Annotation - Chapter 10, Page 67

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  • (67:31) "I bes put the red cord strait"

Put the record straight. This is a particularly good example of Hoban's deftness at puns that accurately reflect how idioms really change: someone mis-hears a phrase in a way that seems to make a little more sense than the real phrase, after the original meaning has become unclear. (That is, even if you have no idea what the "red cord" might be, it's easy to imagine pulling a cord straight; and in Riddley's world, rope is a lot more common than written records.) An example of a phrase that has changed in a similar way is "spitting image," which used to be "spit and image." EB

This is referred to as folk etymology if it becomes widespread; for newer instances that have not yet passed the test of time, linguist Geoff Pullum has coined the term eggcorn. RG