Possible partial eggcorn: portcullis >> fort colours

Damien Hall djh514 at YORK.AC.UK
Mon Jan 19 11:33:58 UTC 2009

On Jan 18, 2009, at 7:21 AM, Larry and Arnold wrote:

> I'd take the port > fort part of the current reanalysis to be a
> standard eggcornish folk etymology.  There are supposedly 1.8
> *million* g-hits for "fortcullis", although google does ask helpfully
> whether I mean "portcullis".

that's raw g-hits.  when i started searching through them, they got
reduced to 49!  and, as i reported earlier, none of those looked like
good candidates for an eggcorning.  (the huge initial number is
probably just the result of large numbers of references to the
Fortcullis anti-theft system.)


The earlier report that Arnold mentions didn't get through to the list,
though it got through to me. Here it is:


> A three-year-old speaker of Southern English BrE of my acquaintaince
> recently said
> [fO:t k^l at z]
> for 'portcullis'...

i was hoping that "fortcullis" was attested. but all the hits i got
for it were mis-scannings or references to the British firm Fortcullis
and its product, a home-security device.



Damien Hall

University of York
Department of Language and Linguistic Science
York YO10 5DD

Tel. (office) 01904 432665
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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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