eggcorn candidate: "center meters"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Dec 18 16:37:19 UTC 2009

At 9:25 AM -0500 12/18/09, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>At 12/17/2009 11:48 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>Are there any such speakers who could chime in on whether "6 center
>>meters" and "6 centimeters" would be distinguished in normal speech,
>>and if so how?
>Doesn't one need a phrase that makes sense semantically?  I don't
>know what "six center meters" could mean.
It's a relatively opaque measure expression, but my point is that it
would be *less* opaque than centimeter for those who are familiar
with the word "center" (or "centre"; see below) and not the prefix
"centi-".  And if you don't think there are a bunch of such folks,
just page through the 25.7 million hits for "centre meter", many
(although obviously not all, or perhaps even most) of which are
relevant.  The cockroach (< "cucaracha") doesn't really relate to
cocks or [pre-existing] roaches either, but that didn't stop the
reanalysis, nor is "rosemary" connected semantically with roses,
except that they're in the right general semantic domain (animals for
"cock" and "roach", plants/flowers/girl's names for "rose" and
"mary", linear measure terms for "centre/center") so the reanalysis
sort of makes sense.


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