March 12, 2007

Surely not an eggcorn in The Economist!

"FOR nine months a torrent of scolding slurry has gushed out of the ground near Sidoarjo in eastern Java", said the first sentence of an article on argillaceous vulcanism in the science and technology section of the most recent Economist (link here, at least for now). But surely not! The mud is not chiding anyone or offering angry reproof. It is boiling hot, that's the problem. It is scalding slurry that is gushing out of Lusi the mud volcano. The OED leaves no doubt about that. An easy slip to make, I'm sure (to be nerdy about the phonetics: rounded and unrounded non-high back vowels are not easy to distinguish before a velarized lateral approximant like final /l/ in English). But it's the first time I recall seeing an eggcorn in The Economist. And this one is not in the eggcorn database.

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum at March 12, 2007 06:43 PM