29 October 2007

eggcorn alert: "intelligible"

i was just reading an interview with Erin Andrews (like you do) at a sports blog that i was previously unfamiliar with, One More Dying Quail. nothing out of the ordinary, except a couple places where OMDQ couldn't quite make out what was being said on the recording, and transcribed the following:

...to be honest with you, I have never played a sport, I obviously (intelligible) at all...
I’m just some (intelligible) who goes to coaches meetings and reads a lot of articles and talks to players...
clearly, if the recording was indeed intelligible he wouldn't have bothered writing "intelligible", he'd just say it. of course it should say "unintelligible." it looks very much like an eggcorn to me, with a reanalysis along the lines of in+telligible, mistaking the word-initial in- for the latinate negating prefix. if that were a good faith analysis, then a "double-marked" un+in+telligible would indeed look very strange.

3 comments:

One More Dying Quail said...

Haha, thanks for pointing that out. I really need to start looking stuff up instead of trusting my memory to get it right.

Ed said...

hey, no problem. and thanks for keeping us linguists in a job =)

Steve Hayes said...

We have a problem with radio and TV announcers who say "illegible" when they mean "eligible".