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Source: (consider it) Thread: Is Standardized Spelling Elitism?
mousethief

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Interesting point about not being able to look up wrongly-spelled words in the dictionary to see what they mean. Random bad spelling has to be a worse nightmare for ELLs than standard spelling, which is horrific enough.

quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
While I'm here - what exactly does "elite" mean in this context?

Not meaning to speak for palimpsest, but often in conversations like this "elite" means "people who can do something I cannot."

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the giant cheeseburger
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quote:
Originally posted by Alogon:

Pre-Web, I'd hang my head in shame when told that we Americans are a particularly sloppy and stupid lot, not knowing our own language. This may be true enough, but we are not alone! Take anything written by a French or German member of the hoi-polloi to Google Translate and see if it (or you) can make anything of it. One of my Facebook friends is a young Finn, and machine translators and I can't make sense of even the briefest of posts or comments from his page.

Wait, so you're saying that other people are stupid or sloppy just because automated translation software is still a work in progress than can only translate words rather than meaning?

This would have to be one of the dumbest things I've ever read on the Ship.

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Palimpsest
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quote:
Originally posted by rufiki:
quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
A single way to spell is the mark of an elite that values ease of reading over the difficulty of learning.

Doesn't standardized spelling make learning easier? If you come across a word you don't know, you can look it up. Same goes for people reading text in a foreign language.
The asymmetry is that it's easier to learn to read text with standardized spelling and harder to learn to write text with standardized spelling.

This view comes out of a discussion I had recently with some Arabic typographers who said that there is growing evidence that classical Arabic scripts are harder to read then ones with the classical contractions and optional diacritics filled in. This may be part of an asymmetry introduced by manual calligraphy; the contracted form may have been chosen for ease of writing rather than ease of reading. Printing changes the balance, since text becomes written once and read by many people.


When I mentioned elites, I was talking about people who work with written texts. I know this is a narrow definition and others might prefer a definition that references money or political power. [Biased]

My comment about "Selfie" is just how rapidly it became part of the language. It probably takes longer for new words to enter the common vocabulary if there's a standardized vocabulary. e.g. French and loan words from English.

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Curiosity killed ...

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<tangent>Finnish is complicated by having two versions - a spoken and a written form. The translators expect the written form; Finns talking informally between themselves use the spoken form, even in writing.

I have a couple of Finnish friends on Flickr / 365, even met one when she was over earlier this year. When they chat between themselves the translator gives up in disgust.</tangent>

Even using correct English the misunderstandings can be rife. I posted a comment on one of Finnish friends' pictures asking what the fledgling birds he'd photographed were because they looked like thrushes to me. He googled thrush and did not enjoy the resulting images. What I should have given him was the species name Turdus philomelus or Turdus viscivorus or specified song or mistle thrush. (The photograph was of fieldfares, Turdus pilaris)

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Galilit
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For many years I was way the best in my class at spelling...I guess that is another thing that made me the arrogant little (5-foot-4) "$^&*%" that I am today...

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Desert Daughter
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/Tangent/ Finnish does not fare well in google translate and other similar softwares because its syntax (participle constructions) and the fact that it is an agglutinative language makes it difficult to handle for automatic translation.

My own notions of Finnish are minimal, I understand more than I can speak, but I love that language precisely for its defiance of any notions of user-friendliness [Devil]

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Higgs Bosun
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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
<tangent>Finnish is complicated by having two versions - a spoken and a written form. The translators expect the written form; Finns talking informally between themselves use the spoken form, even in writing.

I"m not sure this is a tangent. I think part of the problem about spelling, punctuation etc. is the failure to recognize that spoken and written language have become somewhat different, and should be treated differently. In most contexts when language is spoken, there is a lot of context to give the sentence meaning and to disambiguate potentially confusing items. I guess few of us habitually read out loud, whereas reading without speaking was rare some centuries ago.

When I read something which has confused, for instance, your/you're or whose/who's, there/their/they're, I often just cannot parse the sentence, it make no sense.

Punctuation is often necessary in order to make the meaning clear. For instance, here is the winning entry in a competition the Guardian had for haiku about apostrophes:

quote:

I've run out of food.
I'm going to eat the dogs.
What apostrophe?


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Tortuf
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We, hopefully, use written words to communicate. While there are other uses for written words, it seems to me that communication is the typical motivation for writing something.

If you wish to communicate you ought to be prepared to write words in a way that makes communication accessible and susceptible to only your intended meaning. That requires several things, including a communication that is spelled so that the target audience can read and comprehend the written words.

If you wish to communicate and feel that your spelling ought to triumph over the standard spelling for those same words you are demonstrating one of several things:

You are targeting an audience that shares your spelling proclivities;

You are so important that you need not use standard spelling. (In which case it is not necessary that your communication is hard to comprehend because it it highly likely to be bollocks anyway), or;

You never learned to spell, or you ignore your spell checker when using a computer.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:

My comment about "Selfie" is just how rapidly it became part of the language. It probably takes longer for new words to enter the common vocabulary if there's a standardized vocabulary. e.g. French and loan words from English.

We do have a standard vocabulary,* it is just not as rigid as some.
quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:
or you ignore your spell checker when using a computer.

Yes! Spelling properly has never been more accessible and suddenly it is elitist?


* otherwise dictionaries would be near impossible.

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The Rogue
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My view has softened over the years. I can spell and grammar fairly naturally and I have been snobbish and put off by writing that wasn't.

Now I have realised that just because I might have to work a bit harder at understanding something it doesn't make it less worth reading. Sometimes "poor" writing can be interpreted in two contradictory ways in which case I will take my pick or go back to the author for clarity.

One exception is that part of my job is processing payroll and I insist in everything being given to me in writing and if there is the slightest possibly of ambiguity I will go back for clarification.

I can understand using poor spelling as a filter for job applications, purely because of the quantity that can come through. It is a shame but if someone hasn't even bothered to use a spell checker on a computerised cv that does say something about their possible attitude to the job. By the way, I recently advertised a cleaning position and thanks to spell checkers a lot of people had experience in Hovering.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
When I mentioned elites, I was talking about people who work with written texts.

Emails and text messages are written texts. Very, very few people in our culture do not work with written texts.

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Desert Daughter
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what's wrong with striving to emulate the "elite"?

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SusanDoris

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Years ago when I was teaching, I remember there was a book called 'The Bad Speller's Dictionary'. The children enjoyed using it!

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Palimpsest
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
When I mentioned elites, I was talking about people who work with written texts.

Emails and text messages are written texts. Very, very few people in our culture do not work with written texts.
That is now true. Universal literacy in the United States probably happened in the early 20th century. The most recent change is now a majority of people can produce typed or computer display text so bad penmanship is no longer the major hindrance to legibility.

This makes the complaints about elitism rather archaic. There's a huge amount of badly written text out there rather than a smaller amount of well produced text. An early crack in the wall was the switching of newspapers to photo-offset. Before that conversion one rarely saw a typographic error or misspelling in the New York Times. All those professional linotype operators quietly fixed it as they entered the copy. It's gotten better with spell checking, but there are many oddities that automated spell checkers will not catch, especially in verbatim text.

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Palimpsest
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
But "selfie" does not contrevene the rules. It is a new word added, such as all laguanges do. Selfie demonstrates collective acceptance, not random illiteracy. In short, it is a demonstration of why rules matter, not the opposite.

Extremely rapid collective acceptance means readers have a tolerance for new words, new usage and variant spellings that they disambiguate by context. You end up using words before they have a canonical spelling.
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Palimpsest
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quote:
Originally posted by Desert Daughter:
what's wrong with striving to emulate the "elite"?

That's not the relevant question. No one is complaining about people who try to spell words correctly. What's wrong with not striving to emulate the so-called "elite"?
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LeRoc

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Something interesting is happening in the split between the Spanish and the Portuguese language. In many words, when an l follows another consonant in Spanish (and ultimately in Latin), it is replaced by an r in Portuguese.

So, we get:
'White' = blanco (S) → branco (P)
'Town square'= plaza (S) → praça (P)

Apparently, this didn't happened historically all at once, but some words made this transition earlier than others. In the midst of this process, standardized spellings were introduced for both languages. At that time, not all words had made the transition yet.

So in the official spelling, we still have:
'Plant'= planta (S) = planta (P)

However, in rural Brazil and in popular neighbourhoods of the cities, people will say (and often write) pranta.

The question is: is this the wrong spelling, or is this the 'elitists' trying to stop a natural development of a language?

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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Palimpsest
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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:

However, in rural Brazil and in popular neighbourhoods of the cities, people will say (and often write) pranta.

The question is: is this the wrong spelling, or is this the 'elitists' trying to stop a natural development of a language?

My understanding is that much of Quebec French is viewed in France as some sort of archaic provincial dialect. I would be curious if this Brazilian rural usage is a new simplification of Portuguese or an old rural usage in Portugal. Other than that, I can only offer the factoid that in the Microsoft localization software Brazilian Portuguese is seen as sufficiently different then Portuguese that it has it's own set of hyphenation rules.
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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
But "selfie" does not contrevene the rules. It is a new word added, such as all laguanges do. Selfie demonstrates collective acceptance, not random illiteracy. In short, it is a demonstration of why rules matter, not the opposite.

Extremely rapid collective acceptance means readers have a tolerance for new words, new usage and variant spellings that they disambiguate by context. You end up using words before they have a canonical spelling.
Selfie follows conventional spelling pattern. It could have been selfy but the core self is retained. Regardless, even a new word such as pwned follows the rules of usage and acceptance. Online communication speed acceptance, but does not change the basic rules. I think one could make a case for it strengthening common spellings rather than the reverse.

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Palimpsest
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Selfie follows conventional spelling pattern. It could have been selfy but the core self is retained. Regardless, even a new word such as pwned follows the rules of usage and acceptance. Online communication speed acceptance, but does not change the basic rules. I think one could make a case for it strengthening common spellings rather than the reverse.

The precedent is that Radio and Television in the United States really reduced regional accents and word usage in favor of a national network standard. However that hasn't stopped rapid evolution of local idioms such as Valley speak. Increased technology comes with the propagation of variant spellings. "Pwned" may be in wide spread use, but so is the variant spelling "owned". [Smile] If you believe some of the many explanations in the frequently not suitable for work Urban Dictionary, it was the playful adaption of a misspelled word used in a computer game.
Similarly "teh gayz" is another example of a recent common satirically misspelled usage. Variant spellings and mock dialect words are enabled by the improvement in printed communication. The previous revolution gave us "Mr. Dooley on Ivrything and Ivrybody".

If you complain about how incomprehensible a variant spelling is, you're also going to miss out on the riffs of the playful or regional. You could complain that non-standardized spelling is elitism. [Smile]

[codefix]

[ 03. December 2013, 05:05: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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lilBuddha
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I am not complaining. I am saying that the variant spellings fall into accepted variations, therefore do not contravene convention. It is having a standard reference that makes the variations comprehensible.
Rhyming slang is a good example of how convention anchors the unconventional.

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I put on my rockin' shoes in the morning
Hallellou, hallellou

Posts: 17627 | From: the round earth's imagined corners | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged
Palimpsest
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That raises the interesting question of how unconventional misspellings are. Google usually can detect misspellings and this is mostly based on the data of prior misspellings of the same word. If some words are frequently misspelled in a few ways are these ways acceptable variants? If googling the misspelled word brings up the correct spelling and the dictionary definition does that define the word as an acceptable variant? (e.g. googling the word "googling").
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LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
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quote:
Palimpsest: My understanding is that much of Quebec French is viewed in France as some sort of archaic provincial dialect.
I speak French well, and sometimes I have to work together with someone speaking Québécois all day. Sorry towards the Canadian Shipmates, but this gives me a headache in the evening that only a white wine will cure [Biased]

quote:
Palimpsest: I would be curious if this Brazilian rural usage is a new simplification of Portuguese or an old rural usage in Portugal.
No, I don't think it has much in common with rural Portugal usage. I often work in Lusophone countries in Africa, where the language is more similar to that of Portugal. What is spoken in Brazil is really quite different.

quote:
Palimpsest: Other than that, I can only offer the factoid that in the Microsoft localization software Brazilian Portuguese is seen as sufficiently different then Portuguese that it has it's own set of hyphenation rules.
Definitely. I'm using software in Brazilian Portuguese right now as I type [Smile] The difference between the language spoken in Portugal and Brazil is considerable, much bigger than that between the UK and the US, or between the Netherlands and Flandres. Portuguese is almost in the process of splitting up into two different languages. The question is whether the 'elitists' will let it [Biased]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
That raises the interesting question of how unconventional misspellings are.

Misspellings online seem to work because there is a standard.
Common =/= conventional.

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I put on my rockin' shoes in the morning
Hallellou, hallellou

Posts: 17627 | From: the round earth's imagined corners | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged
Palimpsest
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
That raises the interesting question of how unconventional misspellings are.

Misspellings online seem to work because there is a standard.
Common =/= conventional.

In Google search, misspellings work because there are a lot of people using them, not because there is a single standard usage. The search results are pruned using context with other words and what results prior users found useful.

The unreasonable effectiveness of data reflects Google's conclusion that "simple models and a lot of data trump more elaborate models based on less
data" where elaborate models includes tagging as "the correct spelling". The standard spelling may be found by reverse dictionary lookup but it's not essential to the search; there are too many search targets that are not correctly spelled.

Bear in mind that when Google is talking about large data they are talking about large data. I heard a presentation on their work with semantic search where they are first trying to read every public web page on the web in order to get data. A lot of problems become noise when you have a million examples of a misspelling.

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Jane R
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Desert Daughter:
quote:
The French language is notoriously difficult to spell correctly.
REALLY? Now, I always found French spelling a relief after grappling with the intricacies of English. The main reason I liked it was because once I'd learned the French rules for pronunciation I could read aloud any French word I liked and pronounce it correctly. Not so easy to do this in English...

I blame the Great English Vowel Shift myself. But trying to write down a language with between 15 and 22 different vowel sounds* using an alphabet with only 6 vowel letters doesn't help.

*depending on your dialect

Posts: 3958 | From: Jorvik | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
L'organist
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Standardised spelling is not elitist, it is essential and to pretend otherwise, especially basing such mis-belief on a manufactured "class" bias is foolish and wrong.

Why?

Well, English as a spoken language - thinking especially British English here - is a lazy language: we use only a small part of our lung capacity and our faces often lack mobility which restricts the variations in sound. As a result words with very different meanings can frequently sound the same.

Example: hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia. If mis-heard then the only hope is that someone is able to smell the breath of the person suffering from the first, because treatment for the second could be fatal.

Granted, this is an extreme example but there are other words which sound the same or very similar but have different meanings.

Of course, homophones can give amusement too:
The Reverend Wright decided to write of the right way to perform the right.

Teaching children correct spelling enables them to communicate on paper or screen with less risk of being misunderstood. This aim is not elitist.

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la vie en rouge
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In Metropolitan France, and especially in Paris, québecois is generally viewed as rather cute and parochial. The main differences are to do with vocabulary and accent though, rather than spelling of the same words.

However, and that being said, the main thing that makes writing correct French such a bloody nightmare is not actually spelling as such, but grammer*

To wit, the words

Donner
Donnez
Donnais
Donnait
Donnaient
Donné
Donnée
Donnés
Données

(myriad conjugations of the verb "to give")

are ALL pronounced more or less the same. Knowing which one you are supposed to use is a question of grammar, and if you don't use the right one you look a bit lazy and careless. Still, some very educated people get them wrong. Don't tell anyone [Smile] , but my boss (partner in a top law firm, so not a stupid or uneducated person by any means) is a terrible speller. This comes about because he writes down what he hears in his head instead of thinking through the grammar rules, and he's going too fast to make sure he's got it all right. Fortunately he has a good PA (moi) who goes behind him making sure it's corrected, because otherwise it doesn't make a fantastic impression on the client… Another example: my boyfriend teaches in a middle school. One of the kids' favourite occupations consists of trying to catch a teacher out making a spelling mistake on the board (usually a missing agreement - one of the last three in the list above).

*(unintentional) typo, but in the context of this thread I think I quite like the irony so I'm going to leave it there [Big Grin]

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Higgs Bosun
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quote:
Originally posted by la vie en rouge:

However, and that being said, the main thing that makes writing correct French such a bloody nightmare is not actually spelling as such, but grammer*

To wit, the words

Donner
Donnez
Donnais
Donnait
Donnaient
Donné
Donnée
Donnés
Données

(myriad conjugations of the verb "to give")

are ALL pronounced more or less the same. Knowing which one you are supposed to use is a question of grammar, and if you don't use the right one you look a bit lazy and careless.

Which is why French educationalists love a dictation test in exams. Some years back I took the diplome exam for L'Alliance Française. It started with a nightmare dictation. Then (after one's feeble attempt had been collected in) the written paper arrived. The first question was a comprehension question, and there was a sinking feeling when you realised that the middle of the passage was what you had just had for the dictation, and you had not made head not tail of it. I did pass, but "sans mention".
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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Higgs Bosun:
quote:

I've run out of food.
I'm going to eat the dogs.
What apostrophe?


That definitely gets a [Overused]


I've never heard of the word 'pwned' before. Was it a misprint or is it a Welsh word that has somehow acquired an English ending? If so, it's very surprising if it has migrated into English as far away from most Welsh speakers as Seattle.

On the confusion about 'thrush' in Finnish, I was half expecting the link to take one to medical illustrations of embarrassing skin infections.

La vie en rouge, it's nearly 50 years since my last school French lesson. Nevertheless, you can't imagine how cheering it is to learn that a lot of French people can't spell their language correctly either, particularly not being able to write down the right endings when they are all said the same.

Do they have problems remembering which gender goes with which noun? This is something we all found irrational, frustrating and difficult - so much for the French claim that their language was in some way more logical than anyone else's.

[ 06. December 2013, 11:09: Message edited by: Enoch ]

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Eutychus
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# 3081

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I've never heard of the word 'pwned' before.

It's leetspeak for to be conquered (but to preserve hosts' sanity, please no leet here*).

French spelling has deteriorated noticeably with the advent of text messaging (which doesn't take kindly to accents either), and the agreements are too tortuous for a standard Word spell-checker to catch all of them. My colleagues who translate into French use Antidote. I have a particular inability to get preceding direct object agreements right - I think I must have been absent the day we did them in school.

Genders are rarely confused by native speakers though, with the possible exception of a few tricky words such as victime (which is feminine even though most generic nouns referring to people are masculine) and silence which "looks" feminine but is masculine and a couple I always have to look up, such as horaire (timetable).

A Nigerian I know who has recently arrived in France from Spain where he has lived for ten years says Spanish is much easier because it is always, consistently, pronounced as it is spelled, and I think he's right.

As to English, George Bernard Shaw famously said "fish" should be spelled "ghoti": "f" as in "tough", "i" as in "women" and "ti" as in "station".

*(While on the French theme, though, a prize to anyone who can spot the hidden leet in this ad for a geeky ISP - I actually have this exact router and very cool it looks too)

[ETA and I don't care what the OED says, that "z" in "standardized" in the title is getting to me. Especially as I have just had to complete a translation using that variant]

[ 06. December 2013, 11:28: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Eutychus
From the edge
# 3081

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I've just realised that "leet" is of course derived from "elite", which suggests that the answer to the OP is "no" [Big Grin]

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Albertus
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# 13356

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Teaching children correct spelling enables them to communicate on paper or screen with less risk of being misunderstood. This aim is not elitist.

And I think that's all that ever needs to be said on the subject, surely? (In fact it's anything but elitist because it is about removing barriers to clear expression and communication. )

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L'organist
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...unless, of course, you're confusing it with a millstream...

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ArachnidinElmet
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# 17346

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
...As to English, George Bernard Shaw famously said "fish" should be spelled "ghoti": "f" as in "tough", "i" as in "women" and "ti" as in "station".

...

Yes, the author John Scalzi has a cat named Ghlaghghee (Fluffy) making the same point.

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LeRoc

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# 3216

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In the Netherlands, there is a group who wants to introduce a simplified 'scientific' spelling for the Dutch language.

For example, whenever a Dutch word ends in a d, it is pronounced with a t. So, the word hond ('dog') is pronounced hont. In practice this means that for every word that ends in a t sound, one has to learn whether it is spelled with a d or a t. For many Dutch children (as for foreigners) this takes quite an effort, and the mistakes are many.

The proposal of this group is that we just spell it hont, and dedicate the effort we put into learning the d/t difference to other things. Its opponents say that a hont spelling looks wrong, or even that it is childish.

Is the opponents' argument 'elitist'? It could be.

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L'organist
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# 17338

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Speak to my old friend Lalage Cholmondeley who married a lovely member of the Marjoribanks family; the reception, hosted by her Leveson-Gower grandmother, was somewhere in Beauchamp Place, I think.

Spelling as things sound? Bah, humbug [Snigger]

[ 06. December 2013, 12:43: Message edited by: L'organist ]

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la vie en rouge
Parisienne
# 10688

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
*(While on the French theme, though, a prize to anyone who can spot the hidden leet in this ad for a geeky ISP - I actually have this exact router and very cool it looks too)


Me me me!

The person typing the thing had the caps lock on and forgot turned their é into a 2 in the word "théorie" (é and 2 are the same key on a French AZERTY keyboard).

What do I win?

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Albertus
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# 13356

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Speak to my old friend Lalage Cholmondeley who married a lovely member of the Marjoribanks family; the reception, hosted by her Leveson-Gower grandmother, was somewhere in Beauchamp Place, I think.

Spelling as things sound? Bah, humbug [Snigger]

Oh yes, I think I knew the Marjoribanks you're talking about, when he was up at Caius- or was it Magdalene? Norfolk family originally, somewhere Wymondham way, but by the time I knew them they were living in Marylebone.
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L'organist
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# 17338

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Not Wymondham, Happisburgh surely?

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Baptist Trainfan
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Did they have Scottish relatives in Milngavie, or perhaps Strathaven?
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Albertus
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# 13356

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Oh, that'd be his Uncle Menzies. Nice old boy.
Might have been Happisburgh, l'O: that or Stiffkey.

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Eutychus
From the edge
# 3081

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quote:
Originally posted by la vie en rouge:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
*(While on the French theme, though, a prize to anyone who can spot the hidden leet in this ad for a geeky ISP - I actually have this exact router and very cool it looks too)


Me me me!

The person typing the thing had the caps lock on and forgot turned their é into a 2 in the word "théorie" (é and 2 are the same key on a French AZERTY keyboard).

What do I win?

I noticed that too, and just checked my physical Freebox - the mistake has been corrected. But that's not it. The geeky thing is the time, which is 1337.

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
quote:
Originally posted by Desert Daughter:
what's wrong with striving to emulate the "elite"?

That's not the relevant question. No one is complaining about people who try to spell words correctly. What's wrong with not striving to emulate the so-called "elite"?
But we've covered that. Legibility.

quote:
The precedent is that Radio and Television in the United States really reduced regional accents and word usage in favor of a national network standard. However that hasn't stopped rapid evolution of local idioms such as Valley speak. Increased technology comes with the propagation of variant spellings. "Pwned" may be in wide spread use, but so is the variant spelling "owned". [Smile]
Would you say, then, that the distinction between slang and standard register has gone away? Would you write a business letter with "pwned" in it?

quote:
In Google search, misspellings work because there are a lot of people using them, not because there is a single standard usage. The search results are pruned using context with other words and what results prior users found useful.
I was under the impression that their engine compared the input words to the standard spelling using some kind of fuzzy logic. If I read you right they're instead using some kind of lookup table to get from the nonsense input to the real thing. You'll note that few websites actually have one of the misspellings as their title, with the exception of blogs, and there it's self-consciously done to be cutesy.

quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I've never heard of the word 'pwned' before.

It's leetspeak for to be conquered (but to preserve hosts' sanity, please no leet here*).
It may be leet speak, but it arose originally from a typo, as did filk.

quote:
Originally posted by ArachnidinElmet:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
...As to English, George Bernard Shaw famously said "fish" should be spelled "ghoti": "f" as in "tough", "i" as in "women" and "ti" as in "station".

...

Yes, the author John Scalzi has a cat named Ghlaghghee (Fluffy) making the same point.
Except "gh" at the beginning of a word is never pronounced "f" so he missed a larger point.

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the gnome
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# 14156

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One problem with reforming spelling to reflect the actual pronunciation of words is that it's counterproductive if not everybody pronounces the same word the same way. Take, for instance, the word "schedule." We Americans pronounce it "skedjool" while many Brits pronounce it "shedyool." At present we have a single spelling to represent the word, which enables us to read each other's writing even in cases where we would find each other's speech nearly incomprehensible.

An extreme case of this is Chinese, which is a single language in its written form, but whose characters represent such wildly divergent pronunciations in different regions of the country that the different forms of spoken Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, etc.) are considered by linguists to be distinct languages, not merely dialects of a single language. For purposes of communication between speakers of different forms of Chinese, having a single non-phonetic writing system is quite useful.

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Palimpsest
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# 16772

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
quote:
Originally posted by Desert Daughter:
what's wrong with striving to emulate the "elite"?

That's not the relevant question. No one is complaining about people who try to spell words correctly. What's wrong with not striving to emulate the so-called "elite"?
But we've covered that. Legibility.

quote:
The precedent is that Radio and Television in the United States really reduced regional accents and word usage in favor of a national network standard. However that hasn't stopped rapid evolution of local idioms such as Valley speak. Increased technology comes with the propagation of variant spellings. "Pwned" may be in wide spread use, but so is the variant spelling "owned". [Smile]
Would you say, then, that the distinction between slang and standard register has gone away? Would you write a business letter with "pwned" in it?

quote:
In Google search, misspellings work because there are a lot of people using them, not because there is a single standard usage. The search results are pruned using context with other words and what results prior users found useful.
I was under the impression that their engine compared the input words to the standard spelling using some kind of fuzzy logic. If I read you right they're instead using some kind of lookup table to get from the nonsense input to the real thing. You'll note that few websites actually have one of the misspellings as their title, with the exception of blogs, and there it's self-consciously done to be cutesy.

quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I've never heard of the word 'pwned' before.

It's leetspeak for to be conquered (but to preserve hosts' sanity, please no leet here*).
It may be leet speak, but it arose originally from a typo, as did filk.

.....

The argument that you should only use standardized spelling for the sake of legibility is as unconvincing as the argument that you shouldn't use uncommon words in your writing for the sake of comprehension. You judge your audience and their ability to understand spelling variations and typographical errors as well as their ability to know or lookup uncommon words. Most people have wide exposure to misspelled text and have learned to understand it.

I would say that in many places slang and "standard register" have become blurred. Many people now use non-standard text and don't care about any self regarding "elite". Then again, I live in Seattle which is a very informal town. Hip Hop, Gay slang and the cant of politicians is all over-reported in the media.

I rarely write many business letters. I do get a lot of business email and some of it at times has included the word "pwned". To be fair, that was describing the behavior of malware that was causing security breaches. Typographic errors can be understood and even cherished like Cinderella's glass slippers.

There are approximation filters that map a misspelled word to candidates for the correct spelling. This can provide likely correct spellings, but the search for desired results is not a compression to the standard vocabulary of standard dialect and a match against results with labels of standard terms. As the song goes:It ain't necessarily so.

The search is looking at for results from both standard spelling and non-standard spelling to include words like "xyzzy", proper names, slang and non-standard dialect. If a lot of people are looking for a non-standard spelling, that will be high on the returned results list.

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
The argument that you should only use standardized spelling for the sake of legibility is as unconvincing as the argument that you shouldn't use uncommon words in your writing for the sake of comprehension. You judge your audience and their ability to understand spelling variations and typographical errors as well as their ability to know or lookup uncommon words. Most people have wide exposure to misspelled text and have learned to understand it.

So fuck everybody who can't? Dyslexics, people who need to look up words in the dictionary but can't find them because they're so badly misspelled, English language learners, fuck 'em all?

"Most" people can do a lot of things but that doesn't mean we should expect ALL people to be able to do them. THIS is elitism. THIS is also privilege.

[ 07. December 2013, 04:17: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
The argument that you should only use standardized spelling for the sake of legibility is as unconvincing as the argument that you shouldn't use uncommon words in your writing for the sake of comprehension.

Sorry, this argument does not stand. Context. the meaning of the uncommon words can be discerned by context. Unless one composes the majority of the communiqué in uncommon words, in which case one is a dick. Context can help with a few misspellings, yes. But if the majority of the text is misspelled, the meaning becomes less clear. Add regional accents, non-native speakers and this quickly becomes a nightmare.

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Palimpsest
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# 16772

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
The argument that you should only use standardized spelling for the sake of legibility is as unconvincing as the argument that you shouldn't use uncommon words in your writing for the sake of comprehension. You judge your audience and their ability to understand spelling variations and typographical errors as well as their ability to know or lookup uncommon words. Most people have wide exposure to misspelled text and have learned to understand it.

So fuck everybody who can't? Dyslexics, people who need to look up words in the dictionary but can't find them because they're so badly misspelled, English language learners, fuck 'em all?

"Most" people can do a lot of things but that doesn't mean we should expect ALL people to be able to do them. THIS is elitism. THIS is also privilege.

So are you saying that ALL people should be expected to spell correctly or not write anything. That's an interesting definition of non-elitism.
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Enoch
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# 14322

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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
So are you saying that ALL people should be expected to spell correctly or not write anything. That's an interesting definition of non-elitism.

No. Those who really can't spell have no option, but there's a downside to that. But we do expect those who can spell, but can't be bothered to, to do so.

Also, if you're trying to get a message across, it's up to you to do so in a way that makes it easy for your readers/listeners to get it. It's not up to them to puzzle out what you're trying to say. So don't use words they're not like to know, or peculiar spellings.

So don't use 'pwned' outside your own subculture, and if 'xyzzy' is a word somewhere (is it or was that an example of an imaginary, made-up, word?), don't use it unless you're absolutely certain your reader/listener is from the same 'where' as you.

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