Thursday, April 12, 2007

Egg Corns

Yesterday we took my son shopping for new clothes as his growth is like a lightening rod's at the moment. Nothing fits him, all his trousers are flying at half mast. He is now taller than his Dad, who is not taking this reversal very well!

It was fun to see him choosing things, and we found a great jacket, which has a bit of a military twist which looks really good on his skinny frame.

Tuesday night I was at Poetry School, and a poem I'd written about a plantation of trees was really well received, which pleased me a lot, especially as one guy, who has just come runner up in a major competition here, said it needed no revision whatsoever, and that he could tell I'd put a lot of work in on it. It was really encouraging, as I always turn up half expecting to be shown the door!

But I was asked about a phrase I'd put in it, which was stalk-still, which I meant as a deliberate play on stock-still. People were interested in knowing if I had actually meant to do it. And I had, because I'd caught a programme on the BBC that relates to this site on eggcorns. Here's a wee quote from the site that explains the term more fully:

"In September 2003, Mark Liberman reported (Egg corns: folk etymology, malapropism, mondegreen, ???) an incorrect yet particularly suggestive creation: someone had written “egg corn” instead of “acorn”. It turned out that there was no established label for this type of non-standard reshaping. Erroneous as it may be, the substitution involved more than just ignorance: an acorn is more or less shaped like an egg; and it is a seed, just like grains of corn. So if you don’t know how acorn is spelled, egg corn actually makes sense.

Mark Liberman’s colleague Geoffrey Pullum chimed in and suggested that this type of linguistic error should be called an eggcorn."

I really like the whole idea of eggcorns, they provide the perfect cover for my poor dyslexic brain, so I think I will be dreaming up a few more.

If you can think of any please feel free to list them here!

I also got a lovely e-mail from the poet Judi Benson, who now has a copy of my book. She said she thinks it is a "wee masterpiece" and that "it says it all in such a succinct space. I feel it is where experience transcends into art and you have succeeded."

I can't begin to say what effect those kind words had on me.



Blogger PI said...

Enjoy it Anna - you deserve it! I love stalk still. It says it all. I'll rack my brains but they are a little sluggish after thrilling housework,. Not!
I have two skinny bean pole grandsons and it's funny how both fathers are a bit miffed. Sons are useful - my elder one had just taught me how to spell fridge - friggin' cheek!

11:31 am  
Blogger apprentice said...

Or fridgin' cheek lol!

11:36 am  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Well done, Anna! As Pat says, you deserve it. Lap up this praise and use it as strength in whatever you write next. You've made people happy and satisfied with your poetry and that is a wonderful thing to be able to do.

I love the idea of eggcorn words. I'll have a wee think today as i go about my business, and see if I can come up with another one.

5:10 pm  
Blogger Colin Will said...

I heard the piece about egg corns too, and it reminded me of one I wrote years ago - it's now on my blog.

5:36 pm  
Blogger Mr Farty said...

I like the word "mondegreen" better than "eggcorn". Poor Lady M.

For years I thought my Mum put the washing to dry in the Airm Cupboard when it rained. Never did find any airms in there though.

11:26 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

Good one Farty! My wee niece called Spaghetti Bolognese
Sarah Getty Baldy Knees, which i thought was great.

11:41 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

Good fun, all this.
I remember my lovely dad saying that as a child in church, he thought he had to "clean his heart ( or was it his soul??) with.." some detergent called: " Inus"

1:14 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

Nice one Jan!

5:29 pm  

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