"thing/think" [was: on the eggcorn beat]

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Apr 30 16:39:45 UTC 2008

I wondered at the time, and still do, whether Wright intended a sly
reference to a "thing" that might come to the white man; that is,
with an intentional additional meaning beyond "think".


At 4/30/2008 10:58 AM, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>On Apr 30, 2008, at 5:14 AM, David Bowie wrote:
>>From:    "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
>>>from the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., as reported in today's NYT (p.
>>>"If you think I'm going to let you talk about my mama, and her
>>>religious tradition," he said, pausing a beat, "you got another thing
>>If this was a transcription of an unwritten statement, though, it's
>>unclear whether this is an eggcorn in production (i.e., that's
>>what Rev. Wright said) or an eggcorn in perception (i.e., that's not
>>what he said, but rather it's how the transcriber heard it).
>yes indeed.  the quotation is from a monday address at the National
>Press Club.
>the Fox News transcript (like the NYT) has "thing":
>here's the Fox News transcript of the relevant piece, an answer to a
>question from the moderator about why wright is speaking out now:
>As  said, this is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright.  It has nothing to
>do with Senator Obama.  It is an attack on the black church launched
>by people who know nothing about the African-American religious
>And why am I speaking out now?  In our community, we have something
>called playing the dozens.  If you think I'm going to let you talk
>about my mama and her religious tradition, and my daddy and his
>religious tradition, and my grandma, you've got another thing coming.
>note that this supplies some material that was elided by the NYT.  the
>NYT also has the location of that pause wrong; it came after "my
>mama", and was definitely (coming right after a reference to the
>dozens and its "yo mama" figure) a sly appeal to the audience.
>but some other print sources have "think" -- e.g., Jake Tapper on ABC
>   http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/04/wright-assails.html
>the recording i've listened to has what i hear as "think".
>unfortunately, that doesn't tell us what wright was aiming at; some
>speakers sometimes realize word-final /N/ with a short [k] at the end,
>and in context before the [k] of "coming" word-final /Nk/ might be
>simplified to /N/.  so we can't easily determine the mental reality
>from the phonetics.  now if we knew how wright *spelled* the word,
>we'd have some evidence.
>"think/thing coming" on Language Log:
>AZ, 6/29/04: The thin line between error and mere variation (part 1 of
>   http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001133.html
>ML, 9/28/07: Another thing coming:
>  http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/004971.html
>BZ, 9/28/07: Have another think:
>  http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/004972.html
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list