Retrieval error?

From the October 16 issue of the Stanford Linguistics Department’s newsletter The Sesquipedalian:

… and more than a dozen of the participants are expected to join the Linguistics Happy Hour at 4 pm  after the workshop adjoins at 3.

The writer was probably aiming for adjourn but (in a Fay/Cutler malapropism moment) retrieved the phonologically similar adjoin instead. Or maybe it’s a classical malapropism, in which the writer had stored adjoin where most people have adjourn. (It’s often hard to distinguish the two phenomena in particular cases. But I can ask the Sesqui about the writer’s intentions.)

Not surprisingly, it’s not in Brians’s Common Errors or on the Eggcorn Database. You can find a few more examples on the web, for instance:

It is anticipated that the Gunnar Myrdal Lecture will be held on Wednesday, 5 March, at 4.30 in the afternoon.  The formal meeting of the Commission will adjoin at 4:30 p.m. with the lecture to be held in the same meeting room. (link)

The Symposium will commence with a continental breakfast at 8 am and will adjoin at noon. (link)

It seems to be an error of the educated, in relatively elevated contexts.

6 Responses to “Retrieval error?”

  1. David W Says:

    Maybe the writer had an old-fashioned New York accent 🙂

  2. theophylact Says:

    As in, “Shall we adjoin to the adjourning room?”

  3. David U Says:

    Cupertino effect, perhaps? Typed in something like ‘adjorns’ and miscorrected?

  4. arnoldzwicky Says:

    To David U: my MS spellchecker offers, for ADJORNS, in order: ADJOURNS, ADORNS, and ADJOINS. So a Cupertino is remotely possible, but not very likely. And I’m pretty sure that the Sesqui writers don’t use spellchecking.

  5. Richard F Says:

    We copied the note from an e-mail from John Rickford, if that offers any insight.
    Good luck!

  6. arnoldzwicky Says:

    Following up on Richard F: John Rickford now confirms that it was a “typo”, that is (in this case) a word-retrieval error (or a “completion” error, resulting from John’s having typed ADJO… and following with a different continuation than the one intended).

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