Friday, 16 December 2016


At the moment I am reading 'Mother Tongue' by Bill Bryson, which is a tour of the English language and its origins.
     As I said in my post on books, I love reading. I love words, but spellings don't always stick with me. Mind you, it isn't surprising when you read stuff like:
the word 'colonel', a rank in the British army. This was originally a French word, 'Coronelle' and when introduced into the language was spelled in the French way. However after a century or so, somehow the Italian spelling 'Colonello' became more popular, or fashionable, and this evolved into our word 'Colonel'. So we have an English word which is spelled in an Italian way, with a French pronunciation.
     We also have to remember that much as we would like to imagine that spellings are either right or wrong, sometimes there are two or more correct ways to spell the same word, ie both spellings are in the dictionary.
     One of my favourites is 'broach', which many people spell 'brooch', but according to the dictionary both spellings are ok.
     Also of course the language is continually evolving with new words being invented all the time, and there is a whole new way of spelling words now, known as 'text speak' which has developed with the use of mobile phones and text messaging.
     This is something many of us use without a second thought. I have caught myself saying 'Lol', which was not originally a word at all, but a quick abbreviation for 'laugh out loud'.
     I don't actually use a mobile phone. My son has given me one of his old ones to practise with. So far it sits, fully charged, on a shelf and occasionally whistles forlornly at us. But I have picked up some text speak from playing World of Warcraft, where it often crops up in chat.
     In this latest form of spelling, brevity is king and words which can be shortened are mercilessly hacked down.
     In light of this, I don't think I need to worry too much about whether I have the right number of double letters in 'necessary'. Incidentally the predictive spelling thingy is not all that helpful at times, and can give some strange results - and don't get me started on the spell checker! I suspect most people who write about specialist subjects find the same problems. Magical terms often get 'adjusted' and sometimes I don't realise until I'm glancing proudly over something I've 'published' without spotting the mistake. Scrying is a good one, the spell checker has no idea what that word is. And of course you have to make sure that you have it checking English English, and not USA English. I remember being told off at school for writing 'color' but that was largely because I could never remember which side of the 'l' the 'u' went, was it coulor, or colour?
     So I will instead try to celebrate the eccentric nature of my spelling, and just carry on writing.
    And enjoying the writing.

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