1. Jal Phoenix
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    Jal Phoenix Member

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    What misuse is this?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Jal Phoenix, Mar 29, 2009.

    My grammar is a bit rusty. I'm trying to identify the proper term(s) for the following misused word. I'll have to give a little backstory for the full effect.

    I once dated a girl who was abysmally, incurably, stupid. She was the kind of stupid that goes beyond normal and into the realms of epic. She had reached the point where she actually believed she was a genius, and the rest of the world had something wrong with it. I'll give an example.

    While doing a science paper, she once asked me if we got salt from a plant or an animal. I told her neither, it was a mineral. She didn't know what a mineral was, so I said that it was a rock. This just couldn't be, as people can't eat rocks. She decided I was a complete idiot and told me so. Later I discovered that she classified salt as a plant on the reasoning that it was a spice, and so were the parsley flakes that looked just like her pot, and she knew that was a plant. Ah, logic.

    One of her more amusing habits was slipping words into her vocabulary that she didn't quite know the meaning or proper use of. She thought it made her sound smarter, and that the reason people were laughing at her all the time was her incredible wit. Once, while telling me how brilliant her coworkers thought she was, she let out this sentence:

    "...they think so, and so do other people hi rocky of me."

    It took me an unnaturally long time to figure out that the word she was raping was hierarchy, and not only was she mispronouncing it, but misusing it as well. I engaged for a moment in a completely futile exercsie, that being trying to correct her, accepted her view that I was still a complete idiot, and went to bed. I ended up leaving her not long after, and my intelligence increased dramatically by virtue of not having to breathe her air anymore.

    The thing that's been bothering me is that I can't quite find the proper term for her misuse of the word. It's not quite malapropism by definition, but I've always called it that for simplicity. Now I need to figure this out for an assignment, and I can't quite do it. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!
    JP
     
  2. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I'm thinking she misused it
    probably because she misheard it
    and consequently misapplied it
    along with mispronouncing it.
    Mayhap? :)
     
  3. crimsonrose
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    crimsonrose Senior Member

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    To be honest, I'm not quite sure what to call her misuse either... I will tell you one thing though: this post made me giggle. "hi rocky"... very amusing.

    Don't go dating anyone else like that, please. Poor thing.
     
  4. Castlesofsand
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    Castlesofsand Banned

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    I like to always tag it with an 'ism' at the end

    when in doubt, add their name to the front as a prefix

    Bobism/Joanism and such, I think it individualises their unique understandings and yet doesn't label them with that 'Stupid' word. We all have different degrees of vocabulary, word power is never an easy thing to grab hold of. The idea though is to want to for improvement of understanding, not to appear witty.


    that said, i must have read 'hi rocky' four times and quite possibly blew a gasket on my right hemisphere. would have paid to see your expression.
     
  5. crimsonrose
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    crimsonrose Senior Member

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    Agreed. I read his post twice before finally giving in and cracking up. Its not the poor girls fault she didn't know how to say it, but considering the fact that he claims she's conceited to boot.. Hilariouuuus.
     
  6. Jal Phoenix
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    Jal Phoenix Member

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    I speak nothing but truth. I could go on for hours about how she insisted the "L" in wolf was silent, or how museum was pronounced "muse-um". At first I thought she was smart but uneducated, but after a month or so it began to sink in. I stayed with her for a year, mostly out of inertia. I was much more tolerant then. Bear in mind that these examples are only of her use of the language; her deeds would fill a book. She was caught drinking at work, and tried to get out of it by telling her boss it was medicine for her constipation. When her boss asked her to produce a medicine looked and tasted like a white russian, she concoted a mixture of half-and-half and baking soda, and proceeded to embaress herself in new and profound ways. From that point on, when she referred to the incident she still insisted that it was medicine she was drinking.

    Anyway. calling the use of "hi rocky" a Crystalism would work if I was narrating, but I'm actually trying to use the example in an educational way so I need the proper term. Like I said, it's not quite a malapropism, but that's the closest I can find.
     
  7. crimsonrose
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    crimsonrose Senior Member

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    Catachresis, perhaps?
     
  8. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I don't know what the technical word is for how she misused the word, but you absolutely must write a short story centered around your relationship with her. If you do, let me know when you finish it. I would love to read it.
     
  9. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    are we talking about her mispronunciation or the actual term for the specific manner of her misuse? I didn't know there were such things.

    So I looked it up...

    I agree with you that it wouldn't really be malapropism, as I can't think of a proper word that would sound at all like hierarchy. I can't really figure out what the error there IS, though. Obviously she doesn't know the meaning of the word, but I can't figure out what she's trying to say.

    The best I can classify it as is LOLcat.
     
  10. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Veyda, I think she thought the word hierachy meant something like, my superior. They think so, and so do people above me. I think that was what she thought she was saying.
     
  11. Jal Phoenix
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    Jal Phoenix Member

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    Yes, that's correct. She also used "language" as a verb: "You need to stop trying to language your problems at me." :(
     
  12. crimsonrose
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    crimsonrose Senior Member

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    I'm now passing this thread over to my friend so she can read it. It's that hilarious XD
     
  13. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    She languages real good. lol.

    This is great. I shouldn't be laughing at a human being, though.
     
  14. crimsonrose
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    crimsonrose Senior Member

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    After consulting a friend, we both agree- her mistake would be categorized as an eggcorn.
     
  15. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    OMG, haha.
     
  16. crimsonrose
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    crimsonrose Senior Member

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    haha, no joke. it's an actual term. sadly... who the hell comes up with these things...
     
  17. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    OMG this thread is hilarious.

    And amazingly enough ... it is called an eggcorn.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggcorn

    That wiki post itself is pretty entertaining...

    ~Lynn
     
  18. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    I think she was confusing hierarchy with "higher up" perhaps, in which case it would be bad word choice, and that would be malapropism, right??
     
  19. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I didn't know eggcorn was a real term. I thought rose was making a joke, and man was it funny, but now that I know what eggcorn means, the joke is ruined for me :(

    So it can't be a malapropism because she intended to use hierarchy, but she used it incorrectly. Can it be considered an eggcorn, though?

    She mispronounced the word hierarchy, and misused it. If you look at the examples on that wiki article, such as: sore grapes instead of sour grapes. I don't think this ladies use of hierarchy is an eggcorn. If she used hierarchy in the right context, but merely pronounced it hi rocky, it would be an eggcorn.

    All examples of an eggcorn are words that if pronounced right would have been the proper use.

    I think the way she used hi rocky (hierarchy) could be a new error that has no name yet. You could name it hirocky just as Liberman named the woman's error as eggcorn for saying eggcorn when she meant acorn.
     
  20. Jal Phoenix
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    Jal Phoenix Member

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    I'm also not sure it's an eggcorn. My favorite use of an eggcorn was from Titanic, when the fat guy said something like "She's a fake, like that Russian chick, anesthesia." at least I think that was an eggcorn. The English language is so confusing sometimes.
     
  21. crimsonrose
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    crimsonrose Senior Member

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    lol, sadly no, tis a real term. XD I did crack up for about 5 minutes when I saw it though. Glad to know my cheesy sense of humor is not alone. :D
     
  22. Sound of Silence
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    Sound of Silence Member

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    There's maybe two things going on there,

    either she's just spelling things phonetically (i.e. spelling things how she hears them as opposed to how they're actually spelt. It's basically how pre-school kid learns to spell .e.g. dofin as opposed to dolphin)

    or

    it's homophone confusion (words that sound the same but are spelt differently). E.g., Sun and son, there and their, your hierarchy and, what was it... hi rocky... (maybe prononuced as 'hi-r-ocky')?

    I think I'd go for the phonetic usage first because I get the impression she meant to say hierarchy.

    Hope this helps.
     
  23. Jal Phoenix
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    Jal Phoenix Member

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    She was saying this, not writing it. She actually said "hi rocky", as if she were greeting Mr. Balboa. I think she saw it spelled and everything went downhill from there. The confusion came from her mistaking herself for a coherent human being. Let me tell you what we're dealing with here.

    In high school History class, she asked why soldiers had knives on the ends of their guns. She then believed that the knives were for peeling apples in the field.

    She claimed she was allergic to fire ant bites because the bite got all red and puffy, and she would go into "animalistic shock".

    She claimed to have some kind of bowel disorder, and her doctor prescribed a liquid enema solution. I caught her administering her first dosage. Orally.

    I tell no lies.
     
  24. Sound of Silence
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    Sound of Silence Member

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    I have a few friends like that, believe me. Mind you, I have my moments too.:D
     
  25. crimsonrose
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    crimsonrose Senior Member

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    Now now darling, don't tell us too much of her downfalls or we'll be forced to mock you for staying with her for so long ;)
     

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