Burglar - Squirrel

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giuliam9

Senior Member
Italiano
From Ellen show "Clumsy thumbsy"

"There's a burglar in the house"
"OMG CALL THE POLICE GET OUT OF THERE"
"No, there's a burglar in the house"
"I know I'm coming. Mom call the cops and get out"
"There's a S Q U I R R E L in the house"

I know the main point of the whole "clumsy thumbsy" thing is the Autocorrect correction, but I don't see any similarities between the two words in this case, so I assume it is an intentional choice.

In WR dictionary I found "cat burglar" but I can't find anything related to a squirrel, so obviously I'm missing something here.

Would you please explain why she choose to write "burglar" instead of "squirrel"?

Thank you.
 
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    We have no idea who is saying what from your information, but it seems as though somebody mistook the sounds of the squirrel for those that might be made by a burglar.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    Two possiblities come to mind:
    1. Mom was joking, referring to the squirrel as a burgular. The squirrel did not belong in the house. He broke in or snuck in, as a burgular would, and he was probably there to steal something (most likely food). It could also be a private joke in the family that squirrels are referred to as burgulars, maybe because they "steal from" the bird feeder.
    2. Mom had a mental lapse, and was calling the squirrel by the wrong word. This happens a lot with some kinds of brain damage, and can happen to anyone once in a while, especially when the person is upset.
     

    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    According to the "original" version of this text message exchange (I'm not convinced that it's actually real), "squirrel" is misspelled as "squirel". Some people have suggested that incorrectly spelling it with a single "r" caused the phone to auto-correct it to "burglar".

    It all sounds very dubious to me.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    According to the "original" version of this text message exchange (I'm not convinced that it's actually real), "squirrel" is misspelled as "squirel". Some people have suggested that incorrectly spelling it with a single "r" caused the phone to auto-correct it to "burglar".

    It all sounds very dubious to me.
    This makes sense. I did not know this was a text message. The autocorrect feature often picks the wrong word and it can be quite funny. This site http://www.damnyouautocorrect.com/ give hundreds of examples, but I must warn you that there is a lot of profanity.
     

    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    This makes sense. I did not know this was a text message. The autocorrect feature often picks the wrong word and it can be quite funny. This site http://www.damnyouautocorrect.com/ give hundreds of examples, but I must warn you that there is a lot of profanity.
    That's where I found the "original". I'm still convinced that many of these are made up. Perhaps that's because I have an ancient (non-"smart") mobile phone and have auto-correct turned off...
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    Not made up. The autocorrect feature is there to predict the sentence. So if you type the sentence 'there is a squirel in the house' (including the spelling mistake) all the computer sees is 'there is a XXX in the house', so it naturally substitutes the unrecognised word with a similar word that would be likely given the context. The only similiarity necessary is the number of letters; this technology is far from perfect.

    N.B. autocorrect is not the same as predictive text, it does not exist on non-smartphones. It predicts the sentence based on context, spelling mistakes are only part of it. It often uses words that you have recently used for example, so if you say 'when are we meeting up?' one day and then the next day you could type 'when are we' and 'meeting up' might be added in automatically.
     
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    giuliam9

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    Some people have suggested that incorrectly spelling it with a single "r" caused the phone to auto-correct it to "burglar".
    This definitly makes sense, given the context.

    Thank you all. :)


    Ps: Thank you Sparky Malarky for the link, not all of them might be real but they're pretty hilarious all the same!

    N.B. autocorrect is not the same as predictive text, it does not exist on non-smartphones. It predicts the sentence based on context, spelling mistakes are only part of it. It often uses words that you have recently used for example, so if you say 'when are we meeting up?' one day and then the next day you could type 'when are we' and 'meeting up' might be added in automatically.

    Very interesting! Thank you for sharing ;)
     
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