Neither Hear Nor Their
You want to applaud a statement. Do you rush into print with, ‘Here, here’? If so, think again. What does that actually mean? That something is present twice? So what?
If new customs creep into language which make sense, then don’t interfere with them. However, if they are corrupting the original meaning and ending up with something ridiculous, it is better to become pedantic: to look carefully at the origins, to examine what is actually meant, and to keep the meaningful version.
‘Hear, hear,’ came from the British Houses of Parliament, where applause was restricted, and arose from shortening the form of ‘Hear him, hear him!’ This had been adopted for some time as a sign of approval and the permitted substitute for whooping and hollering. Apparently the first occasion on which the contraction appeared in writing in the annals of Parliament was in 1769 when, in the House of Commons: ‘Mr. Grenville called out hear! hear!’
So it is all very simple. Whenever this is used, it is a plea to everyone to absorb the sense you believe the speaker (or writer) is making. In effect it means, ‘Listen, listen!’ or ‘Note well’. It is not trying to point out that anything is the opposite of being elsewhere.
Here I cup an ear
To hear ‘Hear, hear!’
You don’t think it’s fair?
Don’t cry. Their their!
(Where ‘There, there,’ first came from, I’ve no idea!)
More Care-less Usage