Do you enjoy eggcorns?

Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by somemorningrain, Jan 16, 2021.

  1. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Only if you join us...
     
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  2. B.E. Nugent

    B.E. Nugent Contributor Contributor

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    I

    Did not see that one coming!
     
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  3. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber epic gamer Contributor

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    You gentlemen have fun, I think I'm going to take in the night air on the verandah.
     
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  4. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    People often use 'weary' where they mean either wary or leery: "He remained weary of his compatriots, who had already proven themselves unreliable and perhaps untrustworthy."

    Either leery or wary would work, but not weary. Weary means tired or worn out. Leery means suspicious and wary means cautious, cunning and watchful.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2021
  5. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    There's a similar three-way mixup going on between Jibe, Jive and Gibe.

    People often say or write "That doesn't jive with what I know" when it should be jibe. Which of course sounds just like Gibe, so people use the spellings willy-nilly.

    Jive = glib, deceptive, or foolish talk
    tired of listening to his jive

    b: the jargon of hipsters

    c: a special jargon of difficult or slang terms
    street jive

    2: swing music or the dancing performed to it

    Jibe = to be in accord : AGREE —usually used with with
    a story that doesn't jibe with the facts

    Gibe = to deride or tease with taunting words
    boxers gibing each other before a fight
     
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  6. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    Shouldn't that be punctuated as "Look, dude..."

    And isn't that supposed to be "at its highest level"?

    But perhaps you have a different rule book from the rest of us.

    I get your point about standards, though, and I support your efforts to keep your own writing at a high level. I try for that, too.

    You also wrote:

    It's hard to distinguish "poor education" from the natural tendency of a language to change. The French set up a governmental arm to halt the degradation of the French language caused by infiltrations from English and other languages. It really hasn't worked, because people prefer "computer" to "ordinateur." As for fads in spelling and usage, it's expected that many of them will drop out of the language as fast as they first appeared, so let's not waste our energy in stewing about them. What's left will go into the dictionaries as standard usage, because they proved to be useful in some way or another to the people who use the language.

    And you wrote:

    I agree in the main, but for me it's important for writers to strive for clarity above all. And I'll grant you that people who use words precisely will be more effective in making their writing clear to the reader. As Mark Twain commented, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug."

    So we must choose our words for the greatest clarity, and for the greatest effect. But I think it's unrealistic for us to ignore the way language is really used in favor of an ideal that, while useful in its time and even today, isn't always the best solution for a pursuit of clarity. Words are tools, like pliers and screwdrivers and hammers. When I work on my car, I've often used a socket wrench as a hammer or a screwdriver as a pry-bar, because they were more useful at that point in time than the tools that were in the tool-b0x but not conveniently at hand. I suppose that a real mechanic would treat this attitude with disdain, and prefer to go get the hammer and the pry-bar for their designed uses. But as long as the tool gets the job done, I'm happy.

    The whole point of this thread is that, while misused words and phrases sometimes appear illogical or humorous, they still turn up in common discourse and even in print. Yes, we know they're wrong, which puts us ahead of many of the speakers. But we shouldn't get too upset about them. They're just another way of showing the slipperiness of the language.
     
  7. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Haha!! Of course, when we're just writing here on the board we fall into the same traps everybody else does. And often when writing a story as well, that's the whole point. So in here we point out what these common mistakes are, so we can become aware of them and hopefully avoid them ourselves.

    Of course argument also tends to harden opposition and push people into increasingly extreme positions, but I maintained a sense of humor throughout. I just refuse to accept that eggcorns are 'ok', because well, some people say it or spell it that way, so we should just all erode our own standards as writers.

    I'm not perfect, you're not perfect, none of us are. That's exactly why we need threads like this.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2021
  8. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber epic gamer Contributor

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    to cut off one's nose despite one's face

    lmao
     
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  9. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Oh, that's fine! I'm not saying nobody should use eggcorns if they want to. But I am saying it's important to be able to recognize them. Otherwise we're writing from ignorance. If you use a common platitude that isn't technically correct, I have no problem with that. I do it myself. But as writers I do believe part of our job is to learn the language to a high level. Unless of course your thing is to write in a street idiom or whatever, to appeal to the masses in their own language.

    But I think threads like this are important resources and need to exist, and need to be held to high standards, especially since the dictionaries are caving in to social pressure.

    But I'll stop arguing against the detractors, as I already said i would a few posts back. When people come in and say "Hey, that's not nice, I LIKE that eggcorn" or "Oh come on, it's good enough!" or whatever the arguments are against correct language, I'll just ignore them.
     
  10. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber epic gamer Contributor

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    there's a difference between a mistake and an eggcorn, though. Using "weary" in place of "wary" is just a mistake; an eggcorn is something like "old-timer's disease" that sounds very close or indistinguishable to an established phrase in speech but is wrong when written down.
     
  11. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Yes but this thread expanded near the beginning to include common mistakes. I think that's a good idea, rather than having 2 separate specialty threads with extremely narrow parameters.

    How about this, as a way of satisfying both parties in this argument—I have no problem with saying something like "This one is becoming standard usage, but to be technical it's a mistake. Use at your discretion."

    Or even"For old-timers like me who refuse to compromise their standards, it's a mistake." :supercool: :supergrin:
     
  12. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber epic gamer Contributor

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    it's cool, there are only so many eggcorns out there anyway.
     
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  13. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    Saw this on the BBC website:

    "He was worried about the government splitting into fractions."

    Factions, I think you'll find.
     
  14. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

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    There are as many eggcorns as there are people speaking and writing.
     
  15. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber epic gamer Contributor

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    That seems unlikely, statistically.
     
  16. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

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    Why? Do you believe that everyone goes through their entire lives without ever uttering (or writing) a single eggcorn? IMHO, that's statistically impossible.
     
  17. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber epic gamer Contributor

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    no, but I think the idea that everyone comes up with unique ones (which is what I thought you we’re talking about) is unlikely considering the number of english speakers. There are only so many words and ways to combine them, and only a fraction of those combinations are easily susceptible to eggcornization.
     
  18. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I think I already posted this one earlier, but it deserves another mention. I used to know a guy who would say "For all intensive purposes".

    A really bizarre bastardization of "For all practical intents and purposes".
     
  19. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

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    Not bizarre at all. I see that more often than I can count on the Jeep forums I haunt.

    Another very common one from the Jeep forums is "Walla!" (c.f. "Voila!")

    Here's one that may or may not qualify as an eggcorn: You know those food items that consist of something delivered between two slices of bread? My mother -- who generally spoke very good English (but apparently had a tin ear) -- always pronounced it as "sand ridge." It must have dated to her early childhood, when she heard it for the first time and made that mental association. But the association stuck, and she pronounced it that way until the day she died.
     
  20. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Not sure if this one fell from the eggcorn tree, but there's a radio commercial where they say "You'll rule the day." It kinda sounds like a cross-breeding of rue the day and seize the day, but possibly some ad exec just made it up and it only sounds similar. I could definitely see it happening though, because 'rue the day' is exactly the kind of phrase that's ripe for egg-cornage. Most people have no idea it means "You'll regret the day" and probably think it's supposed to be rule.
     
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  21. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    Was your mother by any chance from Baltimore? That's a common pronunciation there. You could enjoy a cole race beef sanrich, available from many lunch counters at the druckstewers.

    Which reminds me of another eggcorn: "cold slaw" for "cole slaw." Since it was always served cold, it made sense to a lot of people.

    Another is "chaise lounge" for that long chair on the patio where you used to lounge.

    My God, we could go on forever...
     
  22. Hublocker

    Hublocker Active Member

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    chaise lounge
    [ˌSHāz ˈlounj, ˌCHāz ˈlounj]
    NOUN
    NORTH AMERICAN
    1. a chair having a lengthened seat that forms a leg rest for reclining.
     
  23. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

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    Source?

    "Chaise lounge" is another example of improper, incorrect usage having become so widespread that it became impossible to call out and correct all the instances, and the dictionaries eventually just gave in and included it. The proper term is "chaise longue," which (of course) is French for "long chair."

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/chaise-lounge-or-chaise-longue

    This is from someone (me) who is old enough to remember the outrage when "ain't" was first included in the dictionary.
     
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  24. Hublocker

    Hublocker Active Member

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    https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/chaise-lounge-or-chaise-longue




    Chaise lounge seems to be stuck in an intermediate stage of development, with its very French first word and much more comfortable second word. It turns out that English speakers, in a rush to find a cozy place to set down a name for a newfangled sofa imported from France in the late 1700s, transformed the name chaise longue (French for “long chair”) into chaise lounge. This kind of gravitational pull toward a more common word is known as folk etymology, or the transformation of an unfamiliar term to make it seem more familiar. Since longue is not an English word, but lounge, spelled with the same letters, is, it’s a natural choice for people seeking linguistic comfort.

    But there’s more to this story: lounge also has a meaning in English that, coincidentally, is the same as the original chaise longue, “a long couch.” That makes the temptation to switch longue for lounge nearly irresistible. It’s clear from a comparison of the relative frequency of the use of both terms over time that chaise lounge is gaining on chaise longue in recent years, though a distinction is often recognized: chaise lounge is used more frequently for outdoor poolside, patio, or deck furniture, and chaise longue (or simply chaise) is used for indoor furniture.
     
  25. evild4ve

    evild4ve Member

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    It won't be a coincidence - lounge and longue do both come from the same etymological roots: French:alongier... Lat:longus... back to Indo-European:dlonghos

    I hadn't come across "chaise lounge" before... but it might be a useful development on "chaise longue" since it shifts the emphasis to how the chair's sat on, rather than the physical length of it.
    In time, it may acquire an opposite: the "chaise lumbago" :) or there is the "chaise hostile" commonly seen in British parks with those raised armrests so no-one can lie down on them. In my native Cockney dialect though we don't say "chaise", so we call it an "anti-homeless bench".

    But I digress... it might be the language purging a potentially-elitist Frenchism, on its way to a more natural "lounge chair" (relegating chairs who currently think they're lounge chairs to being just... "chairs") or "chair-lounger" if all the incumbent "lounge chairs" in P G Wodehouse &co. put up enough resistance.

    (Philology hat on) I don't think it's incorrect or improper either, I think the language knows what it's doing on this one.
    The "longue" in "chaise longue" is going through a repeat of the same process that changed Fr:s'allonger into Eng:lounge.
    It's to get rid of the French nasal vowel sound /ɔ̃ .
    It isn't altogether alien - we can pronounce it it, but English finds it uncomfortable enough to have started replacing it with one of its own vowels... inside a short space of about 300 years.
     

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