eggcorn "cudboard"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Aug 12 01:16:21 UTC 2009

I do use "clapboard" as another example of loss of transparency; at
least in New England it usually gets the "clabberd" pronunciation,
but it's even harder to analyze that as "clap" (from the Dutch) +
"board".  On the other hand, when you think about it, the "board"
part is a lot *more* transparent semantically here than with
"cupboard", so it's not quite as good an example of loss of
transparency in sound paralleling that in meaning, plus as you say a
lot of the kids don't know from clapboard but they all have some
familiarity with cupboards (and clipboards).


At 6:59 PM -0400 8/11/09, Alison Murie wrote:
>On Aug 11, 2009, at 2:30 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>>Subject:      Re: Eggcorn: "cudboard"
>>At 10:48 AM -0700 8/11/09, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
>>>On Aug 11, 2009, at 8:30 AM, Doug Harris wrote:
>>>>Google reports 3000+ hits, but many of those are not cudboard
>>>>but CUD Board, sometimes referring to the Canadian University
>>>>of Dubai (of all things!).
>>>i don't get anywhere near that number of hits, but there certainly
>>>some out there.
>>>but there a great many more hits for the ear-spelling "cuboard",
>>>and a
>>>fair number for the ear-spelling "cubboard".
>>also a bunch for "cubbard" and for "cubberd", spellings I've used in
>>class when talking about loss of transparency with respect to this
>>word (vs. "clipboard")
>>>i'm having trouble seeing "cudboard" as an actual eggcorn (what could
>>>cuds have to do with cupboards?).  maybe it's a demi-eggcorn: the
>>>writer realized that a consonant letter was needed to condition the
>>>lax vowel in the first syllable, and then cast about for existing
>>>syllable words with that vowel; "cub" would be the obvious choice,
>>>"cud" is also possible (and [db] can be simplified to [b]).  the
>>>choice of "cub" or "cud" doesn't contribute any semantics, but at
>>>least the spelling has recognizable parts.
>Then there is "clapboard," which some people pronounce as spelled, but
>most of us old farts, at least, pronounce "clabb at rd."
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