[Ads-l] bobble/bauble

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 3 12:22:52 EDT 2017


Now on Language Log (quoting Larry's observations).

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=34806

On Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 10:47 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
wrote:

> > On Oct 3, 2017, at 10:03 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> >
> > On Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 9:04 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> > wrote:
> >
> >>> On Oct 3, 2017, at 1:17 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> I suppose the "cot"/"caught" merger is to blame for the appearance of
> >>> "bauble" here (three times!)...
> >>>
> >>> ---
> >>> https://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/the-error-
> >> in-baseball-and-the-moral-dimension-to-american-life
> >>> In practice, “ordinary effort” describes, as Bill James wrote, what
> >> should
> >>> have happened. What should have happened in a piece of fielding can
> have
> >>> nothing to do with the play of the fielder. Utter offered me a case:
> The
> >>> runner hits the ball into the outfield, the fielder baubles the ball,
> and
> >>> the runner advances to second. Is that an error? It depends. “What we
> >> would
> >>> have to look at is—is it a single or is it a double? Or is it a single
> >> and
> >>> advance on an error or on the throw?” The way that the scorer
> determines
> >>> whether that bauble is an error or not has less to do with the action
> of
> >>> the fielder than with the action of the runner. “Was the runner going
> all
> >>> the time? Did he never think about stopping at first? Or was he running
> >> and
> >>> looking at the play and then slowed down a little bit and then took off
> >>> when he saw the little bauble?” If he paused, noticed the misplay, and
> >> ran
> >>> to second, “That becomes the error.”
> >>> —
> >>>
> >> Nice.  I’m sure that’s what it is—in our colleague’s terms,
> “awe”-dropping
> >> strikes again.  And here I thought a bauble becomes an error only when
> you
> >> get cold feet before the wedding and seek to become disengaged.  Tough
> to
> >> sort out those diamond miscues.
> >>
> >
> > The "baubles" have now been changed to "bobbles" by an unmerged editor.
> >
> > —bgz
>
> Very sad.  I was really attached to the diamond miscue motif.  I was
> wondering if you get shifts in the other direction, and searching “fancy
> bobble” pulls up a couple, including one from _On the Wings of a Dove_, a
> novel not written by Henry James:
>
> “Yes, son, three dollars is a lot of money but your Ma is worth every
> penny of it. Some day I hope you will find yourself a girl to love as much
> as I love your ma. When you do you likely will find yourself willing to
> spend the last penny you have in your pocket to buy her a fancy bobble just
> like I’m gonna do now”.
> https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1504344235
>
> “expensive bobble” fetches a plethora of expensive bobble-head dolls.
>

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