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Is there a word for when a word always looks misspelled? For… - Nate Bunnyfield [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Nate Bunnyfield

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[Jul. 3rd, 2006|05:11 am]
Nate Bunnyfield
Is there a word for when a word always looks misspelled?

For example, hassle (which I spell as hassel), but neither one looks right.

Maybe this just demonstrated how extraordinarily wrongheaded I can be.

Like I spelled misspelled as mispelled.

From: bob_harris
2006-07-03 05:30 pm (UTC)
I once went through a week-long phase where I couldn't convince myself that you really did spelld "who" W-H-O. It just looked like a made up word to me.
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[User Picture]From: subplot2
2006-07-03 06:23 pm (UTC)
It has nothing to do with you being wrongheaded and everything to do with the capriciousness of standardized spelling.

Given that spelling was standardized during the early stages of the Great Vowel Shift, our vowel graphemes aren't even accurate. Standardized spelling is overrated.
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[User Picture]From: lazyman
2006-07-04 08:19 pm (UTC)
Do you think the use of text-messaging/IM contractions and shorthand will bring about the demise of standardized spelling?
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[User Picture]From: subplot2
2006-07-04 10:11 pm (UTC)

In which I repeat myself several times...

Short answer:


Long answer:

Mass communication contributes to standardization. The first attempts to standardize the language followed the appearance of the printing press. So in many ways the internet etc. leads to a more uniform language.

I think netspeak has and will be incorporated into the language very slowly. It's a tough thing to gauge, and descriptive vs. prescriptive grammarians will disagree, but we all know that prescriptive grammarians are assholes. ;) I have no doubt that netspeak will fold into the language over the next century, but the written language (esp. formal writing informed by prescriptions) changes much more slowly than the spoken language.

So, yes, high school English teachers will bitch about it but some of netspeak will likely stick with the next generations and some of it won't.

This in and of itself isn't big enough to bring about the demise of standardized spelling, in fact I think it will be a very minor change compared to something like the loss of inflectional endings from Middle English (the ramifications of which we still feel today, although hardly anyone knows what inflectional endings are).

I think given our growing literacy rates, standardization will stay fairly intact. That's not to say that standardization isn't a flawed beast: it is reflective of an earlier form of English than is spoken today and is deeply steeped in class bias. To learn how to spell correctly, you have to turn off the "logic button" in your head, because sounding it out really doesn't work unless you've been transplanted from the 16th century.

I would say standardized spelling is stronger now than it was at the beginning of the 20th century simply due to the rise in literacy rates that accompany technological advancements in mass communication. There's also a glass ceiling with standardization, because many, many people who are very intelligent and literate are terrible spellers. Some people have the brain for it, others don't. Whether this is a matter of educational environment or cognitive ability (or both), I really can't say. I just know it exists.

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[User Picture]From: subplot2
2006-07-05 03:37 pm (UTC)
Here is a rather obnoxious article on spelling reform.

I'd tepidly argue for the IPA, if anything.
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[User Picture]From: lazyman
2006-07-06 09:56 am (UTC)
Wow, that AP article is obnoxious. And hardly consistent. For example, "aulso" is not phonetically the same as "also".

Just for reference, answers.com is essentially an commercial, unacknowledged mirror of Wikipedia. Better to go to the "source".

The IPA is interesting, but probably likely to be as successful as Esperanto. Engineered language systems never seem to take hold, it's really an organic system that works. I think you're right that mass communications demand more standardization rather than a relaxation of the rules.
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[User Picture]From: subplot2
2006-07-06 02:01 pm (UTC)
The IPA is interesting, but probably likely to be as successful as Esperanto.

Totally. But if there were to be an attempt, that would be the most logical choice. I think the window for purposeful reformation closed with EMdE, unles some major/catastrophic event comes along (global warming and linguistic change: a thesis no one will chair!).

We can't even get lexicographers to agree to use it uniformly, with some dictionaries still using a different system of diacritics for pronunciation guides.

There was once a racist cartoon that poked fun of Mexicans (specifically the higher "i" in words like "sister"-- as far as I know Spanish doesn't have an /I/ phoneme) that was completely inconsistent. More proof that if you make fun of people you inevitably look like an ass.
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