Archive for the ‘Spelling’ Category

Nineveh

June 19, 2014

It started fairly simply, with a BBC radio news report from Iraq (heard from I don’t know which source; BBC news comes to me from several places, including BBC3 more or less directly): a bulletin from the Assyrian city of Nineveh, which the news reader pronounced as

(1) /ˈnajn@vˌe/

instead of what I expected to be

 (2) /ˈnɪn@və/

(where @ in the middle syllable represents a neutral unaccented vowel, ɪ or ə — usually transcribed ɪ, as in Wikipedia, though I sometimes hear ə).

I was, in fact, so astounded by the /aj/ in the first syllable of (1) that I failed to take notes on its source; I’d never heard anything but /ɪ/ in this syllable, and /aj/ is not even remotely like the vowel in the Assyrian pronunciation of the place name. Where would it come from?

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Five for Friday

May 18, 2014

Five items, several of which lead to more complex topics: a Harry Bliss cartoon that I caught, reprinted, in the Funny Times for May; a Zippy on art forgery; a One Big Happy with a kid eggcorn; a Zits with alliteration and rhyme (and the sexual marketplace); and a Rhymes With Orange on consonants and vowels.

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My Hobby Comics

March 24, 2014

Some bounty from the Stanford Linguistics in the Comics freshman seminar, a collection of xkcd cartoons with subheaded metatext “My Hobby”, searched out by Kyle Qian. Kyle found about 1,300 xkcd cartoons online, 36 of them subheaded this way, and he posted 7 of them with discussion. (I’ll put off posting about his comments until he gives me permission. The cartoons are in some sense public, but Kyle’s analysis is certainly not.)

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Spelling confusion

March 11, 2014

Today’s Pearls Before Swine:

 

The phase/faze spelling confusion is covered in lots of usage handbooks and manuals — for example Paul Brians, here. I’m pretty sure that the cartoonist was aiming for faze here.

Snarky spelling and punctuation

October 14, 2013

Three e-cards. The first is one in a long series illustrating the perils of going without punctuation — in this case, without commas that mark off syntactic constituents (in a way that receives expression in speech as well as on the page):

(#1)

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No scatting

August 20, 2013

From yesterday’s “Metropolitan Diary” in the NYT”, “At Kerouac’s Old Place, No Scatting Allowed”, by Carol Knauder:

I love the unintentional typo of the sign in the courtyard of my sister’s West Village apartment building, where it’s rumored Jack Kerouac once lived.

Taken at face value, though, I do wonder why a no scatting zone would be necessary in this day and age. I then imagine under the sign an illustration of Ella Fitzgerald scatting inside a “No” symbol — a circle and a diagonal red line through the picture — stifling her singing “Bu di di bi bu bi dibi…” from “How High the Moon.”

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Odds and ends 8/14/13

August 14, 2013

An assortment of short notes that have come my way recently, on errors, back-formations, penguins, gender roles, and more.

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pure bread

July 29, 2013

From Mike Speriosu on Facebook, this entertaining image:

(#1)

Yes, pure bread poodle. A simple spelling error, based on the homophony of bred and bread and the much greater frequency of bread over bred; errors like bredstick for breadstick are very uncommon, but pure bread / pure-bread / purebread in an animal breeding context is surprisingly frequent.

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Brief notice: judg(e)ment

July 17, 2013

Comment from strangeguitars on my “Internet enlightenment” posting, about the difficult road to the Zen state of Internet enlightenment (no longer caring when someone is wrong on the Internet):

A difficult road, indeed; I wouldn’t have made it past “judgment” (it hurts to type that!).

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Internet enlightenment

July 16, 2013

From several friends, this xkcd:

You must free yourself from judgment and come to the Internet with a Zen mind, no longer caring that Someone Is Wrong On the Internet. In particular, cast away your concerns about spelling.

(I would have had the text go I HERD YOU’RE …But that’s just me.)

 

 


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