Fun with cot/caught
Passed on by Jeff Shaumeyer on Facebook, about the story “RCMP say vicious beating of gay man at St. Leon’s Hot Springs a hate crime” in the Arrow Lake News (BC):
It’s a vicious hate-crime and the RCMP should get their man, although it may take a bit longer if they keep looking for “….a Caucasian male standing at about 6 feet tall (180 cm), around 44-years-old with a stalky, muscular build.” ‘Stalky’? Like celery?
What we have here is an instance of the a-ɔ merger (the merger in cot-caught and many other pairs), in favor of ɔ, so that stocky is pronounced like stalky. And then the journalist spelled by ear. Possibly the journalist thought that stockiness had something to do with height, as in stalks, which would make the misspelling an eggcorn.
And indeed among the cot/caught mergers in the Eggcorn Database is stock >> stalk (entry here), but chiefly in stalk-still for stock-still.