"cooperate" for "corporate"

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Sun Apr 26 17:55:21 UTC 2009

Ann Burlingham writes:

don't ask why i'm reading christian (by which they seem to mean born-
again protestant) bloggers these days, just look at this paragraph
from a comment on one:

I guess what I’m getting at here is (and here’s the big can of worms)
that American churches have become cooperate. Churches, whether any of
us want to admit it or not, are cooperate, even down to the suits and
ties. In the cooperate world, degrees get jobs. It’s the same in the
church. Bible colleges must exist to fulfill the road the churches
quit fulfilling generations ago. When the church went cooperate (which
I will argue really started happening in the 90’s, but that’s another
discussion), a “Timothy” could not get a job without a Bible College
degree. Thus, people go to Bible college for 2 reasons: learn the
Bible, and to get a job.

i guess not really a typo, as it's a consistent misspelling. i cannot
read it without giggling.

[from http://aaronsaufley.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/bible-college-or-church/


there are more:

People think he was just so deep and didn't want his music to become
cooperate trash. OHHHHHH POOR KURT!!!

Duplicity is a thrilling crime drama about two former spies with a
shared steamy past who have now become cooperate operatives.

It has become over run with brats and the site has become cooperate
just like disney  ...

there are lots more from writers who are obviously not native speakers.

if you do a google search on {"become cooperate"}, google asks if you
mean "become corporate".

i wondered at first if the original example was from an r-less speaker
(and it might have been), but now i see that the spelling almost
surely originates (for r-ful speakers) in "r-dissimilation" (dropping
one [r] in words with more than one -- usually the first one) -- a
topic we talked about here not too long ago, in particular in
connection with its application in "surprise" and
"infrastructure" (and with reference to a paper by Nancy Hall on the
subject).  so "corporate" loses its its first [r], and the question is
how to spell the result. "coporate" and "coperate" are not existing
spellings, but the second is very close to the existing
"cooperate" (which of course has a pronunciation different in a number
of respects from "corporate").

"corporate" is not on Hall's lists of examples, but "corporation" and
"incorporate" (both with deletion in a stressed syllable) are.


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

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