Archive for the ‘Errors’ Category

grill(e)

July 11, 2018

Two items from early in June. First, the Zippy strip from June 2nd, a hymn to the 1957 Nash Metropolitan (a genuinely cute car, unlike current models, with their angry grilles):

(#1)

Then, following a brief June 1st Facebook posting by grizzled copyeditor John McIntyre (of the Baltimore Sun) —

Yesterday: “pallet” for “palette.” Today: “palate” for “palette.”

— this complaint from UK copyeditor LS:

I’ve done a series of seven novels for an author [AZ: call him Auth] who can’t keep the differen[ce] between grille and grill in his head. And he uses it several times per story. And yes, I’ve told him – and it’s in every single word list I send him. I guess we all have a blind spot. Or maybe he’s doing it on purpose now, to wind me up!

LS’s report is characteristic of everyday reports about the way others use language: people describe usage in vague, abstract generalizations (“Sandy gets words mixed up”); they’re inclined to treat usages via their import for them (“Sandy insulted me”); and they are inclined to talk about what others can’t do rather than what they actually do (“Sandy can’t pronounce r”) . From such reports, we can’t tell what Sandy says, in what circumstances. We don’t know what Auth writes in what circumstances, beyond that it has something to do with the spellings grill and grille. John McIntyre’s report, in contrast, is quite clear; we might go on to investigate why one of his authors wrote pallet where palette would be standard, and another wrote palate where palette would be standard, but at least we have some facts to go on.

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An old mishearing

June 17, 2018

For almost 33 years now, I’ve been mishearing the lyrics to the theme song “Thank You For Being a Friend” for the American sitcom The Golden Girls (which debuted in September 1985 and continued through 1992). Just one line:

And the card attached would say

which I hear, every time (including just now, as I watch re-runs of the show), as

And the heart attack would say

The phonological relationships are close, but of course heart attack makes no sense at all in the context. Yet the illusion perseveres. Even when I know it’s about to come up again, I have to struggle not to hear heart attack.

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A classic word confusion

June 12, 2018

On the 9th, from reader Timothy Young, this screen shot from the Los Angeles Times:


(#1) The original, with the verb enervated

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A chiastic bird

June 1, 2018

It’s been a while since I posted chiastic (transpositional, Spooneristic) wordplay, so here’s a Bizarro from 12/16/08:

  (#1)

The title To Kill a Mockingbird  –> To Mock a Killingbird by transposition (exchange, reversal), of kill and mock (the sort of exchange seen in Spoonerisms as inadvertent errors). Formally  of interest because the process “goes into” a compound word, to affect one of its parts (mocking), and also into an affixed word, to affect its base (mock). On the conceptual side, this particular kind of wordplay is shallow, thin, since only one of the two paired situations is represented in the cartoon: having served its purpose as base for transposition, the book To Kill a Mockingbird plays no further role in the proceedings.

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A delicious Jew

May 31, 2018

A delicious Jew that would improve your dog’s joint health through glucosamine. Well, that’s what I heard, and it certainly made me sit up and take notice. So much so that I didn’t catch the name of the product being advertised on tv. There are a lot of possibilities; it might have been this one:

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Today’s misreading: life behind piano bars

May 24, 2018

The header on the e-mail appeared to promise:

Prison Gay Nite Every Friday in San Mateo – Piano Bar this week

A piano bar behind bars, gayfolk mingle with the incarcerated at the San Mateo Jail. Not really my thing, but I know people it might appeal to. And San Mateo is about 16 miles from where I live, so it would take some effort.

The message appeared in really tiny type on my computer screen, and its actual first word was entirely unpredictable in context, so it’s not entirely a surprise that I misread it. An announcement for the actual event [called Prism]:

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A Brokavian crash blossom

May 2, 2018

… committed by The Onion recently (hat tip to Jerry Zee):

(#1)

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Faucet handles

April 19, 2018

From Joe Transue on Facebook this morning, this piece of hardware from the Pfister company:

(#1) Joe: WTV?

In three languages, a head noun meaning ‘handle’ with the modifier Verve (prenominal in English, postnominal in French and Spanish): Verve handle, poignée Verve, manija Verve.

One reader took Verve to be the noun verve: ‘vigor and spirit or enthusiasm’ (NOAD) and played with that:

Rarely do you see such lively, talented, energetic & animated handles. You are lucky to have found one. Makes lavatory stops much more enjoyable!

But Joe took Verve to be an error, and appealed to me as an authority on errors in speech and writing:

Old post… But Arnold Zwicky do you have any idea what is up with this? I think this is a seriously strange error. At first I thought it might be some sort of trade name for the part, but I’m about 99% sure they mean VALVE.

But no. As you might have expected from the form Verve in three different languages, not an error — but the name of a type of faucet handle. From the wonderful world of hardware terminology.

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this guy

March 25, 2018

Today’s One Big Happy, with a now-classic mishearing:

(#1) the sky’s heard as this guy’s

In my 5/30/12 posting “Annals of mishearing”, discussion of the sky misheard as this guy, on several occasions.

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A hopeful misreading

March 24, 2018

Glanced at yesterday’s NYT when it arrived at 6 a.m., and read the headline for the top story:

[REDACTED] Chooses Hawke
For 3rd Security Adviser
As Shake-Up Continues

Ooh, I thought, a bold appointment: accomplished actor, director, and writer Ethan Hawke, a sturdy Democrat, feminist, and activist for gay rights.

Then I looked carefully at the headline and saw that it said Hawk (referring to a hawk, someone who supports a warlike policy in foreign affairs). not Hawke (referring to Ethan Hawke).  The appointment was of überhawk John Bolton.

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