Moot > mute (point) eggcorn redux

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 31 10:21:41 UTC 2009

If "moot" is said with a "y glide" it becomes "mute" which is a different word with a different meaning.  I don't see the point here.

Granted you don't hear the word "moot" much.  But there's a big "moot" in "My cousin Vinny".

Lisa:    So what's your problem?
Gambini:    My problem is, I wanted to win my first case without any help from anybody.
Lisa:    Well, I guess that plan's moot.
Gambini:    Yeah.

This film is an hilarious clash of culture and accents, NYC Italian vs Alabama country folk.

Gambini:    Is it possible the two "yoots"--  (~yuets)
Judge:    Two what? What was that word?
Gambini:    What word?
Judge:    Two what?
Gambini:    What?
Judge:    Did you say yoots?
Gambini:    Yeah, two yoots.
Judge:    What is a yoot?
Gambini:    Excuse me your Honor, two "youths." (~yuethz)

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL7+
see phonetic spelling

> Date: Sun, 30 Aug 2009 13:40:03 -0400
> From: laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
> Subject: Re: Moot> mute (point) eggcorn redux
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Laurence Horn
> Subject: Re: Moot> mute (point) eggcorn redux
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 5:47 PM +0100 8/30/09, Damien Hall wrote:
>>We've discussed the _moot_ (point)> _mute_ (point) eggcorn here before,
>>and it's in the database too. But something I hadn't noticed before was its
>>appearance not merely in print but actually in the speech of someone whose
>>accent makes a difference between _moot_ and _mute_.
>>Accents with glide-deletion might pronounce both words /mu:t/ (though
>>deletion is much less common after labials than after, say, dorsals). In
>>Standard Southern British English, though, there's no glide-deletion of /j/
>>between any consonant and /u/ (so _impute_> /impju:t/, _tube_> /tju:b/,
>>_cube_> /kju:b/, etc). But I've just heard a barrister, a speaker of this
>>dialect, on the TV referring to 'a /mju:t/ point'. He meant what the
>>standard idiom refers to as a _moot point_, but clearly used a glide. Being
>>a lawyer, too, he would have been familiar with the word 'moot', which has
>>various legally-connected uses (some obsolete, but at least one current, in
>>the meaning 'mock trial').
> I was just watching a TV show in which the characters were arguing
> about whether it's a "moot" point or a "mute" point, with the
> phonological distinction clearly made. But what I'm curious about is
> not the shift in the understanding of this particular item (I think
> this one is an eggcorn in that it's likely to arise for those who
> don't have "moot" in their vocabulary at all, essentially the point
> Damien raised in his subsequent message), but in the isogloss(es) to
> which Damien refers above.
> I'm a consistent glide-deleter myself, but only for coronals. Thus,
> I was born in "Noo York" (no, not Noo Yawk), and in the morning my
> grass is covered with [du;], not [dyu:], but I would never conflate
> the "mew" of the cat with the "moo" of a cow, and I'm unaware of any
> speakers who do. Any church I've been in has had "pews" with glides,
> never "poos", and "beauty" and "booty" are not homophones, nor are
> "feud" and "food" with the labiovelar. Similarly with dorsals: the
> letter after p is [kyu:], not [ku:]. An attractive person or thing
> may be [kyut], but not (a) [kut]. Toob (for "tube") si, "koob" (for
> "cube") no.
> And again, I'm unfamiliar with dialects that do things
> differently--not counting, of course, those like Damian's (in the UK
> and elsewhere) that preserve the do/dew or pronounce "Tuesday" with a
> glide. So who is it exactly that deletes the [y] after labials,
> labiovelars, or dorsals?
> LH
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