Follow-ups: t/d-deletion

Following up on my posting on the 14th, “toss salad, fry shrimp, and other t/d ~ ∅”, two complex cases: dark fire tobacco, from Clai Rice’s recent fieldwork, as he reported on ADS-L yesterday; and t/d-deletion as a contributor to eggcorning.

Tobacco time. Clai Rice (English, Univ. of Louisiana at Lafayette) wrote this field note yesterday, in response to my t/d-deletion posting:

Tennessee dark-fired tobacco barn, by Tennessee_Gator on flickr 9/13/06

Doing fieldwork outside Nashville 2 weeks ago, in Robertson County, on the  north Tenn border with Ky, I ran into “dark fire tobacco,” as the locals called it. I asked two people if it was “dark fire” or “dark fired” and neither of them could even hear my distinction. One responded that it was sometimes spelled with a hyphen, the other said, right, “*dark* fire” with
contrastive stress on ‘dark.’ Everyone I heard was clearly omitting the -d, but it is a fixed phrase (or a fix phrase?) — dark fire tobacco — so the phrase “dark fire” might have seemed odd. Researching around I find that the phrase in the ag publications is usually “dark fire-cured tobacco”, contrasting with “air-cured” and “flue-cured”, so the tobacco is dark, not the fire, though the smoke does derive from hardwood, esp oak. The tobacco publications, cigar blogs, like to use “dark-fired tobacco.” There’s a nice KY Farm Bureau memo from this past June that uses “dark, fire-cured tobacco” or “dark tobacco” throughout, but quotes the faculty Extension Specialist saying ” We have made tremendous strides over the past 20 years in reducing NNN levels in dark-fired tobacco
through research….”

I don’t have access to Dictionary of Appalachian or the right volume of DARE to check those sources.

DARE has

dark-fired adj Cf [verb] fire-cure
1940 AmSp 15.134 KY, Fire-cured or dark-fired. Type of [tobacco] leaf cured by smoke and heat from smoldering open fires.

The puzzle here is how to get from dark fire-cured tobacco to dark fired tobacco or dark-fired tobacco (which then gets us to dark fire tobacco or dark-fire tobacco). There’s an entirely reasonable route, which predicts an intermediary fired tobacco ‘fire-cured tobacco’, via a truncation process by which fire-cure is abbreviated to fire (by truncation of the head element), allowing fired to stand for fire-cured. (The parallel is to the many cases of “nouning by truncation” I’ve looked at on this blog (e.g., Mexican ‘Mexican food’, in Let’s eat Mexican tonight).

If this idea is correct, we should find examples of fire ‘fire-cure’ (in something like They fired a lot of leaf  ‘They fire-cured a lot of (tobacco) leaf’) and fired ‘fire-cured’ other than in dark fired (in something like They shipped a hundred pounds of fired leaf ‘They shipped a hundred pounds of fire-cured (tobacco) leaf’). The specialist literature on tobacco growing and the tobacco industry would be the place to look.

Then all that remains is interpreting dark fired tobacco as

[dark fired] [tobacco]

rather than [dark] [fired tobacco]

in which case dark fired can pick up a hyphen in its spelling.

Eggcorn time. From the early days of the Eggcorn Database (ecbd), some entries were tagged as involving “final d/t deletion”. Back on 2/20/10 I assembled the inventory of such entries; the taggings were done by the original posters:

bran new, coal-hearted, landline > LAN line, offended > offened, lost > loss [in: no love lost], mast > mass, win(d)fall, defunct > defunked > defunk, co-opt > co-op, rift > riff, tact > tack, tract > track, holds > holes [in: no holds barred], penchant > pension, short > shore [in: short-term, in short supply], ban together, pact > pack [in: make a pact with the devil], dog-eat-dog > doggy/doggie-dog, [?] mind > mine [in: open-minded, go through one’s mind], desist > decease [in: cease and desist], oft > off [in: off-times, off-repeated, off-quoted], barbed wire > bobwire [regular in some varieties], gold > goal [in: gold standard]

Then another set, of reversals, in which d/t is “restored”: 

midriff > midrift, grow like Topsy > grow like top seed, Sanskrit > sandscript, track > tract, ham-fisted > hand(-)fisted, bus > bust [in: bussing tables, busboy], lowdown > load down [in: give s.o. the lowdown on sth.], in > end [in: from here on in], middlin’ > midland [in: fair to middlin’], spur > spurt [in: spurt of the moment], while > wild [in: worthwhile, worth your while], pass muster > pass mustard, tack > tact [in: take another tack]

I’m especially fond of coal-hearted and goal standard in the first set, fair to midland and pass mustard in the second.

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