Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

A Proofreader's Nightmare

You have letters - now what do you do with them?

A Proofreader's Nightmare

Postby scw1217 » Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:44 am

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1832104,00.html?xid=newsletter-weekly

The above article from Time magazine, entitled "Making an Arguement for Misspelling" (nevermind that there is an 'e' in the word argument) makes my skin crawl. The thought of so many variant spellings for the same word - in effect, making many spellings correct - sends me into fits! I already have a hard time ignoring the simplest spelling errors, on menus, newspapers, etc. Making more "right" spellings just sounds ridiculous!

On the other hand, I'm all for progress and when a word has changed indefinitely, for whatever reason, then let's change it an move on.

I thought mankind was trying to get smarter and learn more, not make more excuses for errors.

Off my soapbox... :roll:
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.
User avatar
scw1217
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 258
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:50 am
Location: Florida, USA

Postby Slava » Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:01 pm

I could not fail to disagree with you less.
User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 4685
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Postby scw1217 » Sun Aug 31, 2008 8:44 am

Slava wrote:I could not fail to disagree with you less.


I had to think about that one!
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.
User avatar
scw1217
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 258
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:50 am
Location: Florida, USA

Postby Stargzer » Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:45 pm

My daughter, a recent (after 6 years of changing schools and majors!) college graduate is still looking for full-time work, but has been doing part-time work for the university. She's amazed at the spelling mistakes that people make when they submit web pages, even when Word has a spell checker! What she found really amazing, or even disturbing, was the very short part-time job she had at a non-profit in Baltimore. The person in charge wanted to hire her to write grant proposals, and was going to send her to grant-writing classes. After going through their computer records and noticing the gross spelling errors in previous grant applications, she wondered how they ever got any grants to begin with! That was the staw that broke the camel's back as far as she was concerned (there were other things she didn't like about the job).
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
User avatar
Stargzer
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2551
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:56 pm
Location: Crownsville, MD

Postby scw1217 » Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:41 pm

I can understand that. It drives me nutty. My first full time job was as a proofreader. It was all I did all day every day. Ever since then, it became a habit I just cannot break. I have done it so much now, that is part of my current job as well (amongst other things).
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.
User avatar
scw1217
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 258
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:50 am
Location: Florida, USA

Postby Perry » Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:36 pm

Much as I am far from the best speller in the world, that article gave me the heebie-jeebies.
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."
Anonymous
User avatar
Perry
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2306
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:50 am
Location: Asheville, NC

Postby scw1217 » Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:14 am

Perry wrote:Much as I am far from the best speller in the world, that article gave me the heebie-jeebies.


That is how I felt!
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.
User avatar
scw1217
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 258
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:50 am
Location: Florida, USA

Postby sluggo » Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:08 pm

"In the 21st century, why learn by heart rote spelling when you can just type it into a computer and spell-check?" he asks.


uh, because you would never learn anything? Is that a trick question?

Fascinating study. As a pernickety* speller born of two proofreaders I'm inclined to archconservatism on the question, though I see how reading variants does open a window to how some variant minds think. Still, it seems untoward to retreat to fifteenth-century practices.

(*QED- my spellchecker wants persnickety and wants nothing to do with archconservatism. Thus falling back on spellcheck inhibits the creativity the language allows)

Smith, for his part, insists that he is advocating only for minor changes.


- sounds a little like advocating only minor levee removal because they're just too much trouble to do correctly :shock:

It takes all minds and perhaps this dichotomy is a living necessary tension. As long as we can put down the mindless apostrophe's :evil: we have a chance.

"If k-a-t doesn't spell cat, what does it spell? (Mark Twain)
Stop! Murder us not, tonsured rumpots! Knife no one, fink!
sluggo
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1476
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2006 1:58 pm
Location: Carolinia Agrestícia: The Forest Primeval

Postby scw1217 » Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:32 pm

sluggo wrote:As long as we can put down the mindless apostrophe's :evil: we have a chance.


Which reminds me of the 2 guys who were arrested and forbidden to ever enter a national park again, for correcting an apostrophe on a historic sign at the Grand Canyon.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,409382,00.html?sPage=fnc/us/crime
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.
User avatar
scw1217
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 258
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:50 am
Location: Florida, USA

Postby sluggo » Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:08 am

scw1217 wrote:
Which reminds me of the 2 guys who were arrested and forbidden to ever enter a national park again, for correcting an apostrophe on a historic sign at the Grand Canyon.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,409382,00.html?sPage=fnc/us/crime


Yeah, when I read that I wanted to go pay their fine.

Actually they're banned for a year, not forever, but the law apparently deems insubordination more deadly than punctuation. :shock:

What's missing from the story is the question of what kind of sentence the signmaker got.

note: when you want to embed a link, highlight the target text, press the URL button, then put an equals sign after 'url' and paste URL itself immediately after: e.g. {url=http://etcetc}
Stop! Murder us not, tonsured rumpots! Knife no one, fink!
sluggo
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1476
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2006 1:58 pm
Location: Carolinia Agrestícia: The Forest Primeval

Postby Stargzer » Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:28 pm

sluggo wrote:Yeah, when I read that I wanted to go pay their fine.

Actually they're banned for a year, not forever, but the law apparently deems insubordination more deadly than punctuation.

What's missing from the story is the question of what kind of sentence the signmaker got.


Ah, Sluggo me buckko[sup]1[/sup], there's a difference between proofreading and comprehension.

... who defaced a more than 60-year-old, hand-painted sign at Grand Canyon National Park were sentenced to probation and banned from national parks for a year.

... the park's Desert View Watchtower. The sign was made by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, the architect who designed the rustic 1930s watchtower and other Grand Canyon-area landmarks.

The misspelled word "emense" was not fixed, Deck wrote, because "I was reluctant to disfigure the sign any further. ... Still, I think I shall be haunted by that perversity, emense, in my train-whistle-blighted dreams tonight."


<rant>
The key point here is not that they disfigured a Government sign, but that they disfigured an historic sign that was an integral part of a U.S. National Historic Landmark. It's not as if the sign could just be reprinted or reordered from some signmaker. It was made by the person who designed the structure itself. If you click on the picture of the sign in the FoxNews story, a larger image pops up with the caption:
Corrections were made March 28, 2008, including an added comma and apostrophe, in the first paragraph of rare, hand-painted sign in the Grand Canyon.
(emphasis added, but missing article before the word rare is original)

If the difference is lost on you (or on the two subjects of the article), well, there's not much that can be done about it. The sign is a part of history, warts and all.

Our two intrepid "Big Brothers" might just as well try to correct spelling and punctuation in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, raze what's left of slave quarters on historic plantations to pretend that slavery never existed, or drop photos documenting Jim Crow laws into the vaporizor to erase unpleasant memories.
</rant>

Grand Canyon National Park Photos:
Desert View Watchtower and a view of its interior.

Wikipedia Articles:
Desert View Watchtower

Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter (she was a designer and architect, not an English major)

On the lighter side:

Grand Canyon National Park wrote:Did You Know?
John Hance, early Grand Canyon guide and storyteller, said of the Canyon, "It was hard work, took a long time, but I dug it myself, with a pick and a shovel. If you want to know what I done with the dirt, just look south through a clearin' in the trees at what they call the San Francisco Peaks."


1. Bucko: Merriam-Webser; Online Etymology Dictionary.
Last edited by Stargzer on Sat Sep 06, 2008 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
User avatar
Stargzer
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2551
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:56 pm
Location: Crownsville, MD

Postby Perry » Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:00 pm

sluggo wrote:
"In the 21st century, why learn by heart rote spelling when you can just type it into a computer and spell-check?" he asks.


uh, because you would never learn anything? Is that a trick question?


Great point Sluggo!

The computer spell checker is only as good as the person using it. A spell checker will not flag the words read or red, as both are spelled correctly. Nor will it indicate to the writer/user when one was inadvertently used in place of the other.
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."
Anonymous
User avatar
Perry
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2306
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:50 am
Location: Asheville, NC

Postby sluggo » Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:37 pm

Can't agree Gzer. The DoI and Constitution are true historic artifacts that made history on their own, whereas this sign is ... a sign.

The sign here is 'part of history' only in the sense that everything is part of history. Any hand-painted sign is rare in that it's the only one of itself- I have one taken from a stage that says "Basin Street Sheiks" but it's not going to get any bids on eBay. (It is however spelled correctly). What makes the place a national landmark is IMHO the awesome power of what Nature hath wrought, not some careless caption produced by an all-too-human who showed up umpteenmillennia later.

And I must protest that extensions from text correction to rewriting historical facts, let alone razing entire buildings, have no logical basis.

You gotta admit, "emense" is pretty far off. It could and would be assumed by readers to mean some descriptor they'd never heard before. This one wasn't even addressed, no doubt akin to the dilapidated building that isn't repaired because it's just too much work.

That the government reacted as it did may reflect the letter of the law but also recalls the usual question: if one can't be bothered to use basic spelling, how sincerely does one believe one's own content? The effect of its defending said error --not to mention allowing it to stand for so long-- amounts to yet more feeding of the dumb-down dynamic. Moreover it smells of "authority for its own sake".

Agreed a government maintaining an awesome landmark for the public good cannot condone defacement or allow open-source signage, but methinks they overreacted in the penalty and underreacted in failing to acknowledge the error itself or explain why it was left in place so long or even accepted in the first place.

I have to suspect that the government entities in charge think as highly of their sign as of the Canyon itself. If that be the case I must question their qualifications as caretakers.
Stop! Murder us not, tonsured rumpots! Knife no one, fink!
sluggo
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1476
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2006 1:58 pm
Location: Carolinia Agrestícia: The Forest Primeval

Postby Slava » Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:40 pm

What I want to know, and no one has addressed yet here, is just who or what gave these twerps the right to deface anything, anywhere?

They are vandals, pure and simple. If they've got a problem with how things are spelled, take it up with the proper authorities. Down with vigilantism! Even though I still enjoy those old Bronson movies, I'll say it again; Down with Vigilantism!

If we allow this to pass, do we buy into throwing paint on fur coats? Setting car lots of SUVs on fire? Burning down developments we don't like? Killing doctors who perform abortions? They aren't all comparable, but they are all part and parcel of the same concept: vigilantes and their own, perhaps twisted, take on what the law is.

Sorry for spouting off, but I'm against this concept, as you may have gathered.
User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 4685
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Postby Stargzer » Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:52 pm

And I can't really agree with you on this one.

It's not some sign composed by some faceless "burrocrat." The architect herself made the sign, which makes it part and parcel to the landmark, and the creator is no longer around to make a new (politically) grammatically correct one. Score one against the Prescriptivists!

From the Wikipedia articles, her employer seems to have been a stickler for details. Somehow, I'm sure someone must have pointed the errors out to her long ago, and I'm just as sure she told them what to do with their proverbial red pencil! :wink:

But you should keep yours in your pocket on this one! :D


sluggo wrote:What makes the place a national landmark is IMHO the awesome power of what Nature hath wrought ...


No, that's what makes the Grand Canyon a National Park. The time period and details of its construction, the details of its design, decoration, and integration into the landscape, and who its creator was is what makes it a National Historic Landmark.


sluggo wrote:You gotta admit, "emense" is pretty far off. It could and would be assumed by readers to mean some descriptor they'd never heard before. This one wasn't even addressed, no doubt akin to the dilapidated building that isn't repaired because it's just too much work.


Well, yeah, but the first 'e' is separated from the second by a single consonant, so the rules of pronunciation would give it a long sound (ee-mense), close to imense, but not close enough for government work (although a government contractor would undoubtedly try to slip it through and charge extra to correct it later rather than fix it in the first place).

And it was addressed by the defacers:

The misspelled word "emense" was not fixed, Deck wrote, because "I was reluctant to disfigure the sign any further."


(emphasis added)

In his own words, he admitted that he was disfiguring the sign.

sluggo wrote:but methinks they overreacted in the penalty


Are you kidding?

FoxNews wrote: ... were sentenced to probation and banned from national parks for a year.


No jail time, no fines; just a year to stay out of the National Parks and cool off. My heart bleeds for them.


sluggo wrote: ... have one taken from a stage that says "Basin Street Sheiks" but it's not going to get any bids on eBay. (It is however spelled correctly). ...

I've heard your sound clips. Isn't there an 'r' missing in the third word of your sign? :lol:

sluggo wrote: ... underreacted in failing to acknowledge the error itself or explain why it was left in place so long or even accepted in the first place. ...


Probably because the original owner (either the Fred Harvey Company or the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad) left it that way.

sluggo wrote:I have to suspect that the government entities in charge think as highly of their sign as of the Canyon itself. If that be the case I must question their qualifications as caretakers.


I suspect they think as highly of the sign they inherited as they do of the tower and the entire site they inherited.

It's unclear to me whether the site is owned by the Federal Government, some Arizona State or Local entity, or some other entity.

Here is a page from the National Park Service. It's page 9 of the 23-page Property Documentation Form that submitted/approved the Desert View Watchtower site to the National Register of Historic Places. It gives some background into when and why it was built by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad for use by the Fred Harvey Company. Click on the Pan Left/Right/Up/Down links on the right of the image. You can also go back and forth to other pages, but you'll have to click Zoom In for each page. It's still an interesting read!
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
User avatar
Stargzer
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2551
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:56 pm
Location: Crownsville, MD

Next

Return to Spelling

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron