Archive for the ‘Errors’ Category

proofreading

July 14, 2021

🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷 The One Big Happy strip from 5/28:

We all, from time to time, come across a word we haven’t experienced before (or didn’t register having experienced it), and just guess, often tacitly, at its approximate meaning as the world goes on around us. Little kids, having had much less linguistic experience, do this all the time; they pretty much have to.

To this end, they use similarities to words or parts of words they do know, and Ruthie is an especially analytic kid, keen on finding word-parts in unfamiliar material — plenty of examples in earlier OBH postings on this blog. In this case, the word is in fact straightforwardly analyzable into two familiar parts, and Ruthie gets that.

Oh, but what are those parts? Phonologically /pruf/ (a N spelled proof) and /rid/ (a BSE-form V spelled read).  No problem with the second, but there are several Ns proof; the compound proofread is an idiom with one of those Ns in it, but not the one that Ruthie detects.

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tenure, tenor, tenner

June 15, 2021

The One Big Happy cartoon from 5/21, in which the word tenor (which is apparently unfamiliar to Ruthie) leads Ruthie to a word with a similar pronunciation, whose meaning she knows (at least approximately) — tenure:


(#1) I got tenure at Ohio State in 1970, but the singing boyfriend didn’t come along until years later

That’s an error taking us from tenor to tenure. Meanwhile, on the comedy stage, a pun takes us from tenner to tenor.

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The bristly brute

February 24, 2021

On Reddit on 2/22, posted by u/Tom7454:

“On the anniversary of Arthur Schopenhauer’s birth, David Bather Woods, a Schopenhauer expert at the University of Warwick, recommends five books on Schopenhauser.”

The typo was quoted on Facebook on 2/22  by Wendy Thrash, who explained the intervention of Schopenhauser:

“Because nobody wants to read about Schopenhauer.”

The pointer is to Five Books, a site with book recommendations from authorities; each recommendation is for five books on a specific subject, in this case David Bather Woods on Arthur Schopenhauer:

(#1)

Which inspired me to light verse:

Schopenhauser
Was a schnauzer
A bristly brute that
Played the flute

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The mystery scribble

September 19, 2020

I wrote about this on Facebook yesterday, but now (at Ellen Kaisse’s urging) I’ve managed to get an image of the mystery scribble to preserve in my WordPress archives.

The set-up: I sometimes jot down stuff from dreams during the night, usually just a word or two, but occasionally something longer. (Not infrequently this is pointless; because of my disabled right hand, I often can’t read my own handwriting.) A message from the middle of last night appears to say:

circuses engines — need recovery from moon craters

I am baffled. Don’t know whether that’s because I’m reading the message wrong, or whether the idea is just loony. (I also sometimes get hot inspirations about linguistics in my dreams, and these always turn out to be incoherent or stupid. No benzene rings for me. More detail below.)

Later: well, maybe “churches engines”; I reject “carcuses engines” (carcasses engines?), but none of the possibilities make any sense.

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The horse on Seventh Avenue

August 18, 2020

A cartoon posted on Facebook by Stephen Zunes, who might or might not be its artist (hat tip to David Kathman):

Ah, a mishearing, leading to this excellent phonologically minimal mondegreen.

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Zippy philaconfusion

August 9, 2020

(There will be a brief dip into a mansex-steamy Tom of Finland drawing, which might offend some readers.)

Today’s Zippy, in which philandering and philately are confounded:

(#1)

Word confusions are very common; sometimes they are momentary failures to retrieve the intended word; sometimes they are misapprehensions about the target. Zerbina’s error is apparently of the first type, but she nevertheless has a complaint about Zippy’s attentions to her, though the cause isn’t philandering but philately.

The two words share an etymological component, the phil(a)- (originally ‘love’) part, seen also in philosophy, philodendron, pedophilia, Philadelphia, and much more. But this is scarcely obvious to modern speakers of English.

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Thighland

August 8, 2020

(Racy talk and joking about men’s bodies, so probably not to everyone’s taste.)

The background story is an error committed by the Imperator Grabpussy in reading from his text recently, with /θaj/ for /taj/ ‘Thai’, thereby introducing us all to the wonders of Thighland. (Details below.) Wags seized on the error for jokes, and on Facebook Tim Evanson offered photos of the King of Thighland, showing his massive muscular thighs and focusing our attention on the crotch they surround:


(#1) Thigh Guy: Kevin Cesar Portillo, who is all-around massive (he’s 6′5″), a former college basketball player at Miami-Dade CC, Mississippi Valley State, and Ave Maria Univ., now working as a male model (projecting smouldering sexiness) and fitness consultamt

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Chaka Khan and post-Freudian psychoanalytic thought

July 31, 2020

Margalit Fox on Facebook on the 29th:

Time to get my hearing checked. This evening’s dialogue:

Husband: “Jacques Lacan is the thinker who merged post-Freudian psychoanalytic thought with Structuralism.”

Me: “Chaka Khan merged post-Freudian psychoanalytic thought with Structuralism?? …”

Jacques Lacan / Chaka Khan — some phonological similarity (same accentual pattern, shared medial /k/ and final /n/, initial /ǰ/ vs. /č/, differing only in voicing, vowels similar but not calculable here because of dialect differences in their quality), but then there’s /l/ vs. /k/), but largely the connection is through their being two relatively exotic proper names of cultural significance.

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The toroids of York

May 19, 2020

Two recent Zippy strips on Maple Donuts in York PA:


(#1) From 5/11; note the sign “Drive Thru / God Bless / America”; Maple Donuts has 4 locations in the York PA area, and it’s not clear which one appears in any particular Zippy strip, or whether Bill Griffith has created cartoon amalgams of them; and note the title “Covfefe Break”


(#2) From 5/15, specifically on the noun toroid ‘geometric figure resembling a torus’

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The predictable blend error

March 24, 2020

It was bound to happen: the parts of

COVID-19 and coronavirus

were going to get mixed, to yield

CORVID-19

And, yes, then we see ravens, ravens of death.

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