great vowel shift in lame mans termsI didn't even realize what this was until I read it out loud to the missus, and she said "snowclone!" It is … as Drew points out in the comments ... an eggcorn, not a snowclone (or, as my fingers just tried to make it, a snoneclow, which would be a kind of typographical spoonerism or something.)
lay man > lame manIt is, as Ben Z points out, in the eggcorn database, but I didn't find direct hits on Language Log or even by googling (although I'm real busy and only did the most cursory of searches.) Reanalysis of word boundaries with nasals is known in English: a nadder/an adder, an apkin/a napkin, an ewt/a newt are all talked about — not vouching for the histories here, of course. But this is different, I think: You get layman as a compound, and for some speakers the 'lay' part of the compound is probably not too transparent (I suppose I say 'lay public', but it's pretty marginal for me.) So, maybe somebody takes the little step to seeing layman as a really negative term.
PS to the searcher: Post a comment or email me and I'll happily send you refs on non-technical treatments of the Great Vowel Shift. And if you even wonder: I revere exactly this kind of creative use of language, like almost all readers of this blog. It's who we are, it's what we do.
Image from some story about Jesus explaining historical phonology to some layman.