Language Log in Dinosaur Comics

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From Ryan North yesterday:

with an explanation, and a plug for LLog:


November 17th, 2010: This comic and all the eggcorns in it come from the wonderful Language Log and the eggcorn database.

Language Log is one of my favourite sites, and rivals TV Tropes in the ability to suck you in for hours on end. They made up the word "eggcorn" to describe these sorts of linguistic substitutions (where the new expression can be argued for, but seems to come from trying to deduce how the existing expression is expressed) back in 2004, and only a few weeks ago, the word made the OED with Language Log as a reference. That's basically amazing: congratulations Language Log! I'm still working on getting "chocochop" recognized (a chocolate pork chop with a real pork chop bone!)1.

1 My friend Pat invented them; they're great.

But as Ben Zimmer, Erin McKean, Jesse Sheidlower, and others have explained many times in several places, an expression is a word if people use it; to get in a dictionary (even one as inclusive as the OED), it has to have sufficient currency for some group of speakers. New words — especially portmanteaus like chocochop and words with playful libfixes like -((o)r)ama — are coined in considerable numbers every day, so it would be crazy to try to keep track of them all.

(Hat tip to Bruce Webster.)

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