Archive for the ‘Errors’ Category

Chart pie

November 14, 2019

The Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo from the 9th:


(#1) If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page. Meanwhile, the pie segments run through the flavors in the order named, clockwise from the pumpkin segment at the top.

Transpositional wordplay of an especially simple sort, involving a two-word expression, with X Y ~ Y X — in this case taking off from a conventional N + N compound, the metaphorical  pie chart ‘chart resembling a pie’, and reversing the parts to yield the novel, and entertaining, (also metaphorical) compound chart pie ‘pie resembling a chart’.

The model expression pie chart refers to an object familiar in our culture, while the play expression chart pie refers to something novel and surprising: a pie made up of segments drawn from various different pies. Not a combination or mixed pie, like the familiar strawberry rhurbarb pie — a kind of hybrid pie — but instead a composite (‘made up of various parts or elements’ (NOAD) or chimerical pie, with distinct parts taken from different pies. (On chimeras, see my 11/13 posting “The chimera of Faneuil Hall”.)

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Comedic NomConjObj

November 12, 2019

Tell it to Kim. Tell it to me. Tell it to Kim and I.

The new paradigm for case-marking of pronouns, including the nominative conjoined object (NomConjObj) in to Kim and I — now judged to be the correct form by a large population of young, educated American speakers, as against the judgments of older speakers, who use instead accusative conjoined objects (AccConjObj), as in to Kim and me.

Entertainingly, the new paradigm is evidenced in tv comedies in which grammatically fastidious characters freely use NomConjObj and even admonish those who use AccConjObj.

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Annals of error: how dig he deeps it

September 20, 2019

From an MSNBC reporter this morning, with reference to a metaphorical hole:

… wait to see how dig he deeps it … how deep he digs it

The sort of inadvertent error that illustrates just how much advance planning goes on in speech production: constructions are blocked out, with inflectional trappings in place; prospective lexical items — of appropriate syntactic category and semantics, with at least some phonological properties — are entertained to fill the slots in these constructions. But, still, a lot can go wrong.

(Also note that the speaker caught the (glaring) error and corrected it himself. As is customary with big errors like this one.)

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Annals of error: water canons

September 1, 2019

In recent tweets from Hong Kong about protests and the governments attempts to put them down, New York Times columnist Nick Kristof repeatedly writes water canon instead of water cannon (both with /kǽnǝn/) — not an uncommon sort of spelling error, but somewhat surprising from an experienced journalist, and one that introduces an unintended misinterpretation, since it happens that CANON is the spelling of an English word (a number of different English words, in fact) distinct from CANNON. And that opens things up for little jokes about what a water canon might be. On Facebook I was responsible for one such joke, a bit of musical foolishness:

The reference is of course to the round “By the Waters of Babylon”. Though I doubt it’s effective against throngs of protesters.

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Joke malaprops

July 10, 2019

The 6/13 One Big Happy, in my comics feed yesterday:

Philatelist as a (classical) malapropism (CM) for fatalist — an error that might on some occasion have occurred in actual speech (though I have no occurrences in my files), but which functions here entirely as a joke.

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Count of Denmark

July 8, 2019

The One Big Happy cartoon I posted about this morning, in “Nudie Tales”, had Ruthie mishearing new details as nudie tales. That reminded Gadi Niram of this Mexican cartoon (from the webcomic La ViñetaThe Vignette‘), turning on a similar mishearing:


(#1) con D de Dinamarca ‘with the D /de/ of Dinamarca (Denmark), with D as in Denmark’ misheard as Conde de Dinamarca ‘Count of Denmark’ (Denmark does have a number of counts): “Oh, sorry, I didn’t recognize you, Tavid, Count of Denmark”

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Nudie tales

July 8, 2019

The One Big Happy from 6/11 (in my comics feed today), in which Ruthie mishears a stock expression from tv news reporting:


Said: new details. Heard: nudie tales.

The stock expression is new details (sometimes more details, occasionally just details), frequently at 11 (because 11 p.m. is the conventional time for the late evening news in the US), but other times are of course possible (e.g. at 6), as are continuations like soon, later, and coming.

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Over the edge with formulaic language

June 22, 2019

It looks simple at the start, but then (as Mark Liberman explained earlier today on Language Log, in “[REDACTED]’s “cocked and loaded”: a tangled history”), it gets intriguingly convoluted.

It starts with Iran shooting down an American drone, upon which Helmet Grabpussy first ordered a military strike on Iran and then called it back. Grabpussy tweeted:

(#1)

And with “cocked & loaded”, we were off into the worlds of technical terminology, formulaic expressions, and speech errors — and then, thanks to Bill Maher, gay porn videos.

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Annals of misreading: CEAUSESCU

June 4, 2019

Yesterday on Facebook, current political events brought me to a name from the past:

Arnold Zwicky: Topics suddenly resurrected from the past: the Ceausescus. Because of the solid diplomacy accorded to them by the British royal family when the Romanians came on a state visit. If them, then anyone.

Bert Vaux: Interestingly I first read that as “the Caucasus”…

Dennis Preston: And I read “caduceus.”

John Lawler: It took me quite a while to resurrect čaušɛsku.

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News for penguins: the misread petrel

May 15, 2019

Passed along on Facebook recently, a BBC One clip from 12/13/18, with this header:

(#1)

I read the header before I looked down at the scene. And what I read was:

Emperor penguin chicks take on a giant pretzel

I found this mightily puzzling. The Giant Pretzels of the Antarctic? Then I saw the petrel.

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