From: Jules Richardson <julesrichardsonuk_at_yahoo.co.uk>
Date: Mon Feb 2 16:20:19 2004

Ok, my take on this...

> What is the burning desire that makes people go out of their way to correct
> grammar in posts? Unlike in programming where a decimal point in the wrong
> place means something completely different , you can misspell a word and the
> target audience still knows exactly what your talking about.

Well it annoys me to see people who can't spell or use correct
punctuation when using their first language. I'm not irritated at them,
but at the school system which taught them, because if they've been
through a reasonable schooling system then they should be using correct
spelling and punctuation without even thinking.

I also get annoyed at myself when I come back to read things that I've
written and notice mistakes (I expect I've made a few in this post!) I
suppose I like to take pride in my work, no matter what form it takes -
and it's my own failing not to realise that when it comes to the written
word, some others don't :-)

> The English
> language is full of words bastardized by the locals to communicate with
> whatever society conquered England at the time (Vikings, Normans, etc). The
> language and spelling changes slightly every year and can be used to figure
> out what society and era the text came from

Ahh, but aren't spelling changes due to foreign influences (meaning
outside of community, not necessarily country) different from spelling
changes through laziness or bad tuition? Plus, the former are more
likely to be adopted by a smaller community first and then spread to a
wider area, whilst the latter tend to be isolated and random occurances
across a far wider area.

As an example researching the use of 'thief' and 'theef' (a far older
equivalent) will give you some useful data. Researching 'theif', a
reasonably common modern-day error, will not likely yield anything
useful as it will have roughly the same chance of occuring throughout
the educated English-speaking world independant of location (yes there
will be some discrepancies to that)

Dialects are another matter; English and American English being good
examples. It's amazing how many American English spellings are now
becoming commonplace over here.

> (I bet bootyliscious is in the dictionary by now).

bootylicious in these parts, I believe ;) Joking aside, that is - as far
as I know - a new word rather than something that's originated in a
common mis-spelling...

If anyone's got this far without falling asleep, the "Common Errors in
English" page at http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~brians/errors/errors.html is
an interesting resource for language nuts (although it should be "Common
Errors in American English" - see 'ax', 'offense' etc.)

Similarly, the World Wide Words page at
http://www.worldwidewords.org/articles gives a nice history of some
English words and how they have altered over the years, particularly due
to overseas influences.

Thus endeth the lesson...


Received on Mon Feb 02 2004 - 16:20:19 GMT

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