May 11, 2012

"For my own part I always spell so with lots of f’s and g’s and such like tailey, twirley, loopey things, when my heart is in the tender vein."

Wrote H.G. Wells, who wondered why people "do not grumble more at having to spell correctly" — quoted in this review of "The Language Wars: A History of Proper English." (Which I just bought.)

15 comments:

Patrick said...

That actually sounds like a good book. If I buy, it'll be through the Althouse amazon thingie.

edutcher said...

You mean he wrote like a girl?

I'm surprised the Romster didn't have a few of his buds hold him down while he clipped the "tailey, twirley, loopey things" of his effs and gees.

Chip Ahoy said...

a tender vein with curly things like pea tendrils? Yeah, but I'm over here looking at the Spanish crucigrama that got the guy in trouble for it looking like a code to assassinate Chavez's brother, Adan, and I'm reminded why they suck so bad.

Just look at it. It is very well solved and printed with no curly tender tendril things, but look at it. It is a 12x12 so smaller even than a NYT daily which is 15x15 which make them much easier to make. Even with that shrinkage it has unproven squares all over the place. Those boxes are just hanging there with nothing to cross them and the solver has only one chance at those boxes and that marks the puzzle on sight as a slip shod poorly constructed thing because the constructor could not think of ways to get everything to cross in little patches and then connect the patches into longer thematic entries, you can see how that would be worked out backwards, and that is the hard part you know.

After all that, so many words will predictably end with 'o' or with 'a', you might as well just go fill them in based on the gender of the clue. I'm exaggerating of course but I'm trying to make a point. There's more.

The clues about assassination. Pick out another word in the puzzle and connect that to assassination, like ruedo and apodos, dosel (rude, nicknames, and canopy). So the whole thing seems sparked by Adan and asesinen (murder) in the same craptastic little puzzle. So while I deride it for these things I am also admiring it a little bit for avoiding the o ending of the word assinato while trying hard to overlook its lack of tender dangling curling tendrils.

wyo sis said...

I have a comment, but I'm afraid I might split an infinitive.
I love style manuals, usage guides and the like, but they usually make me very self-conscious about my writing. I'm a terrible speller, and have lots of favorite little quirks that annoy English teachers, like run on sentences and misused commas.

crosspatch said...

I believe it was Franklin who said even an idiot should be able to arrive at several different ways of spelling most any common word.

crosspatch said...

I thinke I shall be more creative in my spelling going forwarde. Final "e" is a pretty safe exploration of the envelope.

Palladian said...

All taht you need to get rgiht is the frsit and lsat lteerts of wrdos and eovyenre wlil siltl be albe to raed waht you hvae wteritn.

Craig said...

I used to tutor Japanese aid workers in English. I had to agree that crimer is a much better way to spell criminal.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

crosspatch,

But it was Peter DeVries who said that a young girl spelled the same word several different ways in one paragraph, "thereby demonstrating spontaneity." (Quoting from memory, so it might not be word-perfect.)

Penny said...

Very cool!

Fiddlehead ferns and Fiddle Faddle served up on a silvery platter.

Craig said...

Oorawnoose works better for me than Uranus

wyo sis said...

Craig
You have solved a huge problem for me as a librarian/teacher who regularly has to deal with Greek Mythology and Science.
Oorawnoose it is forever more.

Carnifex said...

Damn you Chips Ahoy! I hadn't had any conspiracy thoughts in weeks, and then you drag me back in. In Spanish no less, a language I only have a passing knowledge in. It's a good thing there is a B&W Cary Grant comedy playing on the tv...OMG...It's "Arsenic and Old Lace"...NNOOOOOOooooo!!!!

America's Politico said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Don Jansen said...

Maybe that is what Rebecca West appreciated about him...