Rough Theory

Theory In The Rough

Eggcorns of Planning Wisdom

Readers of the delightful Language Log blog will be familiar with their periodic posts on “eggcorns” – the often poetic alternative words and phrases that sometimes result when someone hears a new term, but has never seen it written – like the spelling “eggcorn” for “acorn”.

The teaching environment is primed for eggcorn production, since students are bombarded with new terms in lectures and discussion. Since eggcorns often provide far more insight than “canonical” spellings into how students interpret terms, they can also be useful (if inadvertent) feedback for the instructor.

I unfortunately neglected to make a note of some fantastic (but now, sadly, forgotten) eggcorns from earlier in the term, but have collected a few from the final set of papers for the term.

My particular favourite is “physical list planning” (in place of the “physicalist planning” so often criticised during the term). I love the association it gives of planners blindly applying some list of rules and regulations to the planning process – a proceduralism that was also often criticised in the course, but has here apparently been assimilated to the slightly different critique of planners who focus primarily on the physical environment.

Honourable mentions go to:

“falls sense of security” – I love this reinterpretation, which shifts the emphasis of the phrase from the state of overconfidence, to the sinking sensation that might strike, once one realises that one previously suffered from a “false sense of security”…

“high and sight” – I liked this one for its metaphorical spatialisation of what is normally a temporal phrase – thanks to our heightened elevation, we can now see so much more clearly…

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