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The Atlantic on "eggcorns"--in dance writing


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#1 Ray

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 03:46 PM

Did anyone see the "Word Count" column in the Sept. Atlantic? The running theme is "eggcorns," defined as "'spontaneous reshapings of known expressions' which seem to make sense" (Eggcorns is an eggcorn for acorns.) In a general sense they are mistakes--"self-phone" for cell phone, and eggcorns usually involve oral articulations of expressions one may have never encountered in print ("free reign" instead of the correct "free rein"; "baited breath" instead of "bated breath," etc.) Sometimes, however, eggcorns find their way into print and the example the Atlantic gives connects--gulp!--to writing about ballet: "Balanchine's classes were famous for honing in on the basics"--the correct phrase is "homing in" (I have to say the magazine caught me unawares on this one :) !). There is a website devoted to them too which you can easily find on google.

Any ballet eggcorns?

Ray

#2 dirac

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 04:29 PM

Thanks, Ray. I hadn't heard of "eggcorns" before. I've seen 'free reign' in more than one review. I don't know if this counts as an eggcorn, but I often see 'won' standing in for 'won over.' (The writer will say, "He won me with this ballet," when he clearly means "He won me over with this ballet.")

#3 carbro

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 04:38 PM

You wreaker! For those interested in scanning the, 564 eggcorns have been squirreled away here: http://eggcorns.lasc...lish/2/eggcorn/

#4 carbro

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 09:21 PM

Grandpa (de deux, classique, etc.) ?

#5 Ray

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 05:02 AM

Gargle yard
Surly cou-de-pied
Rhonda jambe (OK, maybe that counts as a drag-queen name)
Efartee (a position somewhere b/t ecarte and efface)
On dead-on
Terror-tear
Port-a-bras
On dairy air

I'll stop now!

#6 Ray

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 05:17 AM

I don't know if this counts as an eggcorn, but I often see 'won' standing in for 'won over.' (The writer will say, "He won me with this ballet," when he clearly means "He won me over with this ballet.")


So many eggcorns seem to based on the speaker changing the idiom of an expression, as in dirac's example. The Atlantic article began with one: a reader noted that "step foot in" often replaces "set foot in." As a teacher, I find teaching correct idiomatic usage sometimes daunting--and also unrewarding: it makes one feel sooooo pedantic to correct "thinking on X" ("thinking of X"). At least with "free rein" one gets to talk about horses (most students I've had don't know what a rein is)!
And we seem to want to trim down idiomatic phrases: a great dancer "impacts" us now, rather than "makes an impact on" us. ("Critique" used as a verb is also technically incorrect: you *mount* a critique.) Whenever I teach students for whom English is not their first language, I'm reminded how tough English idioms can be.
AND then there are those darn regional variations (no, I don't mean Russian and Spanish divertissments!): Do you say waiting *on* line or waiting *in* line?

#7 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 05:19 AM

Potty dew (actually said on Iowa Public TV - as in "Cinderella and the Prince embark on a tender and romantic potty dew.")

#8 Ray

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 05:23 AM

Potty dew (actually said on Iowa Public TV - as in "Cinderella and the Prince embark on a tender and romantic potty dew.")


This is getting me laughing early! That's close to one of my favorites from the eggcorn website, an eggcorn for "pustule":
"my face is sore and i dont like having big pus jewels on my face."

#9 Hans

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 07:04 AM

And we seem to want to trim down idiomatic phrases: a great dancer "impacts" us now, rather than "makes an impact on" us.

Or better yet, s/he "affects" or "has an effect on" us. (The over-use of "impact" is one of my pet peeves!)

One enjoyable ballet-related eggcorn I heard was from a teacher over-pronouncing a French word: "grand batiment" (large building) instead of "grand battement."

#10 Helene

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 07:29 AM

Do you say waiting *on* line or waiting *in* line?

I have a coworker from Chicago who introduced "I'm waiting on Joe to give me that info" instead of "I'm waiting for Joe to give me that info," which infiltrated the group and made me crazy, until I realized it was a regional difference. To me, "waiting on" until then had been something a waiter does.

Efartee (a position somewhere b/t ecarte and efface)

:blush:
And as a former adult student, who started as an adult, I know exactly what this is: it's that transitional barococo movement between the two positions, when the teacher calls one in an adagio, you start to do the other, and then realize you got it wrong.

#11 Ray

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 07:54 AM

Efartee (a position somewhere b/t ecarte and efface)

And as a former adult student, who started as an adult, I know exactly what this is: it's that transitional barococo movement between the two positions, when the teacher calls one in an adagio, you start to do the other, and then realize you got it wrong.

Well "wrong" is in the eye of the beholder...there's a famous picture of Suzanne Farrell and Martins in the Potty Dew from Diamonds--her leg in perfect effarte devant, back arched over his arm (they are doing a promenade, I think). Don't get me wrong, though: it's one of my favorite pictures! (rules were meant for breaking and all that..).

#12 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 04:51 PM

"Honing in" is one of my least favorite eggcorns. I used to work with the AIM-9 Sidewinder Air Intercept Missile, and I knew very well that the guidance system "homed" on heat sources. If you lit a cigarette lighter all the way at the other end of the hangar ("hanger" is another eggcorn) from it, the little "eye" would lock right onto it. A ballet eggcorn is pas de chien. That's an attitude that's not in back of the dancer, and looks like a dog, well, I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

#13 rg

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 05:41 AM

calling the dance/game in the second act of SLEEPING BEAUTY "Blind Man's BLUFF" instead of 'Blind Man's Buff' is all over the place, even in a book as would-be properly edited as scholl's SLEEPING BEAUTY. A LEGEND IN PROGRES - from Yale, no less.
one friend used to swear that ed sullivan once introduced fonteyn and nureyev in the Swan Lake pas de deux as 'mar-go fon-tain and rudolf nur-ee-ev in the Swan Lake deh pew.

then there was arlene croce's recording of the enthusiastic calls from Bejart enthusiasts as: BEIGE ART! BEIGE ART!

#14 Giannina

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 06:48 AM

Am I the only one who feels she suddenly has to re-learn English idioms?

Giannina

#15 richard53dog

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 07:03 AM

have a coworker from Chicago who introduced "I'm waiting on Joe to give me that info" instead of "I'm waiting for Joe to give me that info," which infiltrated the group and made me crazy, until I realized it was a regional difference. To me, "waiting on" until then had been something a waiter does.



Helene, I've heard this variant used regularly here in NJ at work. I had assumed it was "corporate-speak".
I'm no longer working there but we we all always waiting on someone (like Joe) or even something (like a new version).

I worked for AT&T which was a NJ based company up until late last year. Now it's Texas based but the changes will no long impact me (there's ANOTHER one)

Richard


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