Fwd: Eggcorn

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Thu May 24 18:52:37 UTC 2007

i meant to send this to the whole list, but it went only to michael...

Begin forwarded message:

> From: "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at csli.stanford.edu>
> Date: May 24, 2007 7:26:11 AM PDT
> To: wordseditor at worldwidewords.org
> Subject: Re: Eggcorn
> On May 24, 2007, at 1:36 AM, Michael Quinion wrote:
>> A subscriber sent me this message, which he had seen in a store in
>> Plymouth, asking if this was an eggcorn:
>> It certainly reads wrongly to me, but I suppose fire falls into the
>> category of "the arrival of a notable person or thing" ...
> googling on "in the advent of" gets around 100k hits.  some are
> clearly versions of "in the event of"  --
> B.To assume the duties and responsibilities of the Chairperson in
> the advent of the absence of the Chairperson, Co-Chairperson and
> Recording Secretary. ...
> web.utk.edu/~bfsa/aboutbfsa.html
> and some clearly mean 'arrival, appearance', or more generally
> 'beginning', but quite a few could be seen either way, so the
> substitution isn't particularly surprising.
> however, it's not clear that this should count as an eggcorn, since
> it's not clear that people using "in the advent of" see this as an
> improvement in semantic transparency.  (note also that "event" is a
> frequent word, "advent" a much less frequent one, so the
> substitution goes in an unexpected direction.)  i'm inclined to see
> it as a simple confusion of phonologically and semantically similar
> words, like flaunt/flout, militate/mitigate, flounder/founder,
> etc.  (incidentally, it would be nice to have a technical term for
> these confusions.  let me suggest "flounders".)
> i'd expect there to be at least a few occurrences of substitution
> in the other direction, with "event" where "advent" would be
> appropriate.  not easy to search for.
> arnold

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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