Phonological analogy

Today’s One Big Happy has Ruthie coping with the word landlubber:

Ruthie takes her grandfather to be saying that he’s a land lover; landlubber is a relatively rare word, certainly rare in the experience of most children.

So then she has to deal with her grandfather’s apparent /b/ in lubber for /v/ in lover — and by analogy she concludes that his version of leave /liv/ would be leabe /lib/.

We can’t be sure that this sort of error has occurred in the speech of some actual child, but in this case I’m hoping that it has, because it’s so cool.

A note on landlubber. OED2 has lubber in the sense ‘a big, clumsy, stupid fellow; esp. one who lives in idleness; a lout’ from the 14th century on, with a specialization in the 16th century to ‘a sailor’s term for a clumsy seaman, an unseamanlike fellow’. And so to landlubber.

One Response to “Phonological analogy”

  1. rjp Says:

    Dog people seem to use “lub” for “love” when speaking (at least on Facebook) in their dog’s voice.

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