When You Come To A Fork In The Road …

The Woodster comes to a fork in the road and takes it - a WoodChip variation of Yogi Berra's famous quote

When you come to a fork in the road, take it, as they say.  Pictured here is the Woodster, our hobo, king of the road WoodChip character, who has indeed come to a fork in the road and is about to take it.

Nonsensical phrases like these are called malapropisms.  The word is derived from the French phrase mal  á propos which means ill-suited, or inappropriately used.  Malapropisms are created by the substitution of a word for a similarly sounding word, resulting in a phrase that makes no sense or creates a comic effect.

The word malapropism has been around since the 1600’s.  Shakespeare used them in his plays and more recently they’ve been used in Archie Bunker, the Sopranos, Bugs Bunny and many more.

I think the intentionality of the use, i.e. whether the speaker did it on purpose or not, adds even more tension and humor to these phrases.

Two contemporary individuals who have used malapropisms are former President George W. Bush and the legendary baseball player Yogi Berra.  George Bush once said that “Mathematics are one of the fundamentaries (i.e., fundamentals) of educationalizing (i.e., educating) our youths.”

And Yogi Berra has been chock full of them – a couple of his classics being “It’s déjà vu all over again” and “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.”

The “Fork in the road” is also a Yogiism.

So back to intentionality, what do you think?  Did George Bush and Yogi Berra accidently misuse these phrases — or say them to be funny?

You may click on this post’s title to leave a comment in the box that will appear below.

And with that question, I leaf you for now – heft a good day – J. Daniel

One Response to “When You Come To A Fork In The Road …”

  1. Michael F. says:

    I believe `W’ said them unintentionally in the same manner in which Sarah Palin uses the English language. As for Yogi, you’d have to ask him.

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