Working on this post, I saw that Language Log had written about "Teabonics," and I assumed I would get some good analysis about the misuse of "Ebonics" in coining the new word. But here's what I found:
Teabonics?Muphry's Law? Muphry's Law? Ha! Hang on a second, I need to recover from deep pangs of irony. Mock spelling, and you'd better make sure you never ever ever ever ever make a typo.
March 31, 2010 @ 6:38 pm · Filed by Mark Liberman under Humor
Including some nice examples of Muphry's Law in action....
It takes more than 2 hours before anyone shows up on the popular linguistics blog to take Liberman to task for failing to see the swipe at black people:
Elizabeth Herrington said,So, why the blindness to racism? I suspect that it is a combination of the conventional liberal self-love — the mind-dulling confidence that they are the good people — and the embarrassing secret that the study of Ebonics was never truly grounded in respect for black people.
March 31, 2010 @ 8:47 pm
This is funny, sure. But we need to remember Ebonics (inglorious word it be) is based on a grammar. Teabonics is just plain ignorance.
March 31, 2010 @ 9:07 pm
... I'm sort of sorry that LanguageLog is propagating this. The common tagline is that "linguists are calling [this] Teabonics"; except that, as Elizabeth Herrington says above, recognizing Ebonics is deeply rooted in linguistic concepts, whereas this is just making fun of misspelling. And while I'm in favor politically of making fun of tea-partiers, I'm professionally against calling it "Teabonics", which elevates this to actual academic study and debases Ebonics as being equivalently illiterate.
CORRECTION: "Muphry's Law," spelled like that, is something that has been talked about in the past on Language Log. Liberman's writing "Muphry's Law" would be an example of Muphry's Law if the term "Muphry's Law" hadn't been coined to refer to things like that. Thanks to the commenter Dewb for pointing this out.