21 August 2009

Word Week Concluded

...Because 'round here, a week has ten or eleven days in it.

Today, I'd like to talk about spelling.
No, I mean the spelling that DOESN'T involve a transgendered skank-mutant.

Some people are ardent supporters of correct spelling and grammar. They will go out of their (not there or they're) way to point out the spelling deficiencies of others, often in the most dickish ways possible. They seem to take pleasure in correcting even the slightest verbal misstep.

I am one of those assholes.
It's kinda hard to make me out in the background...

I came by my quirky (read: shitty) habit honestly. My mother was an English major in college (undergrad), and has a Master's in Journalism. I wasn't allowed many liberties with language growing up. Words like "ain't" and phrases like "all of a sudden" were verboten. I was always encouraged to find another word to use in place of profanity. And so I played by the rules.

Perhaps that's why later in life I've come to enjoy playing fast and loose with words.
"All of a sudden, rules ain't SHIT, mom."

No, my mother is a very sweet woman, and thanks to her tutelage when I was young, I today find myself able to talk to a wide variety of people from different backgrounds with ease. So it worked out pretty well.

But back to spelling, and the correctness of it, and how it is one of my obsession points. I know quite a few smart people, people who have mastered smart person subjects like physics and linear regressions and chemistry. Theez peepel cannt spel fur sh!t. And it isn't even as if people have a decent excuse for misspelling words these days. Almost every computer application known to man now has incorporated at least a rudimentary spell-checker to point out any suspected misspellings (usually in red).

Hell this entry alone has a few.

Apparently, there is NO chance I was trying to spell 'skunk'.

I think Swank
Shank Stank Spank is now officially the name of my fledgling rock band. Or maybe it's a children's book than I'm going to write.

But before I set off to change the world of kid's literary fiction, I thought I'd point out a few words that have caused me some problems in the past. The first is the word 'ofter'. It is an actual word, although I had no idea of that the first time I typed it by accident (I can't remember if I was angling to type 'often' or 'after'), and as such, spell check didn't catch it. But my coworkers did, and they made me feel the sting of being a grammar and spelling prick in the past, and I suppose I had earned that.
Still, here's the "logic" that my mind refuses to track: Some programming egghead put a never-used twelfth-century word like 'ofter' into spell-checker's library, but neglected to include 'skank'.

The other work that repeatedly caused me problems was 'inconvenience'. Not because of some corny joke like "It's really inconvenient to spell inconvenience", but rather because of what happens when you spell that word as 'inconvienence'. Back in the early part of this decade, I had my work email set up to automatically check for and fix any spelling errors. The phrase "I apologize for any inconvienence this may have caused" is what I wrote. Once the spell-checker did its job, the phrase
"I apologize for any incontinence this may have caused" is the sentiment I sent company-wide.

Not my finest moment.

As this photo (sent to me from my friend's wife) clearly illustrates, spelling is becoming less important in today's society. Even in the hallowed halls of education.
Shoe polish: one of the last holdouts for intergrated spell-check.

I blame texting/twittering for the dismal state of people's attention to spelling.
But then again, I blamed my last sinus infection on that too.

I thought of two more words that sound dirty but aren't:

Oh, also


ZDub said...

Spell check always tries to change my name to "scary", which is pretty on the mark.

I think your neat. And smart.

Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...

I am a whorable speller. Too bad spell checker can't decipher my mistakes when I write then and than. It really bothers me that I have so much trouble with words like accept and except. My one regret is that I never made it to the tenth grade.

le @ thirdontheright said...

now I always suspected there was a freaky geek in there somewhere you big nutter ... now write that kids book - many hugs le xoxo

ps I went to hell's gate last saturday - hells gate - who knew ... now do a bit on strange and unsual place names :)

Susan said...

I always misspell happenned.

It happenns.

Lorrie Veasey said...

That was actually me

Pearl said...

Ahh. I, too, am a speller; and because of that, the spelling-issues default person amongst friends.

It's a lot of responsibility -- hence the margaritas.


Hi, I'm Amy! said...

I live in the South and there are a few phrases here that bug the shit out of me. Mind you, they aren't spelling, but still.

1) Seen. People never use it correctly. As in, "I seen you the other day". It's so gross.

2) My husband says "aint never" and I always tell him that if he "aint never" then he actually HAS. This pisses him off.

3) Salmon. They pronounce the L.

Also, my best friend spells tomorrow, tomarrow. I have never corrected her, because it makes me giggle.