Archive for the ‘Errors’ Category

Annals of word retrieval: in promiscuous positions

November 4, 2018

(Warning: embedded in this posting is a bit of — just barely euphemized — taboo vocabulary and the image of a hunky guy in his underwear.)

From Sim Aberson on 10/29, from WSVN, channel 7 in Miami FL:

BSO deputies arrest Dania Beach man in child porn case

Dania Beach, Fla. (WSVN) – Deputies have arrested a Dania Beach man on numerous child pornography charges.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested 66-year-old Roger Aiudi on Thursday following a months-long investigation by the agency’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force. Investigators said Aiudi had 13 pornographic images of children and dozens of other images showing children in promiscuous positions.

Well yes, not promiscuous ‘having or characterized by many transient sexual relationships’, but provocative ‘arousing sexual desire or interest, especially deliberately’ (NOAD definitions). This is a very likely sort of word retrieval error, since the words are similar phonologically (sharing the accent pattern WSWW and sharing the initial syllable /prǝ/) and morphologically (both ending in Adj-forming suffixes, –ous vs. –ive) as well as semantically.

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Famous wolf on the Yellow Brick Road

October 31, 2018

In today’s comics feed, the One Big Happy from 10/4, in which Ruthie mondegreens:

(#1)

Yes: the song “We’re Off to See the Wizard”, from the 1939 movie of The Wizard of Oz, with we’re off (mis)heard as Rolf.

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Chic peas and more

October 13, 2018

The fall special at Dan Gordon’s (on Emerson St. in Palo Alto), as it first appeared on the menu, about a month ago:

Summer Stew $16.95
smoked pork / cippolini onions / chic peas / prunes / red rice

(with the very notable spelling chic peas and with the misspelling cippolini for cipollini). But now the ingredients list reads:

smoked pork / cippolini onions / chickpeas / dehydrated plums / red rice

(with the notable dehydrated plums). Actually, all four ingredients have linguistic interest.

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Two word confusion cartoons

October 13, 2018

The One Big Happy in today’s feed (from 9/16) and the Zippy for today: Nat the name (short for Nathaniel) vs. gnat the insect, both /næt/; and Superfund (‘ a US federal government program designed to fund the cleanup of toxic wastes’ (NOAD)) vs. superfun (‘great fun’, with the prefix super– ‘great, large’), with /fʌnd/ vs. /fʌn/, but usually leveled to the latter via final t/d-deletion before a word beginning with a consonant (here, before the word site):

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Briefly noted 9/27/18: a remarkable name

September 27, 2018

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation periodically revises the format for its on-line statements, including after visit summaries to its physicians and labs. As far as I can tell, every such software upgrade arrives with bugs, sometimes spectacular ones; this is, after, the way of software the world over.

So it was with recent after visit summaries, in which my name at the top was given as

Dr. Zwicky M. Zwicky

I have an idea about how this might have come about. Probably not verifable, since it involves decisions by two different people, neither of whom could easily be identified.

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At the eggcorn’s edge

August 15, 2018

Two cartoons from the 11th, passed on to me by Benita Bendon Campbell, both turning on (mis)perceptions and (mis)interpretations:


(#1) Family Circusguest towel / guess towel (cf. brand-new / bran-new)


(#2) Luanncake stand / keg stand (cf. acorn / egg corn)

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Briefly noted: a syntagmatic blending

July 29, 2018

Beth Huizenga, reading the weather report on KQED-FM (in San Francisco) this morning:

morning drog … uh … fog and drizzle

The textbook inadvertent syntagmatic error here would have been the telescoping frizzle (since fog apparently preceded drizzle in the printed report). The suppression of the and is not so surprising, since similar suppressions occur in some of the telescopings Vicki Fromkin collected in the appendix to her Speech Errors as Linguistic Evidence (1973): shrig souffle < shrimp and egg souffle, prodeption of speech < production and perception of speech.

But the ordering is odd. In fact, drog looks like a textbook inadvertent paradigmatic error, a blend of two items competing for the same slot in production. So, an interesting mixed case.

 

 

The ants are my friends?

July 28, 2018

Through friends on Facebook, a 7/30/12 Captain Scratchy cartoon (by Chuck Ingwersen) “The Wiener Dog Is Annoyed”, in which a dachshund and a pug are transfixed in panel 1 by small black dots on the ground between them, from which these sounds are emanating:

🎶Just like me, they long to be … close to you. 🎶

🎶Rainy days and Mondays always get me down. 🎶

🎶We’ve only just begun. 🎶

— upon which, in panel 2, the dachshund growls:

CRAP, WE’VE GOT CARPENTER ANTS.

(To get this, you need to know that carpenter ants are a real thing — not a stretch — and you really need to know about Karen and Richard Carpenter and their songs from 1970-71.)

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Nacho flies are back

July 26, 2018

That’s what I heard in a Taco Bell television commercial on Tuesday the 24th. I visualized insects with tortilla chip wings. Decidedly odd: was Taco Bell being besiged by these nacho flies, and, if so, why were they telling us about it?

Then I realized it must be nacho fries; my confusion stemmed in part from the fact that I’d never heard of nacho fries — I don’t keep up with the fast-food business — and though I know what nachos are, I had no clear idea of what something called nacho fries would be would be like.

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Hybrid referent, portmanteau name

July 24, 2018

On the NPR word game quiz show Says You! broadcast by KQED-FM on Sunday afternoon (the 22nd): a “bluff round” over the word flumpet. One team of panelists is offered three definitions for the word from the other team, in this case (paraphrasing, since I can’t find the podcast of the original):

1: a lard-based dumpling (no doubt suggested by the /ʌmp/ and the /l/ in flumpet and dumpling)

2: a frowsy (or frowzy), loose woman, and by extension flowers that are wilted, no longer fresh (no doubt suggested by a rhyming association of flumpet with strumpet)

3: a musical instrument combining a flugelhorn and a trumpet (a portmanteau of the words flugelhorn and trumpet, which share the letter U in their spelling: FL – U – MPET)

The three panelists on the other team were each given a card; one card had a definition for flumpet from some reputable source, and the other two said BLUFF. These panelists were given some time, during a musical interlude, to make up plausible definitions. Then the first panel had to decide which definition was the right one.

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