Continuation errors

Working on my “Flintstone days” posting this morning, I kept getting hung up on the name Barbapapa (the name of a fictional creature in a children’s book series): I’d start it and then get waylaid into typing Barbarpapa, due to the pull of the names Barbara and Babar. Again and again.

in a Language Log posting of 5/22/08, Mark Liberman posted on such “continuation errors” (to be distinguished from completion errors that result from software doing automatic completion). In continuation errors the impulse to continue with some familiar word comes not from software but from our minds/brains; we often say that the word is “in our fingers”.

Linguists are likely to start typing linguists but go on instead to linguistcs. On Facebook today, Mike Speriosu (a Stanford graduate) reported that for years he had a hard time typing “stands for” without typing “stanford” first. And so on.

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