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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2009-04-05 11:29:53

Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1456

Links to Language Log articles on Flounders, Pineapples, etc.

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.



#2 2009-04-05 12:17:33

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

Re: Links to Language Log articles on Flounders, Pineapples, etc.

Joe, here’s the link to Zwicky’s Pails and Flounders post from a couple of years ago: … 04805.html

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)



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