Skip to content

It’s not a mistake, it’s malapropism!

March 12, 2010
by

Why is that English-speaking people have so many words to describe linguistic mistakes? I came across the Yogiism on Wikipedia yesterday and ended up reading and looking up quite a few technical terms which has quite specific meanings. Most of the Wikipedian (?) articles, which I read in English, do not have an equivalent entry in Chinese. Do we also have such terms in our language, or do we just call them mistakes in Chinese? I mean, or do we just call them 口誤 in Chinese?

(Definitions plagiarised from the online version of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary)

Hypercorrection
(n.) the use of a wrong form or pronunciation of a word by sb who is trying to show that they can use language correctly.

Examples:

  • Work will résumé tomorrow.
  • 北杏中之大杏 (「勤力音」)

Malapropism
(n.) an amusing mistake sb makes when they use a word which sounds similar to the word they wanted to use, but means sth different
Examples:

  • Love thy labour.
  • 缺氧核糖核酸

Pleonasm
(n.) the use of more words than are necessary to express a meaning.
Examples:

  • Empty space
  • 免費贈品

Spoonerism
(n.) a mistake in which you change around the first sounds of two words by mistake when saying them, often with a humorous result
Examples:

  • Don’t save anything particular to hay (although it would sound like “don’t saf anything particular to hay” when spoken.)
  • 惠康咁貴,下次去格Buy啦!

Tautology
(n.) a statement in which you say the same thing twice in different words, when this is unnecessary
Examples:

  • Really 真係呀?
  • In terms of financially-wise speaking, I think the project is feasible.
  • Second World War II (credit to my brother’s classmate)
Advertisements
2 Comments leave one →
  1. lemonalism permalink*
    March 13, 2010 12:44 pm

    I always have Pleonasm and Tautology in my writing.

    • Miah permalink*
      March 14, 2010 4:58 am

      I have all of them in my writing and speaking! Now we know what they are called!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: