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February 2, 2011

Misspelling

Filed under: language — Nick @ 10:09 pm

I have always thought I had been a pretty good speller. It wasn’t so much that I thought I could win spelling bees, but it seemed to me that I had a knack for realizing a word “looked wrong” and then I could look up the correct spelling. Of course, these days most computer applications flag incorrect spellings as they are being typed.

One time I had the occasion to write out the word “anenome.” Hmmm. The computer flags is as being misspelled. I guess it must not have been put in the database. I dutifully open “real” dictionary, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s spelled “anemone.” How could this be? Could I have been misspelling it all my life (and thus mispronouncing it, too)? I had a sense of cognitive dissonance. If I been wrong about this thing for so long, could there possibly be something else I might be wrong about (naahh)?

Later I came to realize there a few troublesome bugbear words I think look wrong when spelled correctly.

  • poinsettia: (misspelled and mispronounced as “poinsetta”)
  • frustrate: (misspelled and mispronounced as “fustrate”)
  • dilemma: (for some reason I always want to put an “n” in there, as “dilemna”)

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