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The Atlantic on "eggcorns"--in dance writing


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#16 bart

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 07:13 AM

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.

:( True! I wondered why it looked so familiar when I check myself in the mirror.

Not sure if this is an eggcorn, but "jool-er-ee" is almost universal nowadays.

Also, I keep typing "egghorn." I can't pronounce the the gg-c combination comfortably, I guess.

I can almost see and hear Sullivan doing his intro. rg, your friend's memory of the two names are quite accurate, I think. But, to be fair to Sullivan, I remember his retaining the "de," which resulted in "paah duh doo."

Bouree Fantasque is frequently referred to as Bouree Fantastique.
Petrouchka comes out Pet-roosh-ka.
Then there's the Shoshtakovich "Bright's Dream" (recently performed by the Bolshoi in London.)
How about Midsummer'S Night Dream.
Or Pictures at an EXPOSITION.
Or Tudor's The Leaves are FALLING.
Or Le Jeune Homme et L'AMOUR..
Or Le BLUE Danube (Massine).
Or L'oiseau de FER.

"Who Cares?" is often pronounced without the up-turn of the "?" -- resulting in a statement about ennui rather than one about insouciance.

And, I've heard the complete, full-evening ballets referred to as "Le Corsaire Pas de Deux" and "Raymonda Variations." Not to mention the time I heard someone refer to Robert Wilson's Einstein on the Beach as Einstein on the Roof.

#17 rg

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 10:07 AM

i knew an italian fellow studying ballet here who would refer to A MIDNIGHT SUMMER'S DREAM.
a writer once waxed poetic about eglevsky posed artfully looking in a mirror w/ his arms 'au courant'
another described a ballerina's extremely high extension a la seconde - often called six o'clock (or five-to-six) extension, as a 'midnight extension' - picture that if you would...
or a NYTimes review of smuin's THE ETERNAL IDOL in which the reviewer consistently reviewed the work as THE FALLEN IDOL.
or the number of times, and a number of them by dancers, ive read graham's LAMENTATION called LAMENTATIONS.
also, related, a classic line of the famous punster James Waring when being asked what he thought of the Corsaire pas de deux he'd seen the night before, he said: it had rather a coarse air.
a clever cut-up downtown artist once took on child's 'einstein on the beach' calling it 'FINESTEIN ON THE BEACH'

#18 dirac

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 10:15 AM

Thank you for those, bart and rg. I'm going to take note of "Finestein on the Beach."


I hear statements like “We’re still waiting on that,” all the time – it may have been regionally based once, but not any more.

I’m not sure if the use of “impact” as a verb qualifies as an eggcorn. Although I don’t use it that way myself and never shall, the usage seems to have more or less officially arrived and in a generation or two I don’t think anyone will think twice about the matter.

#19 carbro

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 10:24 AM

Every year at holiday time, parents dress up their children and head to the theater for "The Nutcracker Suite," :rolleyes: an error inevitably compounded by the young ones who call it "The Nutcracker Sweet/s".

#20 Hans

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 10:44 AM

Can't believe I didn't think of this sooner; I believe it counts as an eggcorn although presumably the tv show with this phrase as its title considered it a pun: "To the manor born" (it's "to the manner born"). Rampant.

#21 bart

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 10:50 AM

another described a ballerina's extremely high extension a la seconde - often called six o'clock (or five-to-six) extension, as a 'midnight extension' - picture that if you would...

I'm sure I've seen this ... (at Pilobolus?). She was being carried upside down, feet in fifth position.

You might say that the "midnight" extension is similar to the the famous "six-thirty" extension, except that "midnight" has head just a few inches above the floor and the feet pointing towards the ceiling, whilie the "six-thirty" extension is rather like ... standing on the floor.

#22 Dale

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 11:10 AM

Oh, I'm so guilty of these because I read fast and type fast and speak fast (or carelessly).

Myrta was Martha
Before I learned Russian - it was Dan - ee - lova.
I can never get the French terms right. Thanks to a friend I can now say Développé, instead of removing the accents and saying it American style.
Polyhymnia was pronounced polymenia, rather than Poly-hym-nia.
I also did the Bourree Fantasque one before being corrected this year.
Terpsichore I'm still confused about. I always said it terp-SI-chor-ee (confirmed by the Balanchine documentary), but heard Suzanne Farrell pronounce it TERP-sic-or at her Duets program in D.C. a few years ago.

Part of the problem for me, at least, was for a long time I only said these words in my head. Later, nobody was "rude" enough to correct me. Oh well.

#23 Helene

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 11:25 AM

Can't believe I didn't think of this sooner; I believe it counts as an eggcorn although presumably the tv show with this phrase as its title considered it a pun: "To the manor born" (it's "to the manner born"). Rampant.

And this whole time, I thought it was "to the manor born." :(

#24 dirac

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 11:31 AM

Dale writes:

Part of the problem for me, at least, was for a long time I only said these words in my head. Later, nobody was "rude" enough to correct me. Oh well.


I think that happened to many people, including yours truly. You read the name or the word and automatically work out what sounds like a reasonable pronunciation, not realizing that it’s totally off base. The following doesn't qualify as an eggcorn, but in junior high school I once called the poet Yeats the poet Yeets and was gently corrected by my teacher. Over the years I've found myself on the other side -- do you try to correct the person, tactfully, or let it pass? There are some occasions when you can only do the latter, and I recall at least one where it was a positive pleasure to let that pretentious blowhard make a fool of himself. But I digress.

#25 bart

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 12:11 PM

Ah, "Yates" -- but not "Kates" -- has confounded many of us. The world of British-Irish pronuncation is vast and was once rather treacherous. As with the rituals of a very exclusive club, you either knew the way things were pronounced or you didn't. This once meant a great deal indeed.

In ballet, the most extreme form was someone I once met in the State Theater lobby who insisted on using the original Georgian version for "Balanchine." It took several of us quite a while to figure out who he (always a he!) was talking about.

Things have changed, and many now respond to these matters with the all-purpose "whatever," which signifiies a "don't know/ don't care" attitude.

P.S. Thanks Hans. Over the years -- and along with the British tv show -- I switched unconsciously from "manner" to "manor," in my head at least, since I've never actually used the phrase. You've helped me to move this back to the right track. (Or is it "tract"?)

#26 rg

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 12:20 PM

but the phrase is 'to the manor born,' no?
for years i heard 'toe the line' as 'tow the line'

#27 Dale

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 12:26 PM

but the phrase is 'to the manor born,' no?
for years i heard 'toe the line' as 'tow the line'


The folks at Random House explain all at this link (and point out that, in a way, both make sense):

http://www.randomhou...l?date=19990721

#28 Estelle

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 01:08 PM

Oh, I'm so guilty of these because I read fast and type fast and speak fast (or carelessly).

Myrta was Martha
Before I learned Russian - it was Dan - ee - lova.


Err, what is the "right" pronounciation ? (I'd have the same question about Petrouchka, by the way).

dirac wrote:

You read the name or the word and automatically work out what sounds like a reasonable pronunciation, not realizing that it’s totally off base.


Well, it happens to me very often with so many English/ American words and names (I'm sure the way I "pronounce" the nicknames of many posters here probably has very little to do with their real pronounciation...)

Talking about "eggcorns", it reminds me of a comical TV program called "Les guignols de l'info" (it's a satirical program using puppets of famous characters in a sort of parody of TV news), some years ago one of their characters was a puppet looking like the (now retired) football/soccer player Jean-Pierre Papin. The character was depicted as, shall we say, not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, and would often say "egg-corns" or some absurd mixing of expressions (e.g. "la sorcière m'a jeté un sort" ["the witch has cast a spell on me"] became "la sorcière m'a jeté un ressort" ["the witch has thrown a spring to me"]).

#29 carbro

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 02:33 PM

Before I learned Russian - it was Dan - ee - lova.

Err, what is the "right" pronounciation ? (I'd have the same question about Petrouchka, by the way).

Thank you, Estelle! I was wondering the same for both!

A dear friend once described Gelsey Kirkland's Sylphide (Bournonville) as ETH- uh-reel. She had never encountered e-THEE-re-ul as a spoken word, only ethereal as a written one.

#30 rg

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 07:16 PM

i knew of gal who ran up to a special friend and gushed: i'm so static to see you!


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