Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 3 21:52:06 UTC 2006

Thank you, arnold.

-Wilson, finally getting the point, hopefully :-)

On 3/3/06, Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Eggcorn?
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> On Mar 2, 2006, at 7:05 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> > How do you distinguish a mere misspelling from a genuine eggcorn? The
> > eggcorn site has examples that appear to consist of mere
> > misspellings of
> > "cacciatore" that seem to be neutral with respect to semantics...
> i've posted on the Language Log about this, several times, and in
> soc.motss, and (i think) here on ADS-L, too.  the briefest answer is
> the following:
> something gets into the eggcorn database as a genuine eggcorn if it
> is probable  that at least some occurrences of it have an eggcorning
> (a reshaping in favor of greater semantic transparency) in their
> history.
> in the case of the misspellings of "cacciatore", the eggcorning would
> involve the (mis)perception that the word contains the verb "catch",
> and the "cacciatore" entry (which i wrote) says this very clearly.
> now, any *particular* instance of an aberrant spelling might be a
> mere misspelling (in particular, "spelling by sound"), or it might
> arise from a misperception (which then alters the spelling), or it
> might involve morphological reanalysis, or it might represent a Fay-
> Cutler malapropism, or it might be a simple classical malapropism
> (not involving reanalysis on the basis of semantics) -- or, in a
> great many cases, it might just be a spelling learned from models,
> which unfortunately happen themselves to be aberrant (in which case,
> the question is then how this misspelling first arose).  it's often
> impossible to decide what's going on in particular occurrences,
> though sometimes there is evidence about the beliefs and intentions
> of the writer or speaker (though this evidence won't on its own tell
> you whether the person who produced the error did so on their own or
> merely got it from other people).
> arnold (zwicky at
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