Attention Arnold!

Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Thu Dec 2 22:06:22 UTC 2004

On Dec 2, 2004, at 4:30 PM, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Attention Arnold!
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> --------
> On Dec 2, 2004, at 11:52 AM, Jesse Sheidlower wrote:
>> On Thu, Dec 02, 2004 at 10:04:11AM -0800, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>>> On Nov 30, 2004, at 11:34 AM, Alice Faber wrote:
>>>> Spotted on usenet:
>>>> "the same-oh-same-oh does get really, really boring!"
>>> into my files it goes...
>>> i'm always a bit trepidatious about posting a new assortment of
>>> eggcorns, because new ones then start streaming in.  like, i never
>>> catch up!
>> You know, when Alice first posted this, I thought, "Why does
>> she think it's of interest to Arnold?"
>> Now I realize you guys think it's an eggcorn.
>> It probably is an eggcorn, if you just saw this on Usenet.
>> But--and as we discussed here at some point in a thread I
>> now can't find--there's a good chance that "same-oh, same-oh"
>> is in fact the _origin_ of "same-old same-old", the former
>> first appearing as pidgin in military use in East Asia, the
>> latter being a folk-etymology.
>> If this is true, and if the Usenet example is a re-coinage,
>> then it would be in the unusual position of being a
>> folk-etymology that happens to be the real etymology. The
>> mind boggles.
> cool.
> there's no reason why these things couldn't cycle around.  i mean, look
> at "often".  it had a /t/, then it lost it (by regular phonological
> change), then (for lots of people) it got it back (from the
> orthography).
> the only real question about same-o-same-o (as a version of
> same-old-same-old) is whether the reanalysis is motivated by greater
> semantic transparency; this would require some model for X-o X-o that
> "makes sense".
> on reflection, i suspect that this is unlikely.  instead, it's probably
> just a phonological reanalysis, with the casual-speech version /o/ of
> /old/ (final t/d deletion, l-vocalization) understood as the lexical
> version.  (if same-o-same-o really was the original, then
> same-old-same-old was the result of *undoing* these presumed processes.
> a kind of hypercorrection, like "kitching" and "chicking" for "kitchen"
> and "chicken", respectively.)
> arnold

Not to mention "childring," very common amongst the colored. My
grandfather used it. Cf., e.g. the first verse of the song, "I wish It
Would Rain," by the Temptations, for a more recent example of this


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