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Thread: What is this called?

  1. #1
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    What is this called?

    What is the term for this memory glitch?
    There is a Bar and Grill across the street from me. It’s name has two words. Each word has four letters, and the first letter of the first word is ‘R’. And it has something to do with driving a car.
    The name is ‘Rush Hour’ but I keep calling it ‘Road Kill’.
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

  2. #2
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    Maybe since covid spreads too easily in a bar setting your mind is thinking road kill?....as for a term to describe it?

  3. #3
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    I don't know if it has a succinct name, but it's a retrieval cue error--you have a set of cues for memory retrieval that are about the words, rather than about the concept.

    Grant Hutchison

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    I had this quirk before covid.
    Strange, the staff there never seemed to think my error was funny...
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

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    Yeah. For some reason, people almost never respond well to comically derogatory misrepresentations of their real names. Go figure.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Part of it is the tendency for people to think of the first letter/sound as the most prominent or important one in a word.

    It's behind our tendency to think of acronyms & initialisms but usually not counterparts that would, if they existed, be based on the middle or end of a word instead.

    It's also why, if you can't quite think of the word/name you want to say but you get a partial impression of it while trying to dig it up from your memory, that partial impression is most often "It starts with a...".

    It's also why, when people are talking about phonetics, it's easier to come up with examples of the sound they have in mind at the beginning of a word than in the middle or at the end. (Seriously, just pick a sound and start trying to list words containing it, other than in prefixes and suffixes or a few exceptional sounds with their own special restrictions like English "ng" & "h". Your list is practically sure to end up almost entirely words that start with it even though that wasn't your goal and there are plenty of non-initial occurrences of it for you to choose from. You would need to consciously work against this tendency if you wanted to produce a more evenly-distributed list.)

    It's also why the oldest poetry that's based on phonetics (not just metaphorical descriptiveness or such) is based on alliteration, not rhyme.

    I suppose we could call it something that just roughly describes what it is, like "word-initial phoneme primacy" or "dominance of first sound", but I haven't actually seen anything that I know has caught on as a "name" or "term" for it. (I've rarely even seen it discussed in any way at all.)
    Last edited by Delvo; 2021-Jan-02 at 07:07 AM.

  7. #7
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    There is also a demonstration where words are jumbled except for the first and last letter: wdros rmeian plsoslbe to raed bcuaese our bnaris aer so dtmoniaed by taht fsrit lteter. Fnisatanig.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  8. #8
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    Syllabic structure, first sound and rhyme all seem to be important to the way we remember words, which is presumably why they're all part of bardic tradition. So we also have a corresponding set of standard errors when we try to retrieve a name we haven't given much thought to storing.
    The solution (if you want a solution) is to produce a striking mental image to go with the correct name, so that your memory retrieval cue is rooted in meaning as well as structure. For instance, I can think of a few ways I'd associate "Rush Hour" with a mental image of specific bar and grill, if I wanted to be sure to recall the name.
    Another important factor is to avoid exercising the wrong association--people sometimes do this for humorous effect, and it really messes up their ability to retrieve the correct name when the need arises. The Boon Companion, for obscure neurocognitive reasons, once inadvertently referred to a cagoule as a "pakora". This made her laugh so much that she started doing it deliberately, when the opportunity arose in private between the two of us. Unfortunately, when she then needed to buy a new cagoule, her mind went completely blank as soon as she entered the shop, and she was briefly reduced to pointing at a rack and saying, "I want one of these."

    As Cardinal Wolsey didn't say, "Be very, very careful what you put in that head, because you will never, ever get it out."

    Grant Hutchison

  9. #9
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    I used to like Victoria Wood's character Bren, in dinnerladies. She was often lost for a word, but found it by a weird kind of word association.

    "What's that word? Not unicorn... dilemma!" - (via horn).
    "What's them things like cucumbers?... Suffragettes!" - (via courgette).

    and so on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
    I used to like Victoria Wood's character Bren, in dinnerladies. She was often lost for a word, but found it by a weird kind of word association.

    "What's that word? Not unicorn... dilemma!" - (via horn).
    "What's them things like cucumbers?... Suffragettes!" - (via courgette).

    and so on.
    I've done that. Not just with words, either, sometimes I make connections by the most obscure memories and associations.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
    I used to like Victoria Wood's character Bren, in dinnerladies. She was often lost for a word, but found it by a weird kind of word association.

    "What's that word? Not unicorn... dilemma!" - (via horn).
    "What's them things like cucumbers?... Suffragettes!" - (via courgette).

    and so on.
    "Courgette" is a word I never encountered until less than a year ago! GadZukes!

    I'm wondering if the phenomenon is related to why I consistently type "ration" when I want "ratio". "Ratio" is a word I needed to use frequently when I was working. "Ration", never but it always came out.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    "Courgette" is a word I never encountered until less than a year ago! GadZukes!
    I see what you did there.
    Yes, for some reason the fruit Brits call by a French name (and South Africans call by an English name) has a plural Italian name in the USA.

    Grant Hutchison

  13. #13
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    Back in 1966, a history professor explained to me (and every other freshman at the school) that English names for meats are based on French, and for the related animals are based on Anglo-Saxon; because of who could afford to eat them and who grew them.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Back in 1966, a history professor explained to me (and every other freshman at the school) that English names for meats are based on French, and for the related animals are based on Anglo-Saxon; because of who could afford to eat them and who grew them.

    I'm sure the class difference is a large reason for why we got that, but I also wanted to mention that it's not unknown for people to use different words for animals and meats, either because of a taboo or because the custom of eating the meat came from somewhere else. So in Japanese, for example, the word for a cow is ushi, but you never use that with eating. It's often bi-fu, from French through English, or toriniku, which is the Chinese way of pronunciation. And for sheep they use ラム, also from English. And for horses, one never hears the word 馬, which is the word for horse, but sometimes sakura, which is the name for cherry blossoms. In English we also say escargot instead of snail, and I wonder if that was commonly eaten during the days after the Norman Conquest. So I wonder if maybe it made it sound more sophisticated to say that you were eating "mutton" rather than "sheep."
    As above, so below

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Another important factor is to avoid exercising the wrong association--people sometimes do this for humorous effect, and it really messes up their ability to retrieve the correct name when the need arises.
    ...which itself can have consequences. A few years ago I had a friend & co-worker with a 4-then-5-year-old daughter named "Janaya". At first, all I could think of was "jumbalaya", enough times that it ended up becoming a nickname that only I would use and the girl would answer to when she heard me say it. When other co-workers were told the story so they could laugh at me about it, one of them cracked a joke about it being "slightly racist". That description's literal meaning was a safe distance away from what anybody actually thought I was, so there was no trouble. But, if my non-racism had been less obvious or less already-established, or if the crowd this happened among had included any of the sort of person who loves to grab that card whenever an excuse is available, then the same idea that one person treated as clearly a joke could have been enough to push over the line into someone seriously thinking it and accusing me of it instead of being sarcastic about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
    I used to like Victoria Wood's character Bren, in dinnerladies. She was often lost for a word, but found it by a weird kind of word association.

    "What's that word? Not unicorn... dilemma!" - (via horn).
    "What's them things like cucumbers?... Suffragettes!" - (via courgette).
    My mother has a story about an older female relative of hers who started doing that after she hadn't before. When they found out she had brain cancer, they retroactively figured this had been an uncaught symptom. The standard example when telling the story was that when she tried to recall the name of a particular man or boy, she got stuck on the word "fleece". His name was "Jason".

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    What is the term for this?’.
    Malapropism?

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    Malapropism?
    I think the problem there is that they are supposed to sound similar, like “200 electrical votes” or “there is no president for that.”
    As above, so below

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    Although not strictly relevant, I was trying to remember the name of a town in Somerset the other day. I said to my companion "it begins with t". After much head scratching I realised it was yeovil

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    What is the term for this memory glitch?
    There is a Bar and Grill across the street from me. It’s name has two words. Each word has four letters, and the first letter of the first word is ‘R’. And it has something to do with driving a car.
    The name is ‘Rush Hour’ but I keep calling it ‘Road Kill’.
    There used to be a bar in Liverpool called Road Kill. Don't know if it is still there.

  20. #20
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    With a name like that probably not.
    Still, Liverpool is the home of the Beatles so who knows...
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    With a name like that probably not.
    Still, Liverpool is the home of the Beatles so who knows...
    Seems to be called Frederiks now. Shame.

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    Of course, Frederik R. Kill is the bar's owner.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  23. #23
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    Seriously, the recall process of memory works by association. Since everyone's experiences are different, different associations can lead to mnemonic aids specific to that person.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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