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#1 2009-04-03 16:47:52

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2103

chuck it up to << chalk it up to

If our plans misfire, we can chalk it up to experience and go on. “Chalk it up to” means to attribute to, with overtones of bringing the matter to closure. The idiom, which has been with us for several hundred years, may derive from an early alehouse custom of writing customer tabs on a slate with chalk.

Hundreds of web sites think that the idiom is “chuck it up to” (See examples below.). But what is it about “chuck” that licenses its substitution for “chalk” in this idiom? Some possibilities:

  1. To “chuck up” can mean to vomit. I don’t think this is in view in “chuck it up to.”
  2. An old sense of “chucking” is throwing. We still use it in sport contexts to refer to throwing a ball (“Just chuck the pigskin in his direction: the new wide receiver can vacuum up anything.”).
  1. An extension of this sense of “chucking,” sometimes phrased as “chucking up,” gives us the meaning of throwing over, giving up, discarding. (“If the boss says one more word I’m going to chuck this job.”).

    To “chuck it up to experience,” then, might refer to giving up on (=chucking) an effort by consigning it to (=chucking it into) one’s basket of bad experiences.

    There may also be some cross-fertilization from the idiom “chucking in the towel,” a circumlocution for quitting.

    Examples:

    Letter to the Salon editors ”I think you want to be able to chuck it up to him being young and stupid. I know it would help me think of the world as less of a scary place if that were the case.“

    A pediatrician being quoted in a Fox News article “When there’s irritability and high maintenance in a child, most people may just chuck it up to normal childhood”

    A blog entry “The little surprises that creep up; sometimes good, sometimes bad but really in the end all good cause you can just chuck it up to a learning experience.”

    Last edited by kem (2009-04-03 16:55:12)

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#2 2009-04-03 17:27:21

burred
Eggcornista
From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 930

Re: chuck it up to << chalk it up to

Nice. “chock it up to” gets 7,740 ughits as well. You chock up a car by supporting the axles on blocks. Also ties in to “choke it up to” (250 times) which might naturally come from areas where chalk and choke are close in pronunciation. This can be tied to “choke-full” for “chock-full”, which is neatly outlined in the wonderful compendium of folk etymologies I just ran into here . A real treasure grove ! There, the etymological connections between choke, chock, chuck and the throat are exposed. Finally, to complete the circle, 69,500 ughits for “chalk-full” which figures on Brians’ list of common errors.

Last edited by burred (2009-04-03 19:35:54)

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#3 2009-04-03 18:24:44

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2103

Re: chuck it up to << chalk it up to

Abram Smythe Palmer’s Folk-etymology is a fascinating reference. Thanks for posting it. Palmer seems to have been one of Murray’s OED correspondents (Palmer’s book was published two years before the first OED fascicle).

Many examples of what we now call “eggcorns” were once enclosed by the term “folk-etymologies.” The folk etymologies for words derived from foreign languages were called “hobson-jobsons,” a phrase derived from a book title. Most hobson-jobsons would be eggcorns (“hobson-jobson” itself is more of an Annie Lehmann).

We have Google’s agreement with the University of Michigan to thank for the full text of Palmer. I wonder why Google books does not also show the full text of Henry Yule’s Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive.? (1886, 1903). The University of Chicago site that shows entries from this dictionary says that the full text is available through Google Books. Curious.

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#4 2009-04-04 05:18:01

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

Re: chuck it up to << chalk it up to

Kem, maybe I misunderstood your post, but I found Hobson-Jobson without trouble on Books.google.com: http://books.google.com/books?id=lPI7AA … 4#PPP47,M1
(I’m not going to hide the URL—I have trouble seeing it when other people do that (maybe adding underlining as well would help), and I assume I’m not alone.)

I remember reading in a book by Mario Pei (yeah, I know, the linguists are groaning—but I was like 13…) that Hobson Jobson was the name of a contact language or pidgin in India. I couldn’t find much evidence for that, but there are certainly other people out there pushing the idea. Yule and Burrell say that Hobson Jobson is a name for “native festal excitements” (ouch…) like Muharram in which Muslims beat their breasts while chanting “Ya Hassan! Ya Hussein!” They’ve consciously used it as an exemplary instance of native terms approximated with similar-sounding English words—kinda like we do with “flounder,” etc: “This phrase may be taken as a typical one of the most highly assimilated class of Anglo-Indian argot,and we have ventured to borrow from it a concise alternative title for this Glossary.” Elsewhere they talk of a reshaping happening “by a process of Hobson Jobson.” Perhaps the phrase was subsequently applied to a pidgin, but Pei was probably being characteristically imprecise.

So is there a word out there somewhere for that class of linguistic terms—like “flounder,” “eggcorn,” “Hobson Jobson,”—that uses a certain reshaping to exemplify the type of reshaping it embodies? Do things get that “meta”?

I wholeheartedly agree with Kem on the Palmer. What a great find! I’d never heard of it.

Last edited by patschwieterman (2009-04-04 05:24:56)

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#5 2009-04-04 16:54:14

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2103

Re: chuck it up to << chalk it up to

I must be doing something really silly. When I look at http://books.google.com/books?id=lPI7AAAAIAAJ&pgis=1 I can’t find the link to the full text of the Yule book. But when I look at the Google books page for Palmer, at http://books.google.ca/books?id=8AcYAAA … titlepage, I see a tab at the top that lets me see the full text. Where is the link on the Google books page for Yule?

A good point about the embedded links The color choices on this forum tend to hide these blue links. Underlining is a good idea, but I don’t know how to do an underline, and I suspect that any user markup for font changes would conflict with the markup requirements for the hot link. A better approach might be for someone with high-level access (Chris?) to specify global underlining for hot links.

Last edited by kem (2009-04-04 19:48:41)

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#6 2009-04-04 17:45:41

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

Re: chuck it up to << chalk it up to

I convinced myself that I had a memory of using underline in Textile, but no, Textile apparently doesn’t support underline. They say nothing about that at the obvious places on their website, but a user at a different site said that the choice was a purposeful one—links in Textile are underlined, so an underlined non-link might be interpreted as a broken link. The problem is that our links in Textile aren’t underlined, even though the Textile site shows that as the standard form. This definitely seems like a question for Chris. It’d be nice to have hidden links clearly marked.

Kem, I first got to the Hobson Jobson text through normal Google. But when I clicked on the “Selected Pages” area in your books.google.com link, it took me to full text.

Ironically, I got an error message when I clicked on the Palmer link you provided in your last post. Don’t know what’s going on there.

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#7 2009-04-04 18:21:23

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

Re: chuck it up to << chalk it up to

They are underlined on my screen. I’m thinking this has to do with different “skins”; when I use the “default” option on the display setting of my profile, I get no underlines, but I do with with the “oxygen” option, which is easier on my eyes,
.
Another difference I’m noticing: with the “default” option I get a space between paragraphs, whereas with the “oxygen” option I don’t. (Which is why I have wanted to use a period between paragraphs, like that above. I’m guessing that’s been annoying for the rest of you—sorry! I’ll stop.)


*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 2009-04-04 18:45:30

burred
Eggcornista
From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 930

Re: chuck it up to << chalk it up to

Useful tips, David. The period between paragraphs would also be useful within block-quotes, where I haven’t found a way to leave paragraphs separated. I too have wondered about the truly hidden links. I may go back to leaving them out in the open until they might be made plain for everyone to see. I also think that fancy formatting should not become de rigueur.

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#9 2009-04-04 19:53:14

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2103

Re: chuck it up to << chalk it up to

Kem, I first got to the Hobson Jobson text through normal Google. But when I clicked on the “Selected Pages” area in your books.google.com link, it took me to full text.

When I click on the page, I don’t see “Selected pages.” You’re playing with my mind, aren’t you?

Is it possible, Pat, you are running your browser with a persistent login to a university subscription service for Google Books?

David—I hadn’t noticed the periods.

Last edited by kem (2009-04-04 19:54:27)

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#10 2009-04-04 21:57:48

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

Re: chuck it up to << chalk it up to

When I click on the page, I don’t see “Selected pages.” You’re playing with my mind, aren’t you?

I was going to accuse you of “gaslighting” me—the Palmer link is now working fine.

Is it possible, Pat, you are running your browser with a persistent login to a university subscription service for Google Books?

Well, I don’t think so—I have to log in for every other university-sponsored database I can think of, but I’ve never logged in for Books.google.com. But I do get a “Sign In” window in the upper right hand of the Books.google.com screen, which shouldn’t be there, I think, if I’m on some kind of auto-login. I don’t know. It’s entertaining to discover how different all of this looks to different people.

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#11 2009-04-05 00:47:22

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2103

Re: chuck it up to << chalk it up to

You aren’t imagining things, Pat. I fixed the link.

“Gaslight” as a verb. Love it. I thought this must have been a first minting. But I checked and found it in the OED! There is nothing new under the sun.

Last edited by kem (2009-04-05 00:48:47)

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#12 2009-04-05 02:24:49

burred
Eggcornista
From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 930

Re: chuck it up to << chalk it up to

Kem, there is a partial, but very substantial, version of Hobson-Jobson here: http://books.google.com/books?id=rcjmiB … g#PPA10,M1
I’ve written to Google Books to see if there are variations in access to certain google Books by country – might be Canadian rules?

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#13 2009-04-07 01:19:19

burred
Eggcornista
From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 930

Re: chuck it up to << chalk it up to

Here is the message I received from Google Books, in response to a question about variable access among countries. Looks like it depends a bit on the book in question, and timing:

Hello,

Thank you for your message. As you may know, our approach is to err on the
side of caution and display at most a few snippets until we have
determined that a book is no longer under copyright. We’re looking into
solutions to increase the number of books accessible in full view
worldwide. Please note that some books that are available as PDF downloads
in one location may not be available in other countries, depending on
local copyright laws.

For users in the United States, this typically means books published
before 1923. For users outside the U.S., we make determinations based on
appropriate local laws. As with all of our decisions related to Google
Book Search content, we’re conservative in our reading of both copyright
law and the known facts surrounding a particular book.

Our goal is to make Google Book Search as useful as possible, and that
means including books as soon as we can rather than waiting for a perfect
determination of public domain status.

We appreciate your interest in our program. Please feel free to let us
know if you have additional questions.

Sincerely,
The Google Book Search Team

Last edited by burred (2009-04-07 01:21:43)

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#14 2009-04-07 03:29:29

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2103

Re: chuck it up to << chalk it up to

You’ve sussed it, burred. When I look at http://books.google.com/books?id=lPI7AAAAIAAJ&pgis=1 with a computer-based browser, I see no tab at the top that says “read this book.” When I go through one of the many proxy browsers (almost all based on “American” Internet addresses) I see the tab.

So the Americans are restricting our access to British books. I think Canadians should retaliate in some measured and appropriate way. I propose we cut off their supply of BC Bud for a month.

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#15 2009-04-07 05:30:29

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

Re: chuck it up to << chalk it up to

I think Canadians should retaliate in some measured and appropriate way. I propose we cut off their supply of BC Bud for a month.

That’s fine—just as long as you keep the crude oil coming our way….

Is it possible to trace the difference in access to a specific difference in copyright laws? Given the vagueness of the reply, there’s probably no easy way of knowing the answer to that.

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