LINGUIST List 3.722

Wed 23 Sep 1992

Disc: Last Posting on Reanalyses

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Robert Beard, Reanalysis
  2. Fran Karttunen, More reanalyses
  3. , RE: 3.703 Reanalyses
  4. FD00000, 3.703 Reanalyses
  5. , A Russian reanalysis
  6. , reanalyses

Message 1: Reanalysis

Date: 21 Sep 1992 19:20:31 EDT
From: Robert Beard <>
Subject: Reanalysis

 One of the best sources for reanalysis is undergraduate compositions.
My favorite of all times--from that source or any other--came from a
colleague in English with whom I swap: "a devil make hair attitude". (I
saw it with my own eyes.) --RBeard

Robert Beard,
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Message 2: More reanalyses

Date: 22 Sep 1992 17:13:18 -0600More reanalyses
From: Fran Karttunen <>
Subject: More reanalyses

Young children can do pretty sophisticated things. I wouldn't doubt the
"elemental B" example. In 1974 there were two big white Samoyed dogs
that kept showing up at LSA institute picnics. One was Larry Horn's
dog Itee. The children took to calling the other one "Itee sub-two."
My five-year-old explained to us that they called him that because
he was a "substitute Itee."

I also had a student turn in an essay containing the phrase "doggie-dog."
It must be widespread among undergrads.

Fran Karttunen
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Message 3: RE: 3.703 Reanalyses

Date: Wed, 23 Sep 92 01:20 MET
From: <>
Subject: RE: 3.703 Reanalyses

I can't resist adding a few more reanalyses to the list, inspired by Dennis
Barron's contribution and several others. One of my daughters said pisghetti
too, but her best friend said sghabetti - funnily enough, they understood
each other perfectly! My six-year old son still says 'attapement' (for
Flemish 'appartement' /a'part*'ment/, where * = schwa) - he seems to "lose"
the /r/ in the process. Following Claudia Brugman's contribution, there's
the story of the children burying their pet canary (yes, it WAS dead) with
these words: 'In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and into the hole
'e goes' (suiting the action to the words). I myself saw a card in a
newsagent's window advertising 'an ultra violent ray lamp' - not giving a
reason for selling, however! This brings me to a semi-serious point: this
type of phenomenon is traditionally called a 'malapropism' (after, I think,
Sheridan's Mrs. Malaprop; Fielding has a similar character called Mrs.
Slipslop); they're also not unlike what philologists called 'folk-
etymology'. The print-based examples quoted by Michael Kac are traditionally
called 'spelling pronunciations' - people like A.C.Baugh and Henry Wild give
examples like waistcoat (traditionally in Britain pronounced /weskit/) and
forehead (traditionally /forid/), but now commonly pronounced as they're
spelt. I'd like to share Mrs. Slack with everybody - she was a real, live
Mrs. Malaprop from Leytonstone, London, employed by my family as a home help
while I was still in my teens (I did a dissertation on East London dialect
for my first degree at Leeds, using her as my main informant). Mrs. Slack
genuinely said things like 'lemon verandah pie' (for 'lemon meringue pie')
and 'airgun pelmets' for airgun pellets'. She was quite proud of the fact
that I was at the Universary, but didn't want everybody to know that she
was having trouble with her wound (she meant womb, in fact). Mrs. Slack
was not only linguistically inept - she also broke a lot of things, but -
honest to a fault - would leave the little pile of fragments with a note
usually scribbled on a cigarette packet (which she called a 'fag-packet'),
saying simply "I done it. M. Slack". (Her first name was 'May', incidentally
- I couldn't believe it either!). This became proverbial in our family, and
when the manager of my brother's rock group managed to secure a lucrative
tour for them in the States, he simply cabled back "We done it. M.Slack".
This anecdote has nothing to do with reanalysis, but it's too good not to

Paul Werth
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Message 4: 3.703 Reanalyses

Date: Wed, 23 Sep 92 16:34:59 MD3.703 Reanalyses
From: FD00000 <FD00UTEP.BITNET>
Subject: 3.703 Reanalyses

If people are still collecting reanalyses, here's one more. When I
was a little boy and had to memorize the Lord's Prayer, the opening
 Our Father, who art in heaven, ...
 Our Father, who aren't in heaven,...

This made perfect sense to me, because my father was alive, so
of course he wasn't in heaven. It seemed strange to me that
they should say "aren't" instead of "isn't", but that was better
than words like "hallowed", which I didn't understand at all.

-Grant Goodall
UT El Paso
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Message 5: A Russian reanalysis

Date: 23 Sep 1992 22:04:48 CDT
From: <>
Subject: A Russian reanalysis

Russians call the honey agaric (a mushroom) _op"enok_, i.e., the 'on' (o-)
'the trunk' (-pen-) '-er' (-ok), originally because it grew on tree trunks,
and its plural, for many speakers, is _op"enki_. But some speakers have
reanalyzed it as _op-"enok, using the young-of-species suffix (as in ut"enok
'duckling'), as shown by the fact that they pluralize it as _opjata_ (same
as _utjata_).
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Message 6: reanalyses

Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1992 10:07:20 reanalyses
From: <>
Subject: reanalyses

Can I add some reanalyses for general enjoyment. There is _spoonfed_ which
is clearly the past tense of the verb to spoonf. Every time I see
_barroom_ I read it on analogy with _varroom_ instead of as a compound. As
a child I always sang 'We three kings of glory and tar'. Computer
hyphenation programs lead to various reanalyses at line breaks. Several
times recently I have stumbled over _read-justment_, and have even found
_we-ren't_. Where does the line go between a reanalysis and a folk
etymology? Or are they the same thing on different scales? _To do one's
upmost_ is a common reanalysis which I think of as folk etymology.

Laurie Bauer
Wellington, New Zealand
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