Archive for the ‘Errors’ Category

Briefly: a catamitic misreading

July 2, 2015

Another “out of the corner of the eye” misreading, from the front page of the NYT yesterday (July 1st). What I thought I saw was the teaser head

A Love Tested by Catamites

As I tried to imagine how the story went, I focused more carefully on the page, and saw the head

A Love Tested by Calamities

And then I wondered about the history of catamite.


Two for Thursday

June 25, 2015

In this morning’s crop of cartoons, a One Big Happy and a Bizarro:




Briefly: A misreading

June 23, 2015

Seen (in the NYT) out of the corner of my eye this morning:

The Iron
Dean’s Fatal

When I gave it my full attention, I saw that the head was actually:

The Iran
Deal’s Fatal

Later it occurred to me that my own mishearings were also mostly collected in contexts of less than full attention, as in overhearings in public settings while I was engaged in conversation myself.

When I focused my attention

Briefly: cutnpaste

June 18, 2015

In the NYT this morning, in a piece by Katrin Bennhold, “A Young Man’s Path to ISIS Suicide Attack”, the following in my print edition:

Mr. Asmal left his family home over the Easter holidays, just a few weeks before of his final school exams …

Ok, a combo of before and shy or short of, but such combos can arise in many ways. What happened here? This one looked like a cutnpaste error, and so it turned out to be.


Two linguistic comics

June 17, 2015

In my e-mail this morning, two linguistic comics: a One Big Happy and a Mother Goose and Grimm:





June 8, 2015

In my “Mishearings” posting yesteday, I quoted Oliver Sacks:

I carefully record these in a little red notebook labeled “PARACUSES” — aberrations in hearing, especially mishearings.

Readers on Facebook were unable to find a reference on the term paracuses and entertained the possibility that Sacks had just made it up. As it turns out, no, or at least not entirely. The beginning of understanding is that the term is plural; it’s Sacks’s learnèd plural of the Greek-derived technical term paracusis. And that we can find in dictionaries.



June 7, 2015

Oliver Sacks, in an opinion column “Mishearings” in today’s NYT:

A few weeks ago, when I heard my assistant Kate say to me, “I am going to choir practice,” I was surprised. I have never, in the 30 years we have worked together, heard her express the slightest interest in singing. But I thought, who knows? Perhaps this is a part of herself she has kept quiet about; perhaps it is a new interest; perhaps her son is in a choir; perhaps .…

I was fertile with hypotheses, but I did not consider for a moment that I had misheard her. It was only on her return that I found she had been to the chiropractor.

… As my deafness increases, I am more and more prone to mishearing what people say, though this is quite unpredictable; it may happen 20 times, or not at all, in the course of a day.

(a familiar topic on this blog, though usually without the involvement of deafness).


Ruthie vs. abbreviated French

June 5, 2015

Today’s One Big Happy:

Ruthie’s grandfather should have realized that he was getting into dangerous territory by using the abbreviated name /le mɪz/ for the musical Les Misérables. Ruthie might know about the musical, but she’s unlkely to have come across the abbreviated name for it, so she parses the abbreviation as /lem ɪz/ which could represent lame as, and she wants her grandfather to finish his sentence.

Maiden near heroine epidemic

June 5, 2015

Passed on by Michael Palmer, this front page (of the Observer News Enterprise in Newton NC) posted by Michael Weinheimer on the Errorist Movement site:

Michael Pamer commented wryly:

I, for one, welcome an epidemic of heroines: one can never have too many heroines (or heroes, for that matter). I do feel, however, that it is no business of the public’s whether the person celebrating the adopt-a-cop program is a maiden or otherwise

This is not the only news story reporting the spread of heroin use, especially in rural places, as a heroine epidemic (and there’s a good reason for the spelling error). Maiden, however, is a place name.


Ruthie and large-scale formulas

May 30, 2015

Yet another cartoon for this Saturday: a One Big Happy:

Ruthie tackles a large-scale formula here — one that has no words rare in her experience, but they’re assembled in a way that makes no sense to her, so she mentally makes large-scale adjustments.


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