bizarre typos

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Nov 25 16:05:02 UTC 2009

I have a sense that some of my typos are frequency-related also -- I
type, or start to type, a more common word than the desired
word.  But in the case of Victor's example, is there another possible
explanation -- paralleling by anticipating the parallel word?  That
is, knowing that t-h-i-N is to come, one types that for the first
word instead of t-h-i-C?


At 11/25/2009 06:14 AM, Geoff Nathan wrote:
>Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
>Without wanting to start a theoretical linguistics war I should
>point out that theories going under the general heading of
>'usage-based' argue that all language is acquired, stored and
>produced in exactly the way Victor suggests, which accounts for a
>number of odd paths that language change has taken, among other
>things.  Consult works by Mike Tomasello and Ron Langacker, for example:
>Tomasello, M. (2003). Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory
>of Language Acquisition. Harvard University Press.
>Ron Langacker 2008. Cognitive Grammar: A Basic Introduction. New
>York: Oxford University Press.
>I don't agree with the whole theory, but your description of how
>associations interfere with what we 'know' certainly has a ring of
>truth to it.  Their seems no way around it.
>Geoffrey S. Nathan
>Faculty Liaison, C&IT
>and Associate Professor, Linguistics Program
>+1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)
>+1 (313) 577-8621 (English/Linguistics)
>----- "victor steinbok" <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> > From: "victor steinbok" <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> > Sent: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 12:49:20 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
> > Subject: bizarre typos
> >
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       victor steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> > Subject:      bizarre typos
> >
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Through a friend's post on Facebook (actually, another friend's
> > comment on a post), I picked up the combination "through think and
> > thin". Given the authors penchant for typos, I had assumed it to be a
> > simple typo. But it also bugged me enough to do a search for the
> > phrase--it got 18K raw hits. While a handful of hits were incidental
> > (e.g., including "..., I think, and thin ..."), the majority do look
> > like "You're suppose to support your side through think and thin."
> > Another handful (quite literally--about half-dozen) of hits are
> > references to the lyrics of a particular song that includes the
> > phrase
> > as a play on words. But that hardly accounts for 18000 hits.
> >
> > Whatever one may think, I would not argue that this either a 1)
> > eggcorn or 2) cupertino effect. Rather, it belongs to a different
> > class of errors that creep up on us while we type *without* automatic
> > correction. It is a classic word substitution based on frequency--a
> > sort of "chunking" that makes us type a word without much thought,
> > only to realize later that the word was completely irrelevant, even
> > though it shares a few initial literals with the desired gloss. I
> > catch myself doing this kind of "automatic pilot" typing with some
> > non-trivial frequency (and may be responsible for a substantial
> > fraction of the instances of the common word choice errors, such as
> > their/there). Your mileage may vary, of course--just because I don't
> > think it has a plausible eggcornish derivation or the cupertino
> > selection might be too complicated does not mean that everyone has to
> > agree with me. But I thought it was worth mentioning at least once.
> > Next time you are typing and catch yourself slipping in an incorrect
> > word "on automatic pilot" you'll know what I am trying to say here.
> >
> > VS-)
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list