Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2018-04-11
Could someone please post (in this thread) some of the more important Language Log links to topics like flounders, pineapples and other non-Eggcorns. I’m afraid my search of this database hasn’t panned out. It would be nice if there were a separate section on this database where the administrators assembled the most important links, but that might be quite a chore.
Joe, here’s the link to Zwicky’s Pails and Flounders post from a couple of years ago:
There are more, of course, but this is the most important post for flounders. In the forum discussion about flounders last summer, I think we made some of Zwicky’s thinking behind his category more explicit: they’re already-extant and standard single words that substitute for other standard, single words; they have a degree of semantic overlap with their acorns; and they can substitute for the acorn everywhere (rather than in just certain fixed phrases, contexts, etc.). We never reached a consensus on whether or not they’re eggcorns. Zwicky says no. If I recall correctly, David Tuggy said they weren’t, Kem said—qualifiedly—that they were, and I was uncharacteristically sitting on the fence.
“Mainstream” eggcorns don’t substitute a standard “whole” for another standard whole. They either replace a part of a word with one word, or they replace one word with two or more words, or they replace part of a fixed phrase while leaving the rest intact. (Zwicky uses event>>advent as an example of a flounder in his post, but I disagree—“advent” replaces “event” most often in the fixed phrase “in the event of [fire/flood, etc.],” so it’s got a claim to eggcornicity if it passes the etymological test. And I’ve argued somewhere on the forum that aisle>><<isle is a bizarre special case that might be eggcornish even though it technically looks like a reversible flounder.)
In any case, flounders are an interesting category in their own right, and they appear to be rarer than eggcorns. So I guess I don’t ultimately care too much whether they’re a subset or a different category—they’re worth noting.
(Edit: I added the penultimate paragraph and futzed with this in various other ways after I first posted it.)
Last edited by patschwieterman (2009-04-05 13:38:13)