January 29, 2005

Star Craving Mad

Rachael Briggs sent in a lovely example of that rare subspecies the resyllabification eggcorn.

Hi. I'm one of Language Log's anonymous gentle readers, and I thought you might
be interested in the following:

A friend of mine (one of those self-proclaimed grammar types) claims to have discovered this sentence, which uses the phrase "star craving mad" in place of "stark, raving mad", on some sort of online discussion forum:

"people would ask me whats her name i said Garren they would look at me like i was star craving mad like why did you name her such a boyish name"

Since I'm supposed to be writing papers at the moment, I thought I'd google the phrase "'star craving mad'" and see what came up. Unfortunately, there's a novel by that title by an author named Miller, and most of the hits were ads for or reviews of the novel. "'star craving mad' -book -books -miller" yielded 59 results. Most were either stray references to the book or deliberate puns, but a few of them looked like real eggcorns.

"'This is my social life,' said Workentine [a food bank volunteer]. 'It gives me a reason to get up in the morning. If I just sat at home looking at the four walls, I’d go star-craving mad.'"

"The snoring was enough to drive the sanest person star craving mad."

"I'll be crying and in horrible pain and she'll toss a couple tylenol at me and rush off to appease my two younger sisters. It drives me star craving mad."

The strings "star craving crazy" and "star craving nuts" turned up no hits, so I guess the eggcorn hasn't yet caught on in any big way.

Keep up the blogging! Your work affords me a priceless opportunity to procrastinate enjoyably. Okay, back to writing papers.

Always happy to be of service. And thanks for the fruits of your investigation...

[Update: in addition to David Beaver's observation about the attested alternative eggcorn stark raven mad, Q Pheevr points out that there is another available variation, star craven mad, which is "unattested qua eggcorn", being only found so far as a witting (if not witty) pun.]


Posted by Mark Liberman at January 29, 2005 11:01 AM