone actually thought that was what it was.
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In any case, yes, I would count “Maurice E.” (if documented) as an eggcorn for Morrisey. Even though under structuralist semantic assumptions both Maurice and E. would be semantics-less, they are not meaningless. The reanalysis of a name into a combination of name and initial, like its reanalysis into a modifier and a name, is a kind of imagery shift, to my mind.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2009-01-29 21:15:22)


*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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#25 2009-01-31 05:33:47

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2101

Re: petty Annie and vigil auntie

The reanalysis of a name into a combination of name and initial, like its reanalysis into a modifier and a name, is a kind of imagery shift, to my mind.

A “kind of imagery shift?” Is that some sort of metaphor? I don’t know what “imagery shift,” as that term applies to eggcorns, would mean in such a context.

The only world in which your phrase would not be a metaphor is one in which every unique syntactical context and use framework of every word gave it a unique semantics. Such a world provides us with more eggcorns than we can handle.

Suppose I’m walking in a garden and I see a chap coming toward me. I don’t know him. Just before he gets to me, I hear someone call from the far side of the garden “Hen-REEE.” (People often switch the accent of a multisyllablic name to the last syllable when using the name as shouting query-same reason we say “soo-WEE” when calling pigs.) The fellow looks toward the sound. At that moment I reach him. As it turns out, I have never heard the name “Henry” before, so I have no idea that it should be pronounced “HEN-ree.” But I am clever enough to figure out that the fellow I’m looking at is the fellow who has just been called. He notices me. I stick out my hand and say (in all seriousness) “Hen-REE, I presume.”

By your analysis, I would have just uttered an eggcorn. “Hen-REE” has a slight different sound than the correct “HEN-ree,” and it has a different performance context, “Hen-REE” being appropriate for contexts of shouted calling, “HEN-ree” being the pronunciation in conversational contexts. I have used the wrong sound for the context.

Last edited by kem (2009-01-31 05:37:38)

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