interstate highway to Cupertino?

Victor aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 21 19:19:49 UTC 2009

Would this make a case for "intestate" as a mere typo (as in "spelling
error because of a missed key stroke"):

 >>Wife and I have been on the _interstate_ on our wing since we got it
(only had it 3 months) but ride the _intestate_ only when other type
roads aren't convienent. [sic]

There is an additional ironic twist in two of the 6 hits for "intestate

 >>_Intestate roads_ in Texas. State-by-state data on the number of
traffic fatalities occurring on rural, _non-Interstate routes_ from 1999
to 2003 ...

 >>Despite the wealth of knowledge available about safe highway design,
many new _Intestate roads_ have built-in death traps.

Note that the first of these also has the interstate/intestate pair,
just like the example above.

And here's a reverse situation, apparently from a phishing email:

 >>I am currently reading a "letter" that has been written by a
Malaysian person apparently and in which an "unexpected inheritance" is

I am not taking this letter seriously but would be curious to understand
it fully. I came accross this sentence and wondered what "interstate"
means here :

I can confirm with certainty that the said investor dies interstate and
no next of kin to his estate has been found or has come forward all
these years.

-> Je peux vous confirmer avec certitude que le dit investisseur est
décédé (sans descendant??) et qu'aucun plus proche parent n'a été trouvé
ou ne s'est manifesté pendant toutes ces années.

It stands to reason that spammers might use a spell-checker (although,
having seen quite a few of these, I wonder why anyone would bother). If
there is a Cupertino effect in this direction, wouldn't it make it
highly unlikely to have one in the opposite direction?


Arnold Zwicky wrote:
> the most likely source of "inteference" and "intecourse" isn't hard to
> find: the "r-dissimilation" in English studied by Nancy Hall and
> mentioned here several times in the past. (as far as i can see, these
> two words aren't in her lists, but they ought to be.) but in
> "interstate", there's no r-trigger for deletion of the r in "inter-".

The American Dialect Society -

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