Archive for the ‘Spelling’ Category

Droit du Chili

December 29, 2022

From Ryan Tamares on Facebook on 12/19:

In this morning’s work queue:

(Ryan is Head of Collection Services at Stanford Law School, overseeing the cataloging, processing, and preservation of the Law Library’s collection, so things like this come to him for cataloguing)

Then a FB exchange:

Jackie Koerber Magagnosc: Not law of the food, rats

AZ > JKM: I too was hoping for an authority on the law governing hot peppers, or perhaps the law governing spicy meat stews, but it was not to be.

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Pronouncing my name

December 13, 2022

A little posting, something I can get done in the time I have. I should explain that since 7 pm yesterday, I have slept 14 hours (and it’s not yet 2 pm). I don’t feel feverish, don’t have a fever, do have periodic crippling joint pain and muscle cramps in my hands and arms, but mostly narcolepsy rules; as the days roll on, it is, however, becoming less ferocious and more bearable.

Meanwhile, in my waking moments, while I practice muscle relaxation, I’ve had time to think about stuff. Thoughts that have expanded today’s intended Big Posting, on name mockery and Benedict Cumberbatch, into something even more ambitious. And random thoughts inspired by stuff that’s come in my mail, including an old topic: what (American) English speakers do with the somewhat challenging pronunciation of my family name, especially that word-initial consonant cluster [zw].

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anti-Semetic

November 24, 2022

On the spelling of this word with the letter E (rather than I) and its pronunciation with [ɛ] (rather than [ɪ]), both recently noticeable in my country because of the great increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions here: worth systematic investigation.

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Outrageous POP

September 30, 2022

🐅 🐅 🐅 tiger tiger tiger for ultimate September; tomorrow the inaugural rabbits of October will bound in

In today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, set in the Schmancy auction house — think Christie’s or Sotheby’s — a Mötley Crüe cruet POPped (phrasal overlap portmanteaued) to  Motley Crüet (somehow the first röck döt got lost in the compression process):


(#1) Wayno’s title: “Tinny Aftertaste”, combining the metal of heavy metal with the taste of a cruet’s contents (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

To understand this, you need to know about fancy-schmancy auction houses and how they operate; about cruets and their function in dining; and about heavy metal music and the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe and their reputation for vulgarly outrageous behavior, which clashes with the civility of oil-and-vinegar dressings for salads, so yielding the humor of anomalous juxtaposition.

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Mi okapi es su okapi

August 12, 2022

From Bert Vaux on Facebook on 8/10, one in a series of digitally altered artworks:


(#1) [BV caption:] “renaissance portrait of herd of okapis with king’s college cambridge in background, digital art”

My FB response: I’m just fond of okapis. We need more okapi art.

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Thing sliced ham

June 25, 2022

On Facebook yesterday, Stewart Kramer reported from Grandma’s Restaurant in Oceanside CA (way down south, between L.A. and San Diego):


(#1) [SK:] Thing sliced ham? Thing as in Addams family, Fantastic Four, or Cat in the Hat? None of those seem likely ham slicers, except Green Eggs and Ham. The food was good, anyway.

For entertainment, SK jumps right in with a few fictional characters named Thing, knowing full well that they’re entirely, preposterously, irrelevant. Then, commenters chose to lump thing sliced together with “spelling mistakes” that are misapprehensions about how some words are conventionally spelled, surely not what’s going on when a writer is aiming for thin sliced. Instead, thing sliced looks like a nice example of a pure typo, an error in hitting the right keys on a keyboard.

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The Z of death

March 12, 2022

From Andras Kornai on Facebook today:

AK: As they say on Sesame Street: brought to you by the letter Z!


(#1) A tank (Andras says it’s a Pantsir missile system) with the glyph Z on it — not a letter in the Cyrillic alphabet (in which both Ukrainian and Russian are written) and now symbolizing the Russian iron fist of death

Livia Polanyi [pursuing the Sesame Street theme]: Zombie zombie zombie starts with Z

AZ > LP: The letter Z long ago became part of my identity, a symbol of who I was. Now it’s become the equivalent of a swastika, and I feel that I have personally been assaulted, dirtied, and shamed. (I manage to surmount Z is for Zombie as just a piece of cultural silliness. But the Z on the tanks is, literally, dead serious.)

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Break, break, break

December 1, 2021

🐇 🐇 🐇 In the 11/2 One Big Happy, Joe fails to honor a promise, which of course makes Ruthie think about hyphenating printed text:

(#1)

NOAD on the verb break (Joe: sense 3a; Ruthie: sense 1a) and the noun word (Joe: sense 3b; Ruthie: sense 1a):

verb break:

1 [a] separate or cause to separate into pieces …

… 3 [with object] [a] fail to observe (a law, regulation, or agreement)

noun word:

1 [a] a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed

… 3 (one’s word) [a] one’s account of the truth, especially when it differs from that of another person: in court it would have been his word against mine. [b] a promise or assurance: everything will be taken care of — you have my word. …

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Desert Island spelling

October 15, 2021

A wrenchingly funny E. S. Glenn cartoon in the latest (10/18/21) issue of the New Yorker:


(#1) The usual tiny cartoon Desert Island now has two neighborhoods: the customary grassy tropical island, plus a small beach zone, suitable for message-bearing  bottles to wash up on

Side notes: the castaway is shoeless, shirtless, and gaunt, his  makeshift cutoffs worn and patched — clearly, in a bad way. Meanwhile, Glenn has contrived to identify the castaway as Black (without shading his skin, as he did for the castaways in an earlier DI cartoon, reproduced below). Further, the cartoon imagines messages in bottles to be a kind of marine postal service, in which specific senders and receivers exchange messages in slow motion over great distances.

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The snow border collie

September 1, 2021

🐇🐇🐇 It was 8/30, and the comic strip Mother Goose and Grimm went POP!, exploded in a phrasal overlap portmanteau, the one in the title:


(with the snow-sliding dog seen doing an airborne trick in the second panel of the strip).

Not your everyday POP, because it works straightforwardly in pronunciation but works only imperfectly in spelling:

snowboarder + border collie = snow border collie

Distinct spellings, boarder vs. border, homophones in both AmE and BrE (but see below).

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