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Worst homonym or homophone misuse? The real stinkers, please!

Wheezer

Examples please:
What's the one that just cracks you up every time you read it? Not necessarily the most common, but the real howlers.

For me, it is the phrase "waited/waiting with baited breath." What? Who's been snacking on the mackerel guts in the chum bucket? No damn wonder you've been having trouble getting dates! Oh, you mean bated breath! :D

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Not_a_ID  Argon
Ernest Bywater

@Wheezer

I've never gotten over the author who described a young lady as having an hourglass figure with a surprisingly small waste line. I just couldn't get past how he knew the size of her waste line, and how it applied to her figure.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


I just couldn't get past how he knew the size of her waste line, and how it applied to her figure.


In the US at least, a woman's figure is usually described by the relationship between her bust, waist and hip measurements.

An hourglass figure is when a woman has bust and hip measurements that are similar and a narrower waist. One site I've seen specified that the waist should be at least 9 inches less than the hips.

Showing measurements in Inches for bust, waist, hips.

A realistic hourglass figure would be Marilyn Monroe who's measurements were released by one of her dress makers as 35, 22, 35

A surprisingly small waist would be A barbie doll which scaled up comes to 32, 16, 29

Was the young lady described a real person or a fictional character created by the author? If the latter, why should it be surprising that he knows her measurements?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

If the latter, why should it be surprising that he knows her measurements?

You missed the pun: "waist line" measurement = the width of her colon.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Doh!!

Your right, I missed that the original was waste line rather than waist line.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Zom
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

original was waste line rather than waist line.


which is why it caught my eye and through me out of the story trying to figure out if the author had got confused or really meant to say it that way - in the end I thought he just used the wrong word and screwed up.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Wheezer

@Ernest Bywater

I've never gotten over the author who described a young lady as having an hourglass figure with a surprisingly small waste line. I just couldn't get past how he knew the size of her waste line, and how it applied to her figure.

Good one! :^D

Zom

@Dominions Son

I missed that the original was waste line rather than waist line

Which demonstrates the value of good proof readers ... :-)

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Zom

Which demonstrates the value of good proof readers ... :-)


Trouble is that depending on how fast they read the story/book. It is possible to miss when the words sound the same, but have different meanings and spelling. I think that is what happens many times in stories. Most words like the one Ernest referenced sound the same with only the spelling changing the meanings. Probably easily missed if the proof reader or editor is under time limitations.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  Zom
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

which is why it caught my eye and through me out of the story

Speaking of common homonym errors (though this one isn't as likely to "through" anyone out of the story. :-D

Replies:   Wheezer  Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

One of my (many) automated reports is a list of potential homonyms, but the list is SO extensive, listing almost every fifth or seventh word in a document, I can only spend so much time analyzing it before I get cross-eyed and need a drink!

Wheezer

@Crumbly Writer

Speaking of common homonym errors (though this one isn't as likely to "through" anyone out of the story. :-D


You could always throw someone through the door.

docholladay
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


One of my (many) automated reports is a list of potential homonyms, but the list is SO extensive, listing almost every fifth or seventh word in a document, I can only spend so much time analyzing it before I get cross-eyed and need a drink!


That is one reason a reader needs to use a little common sense. When I run across something like that I just reword it in my mind. The only times I will write a writer about those errors are if I think the error really requires being fixed due to potentially harming the story.

edited to add: The error Ernest used as an example, I would have reported to the writer. That error potentially harms the story so it should be fixed.

Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

That is one reason a reader needs to use a little common sense. When I run across something like that I just reword it in my mind. The only times I will write a writer about those errors are if I think the error really requires being fixed due to potentially harming the story.

Homonyms and homophones don't bug me that much when I read, other than if you see enough errors in a work that it denotes the author hasn't paid any attention to their own work. But homonyms rarely cause reader confusion, which is a more central issue, when you either don't know what the author is saying, or you assume he's saying something that what he actually intended, and you spend paragraphs trying to figure out what happened to the story thread.

That's what throws me out of a story (that and unbelievable plot lines and characters).

Replies:   sejintenej
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

dang, he caught it.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

before I get cross-eyed and need a drink!


a very large tequila is recommended for that situation.

Replies:   Wheezer
Ernest Bywater

@docholladay

I would have reported to the writer. That error potentially harms the story so it should be fixed.


I did report it, and got a response of 'I don't care.' Guess how many of that person's stories I've read since then. I'm sure you came up with the correct response of zero.

Wheezer

@Ernest Bywater


a very large tequila is recommended for that situation.


Tequila does not cure crossed eyes, it causes them!

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Wheezer


Tequila does not cure crossed eyes, it causes them!


if your eyes are crossed eyed from reading the tequila crosses them back the other way so you can now read OK. Works kind of like a double negative does.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Zom

@docholladay

easily missed if the proof reader or editor is under time limitations

True, but accuracy under pressure is a good measure of the difference between OK and good.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Zom

accuracy under pressure is a good measure


True, but everyone is human and will make mistakes regardless of how good they are. Even the best editors, proofreaders and writers will miss things at times. It doesn't put them at fault. The only fault if any will be when the error is reported nicely with the results that Ernest got or something similar.

As I always put it: "If I am in the wrong a baby can chew my ass out about it. But if I am in the right, I will tell the President or God (for that matter) where to shove it."

Replies:   Dominions Son  Zom
Dominions Son

@docholladay

As I always put it: "If I am in the wrong a baby can chew my ass out about it. But if I am in the right, I will tell the President or God (for that matter) where to shove it."


The problem becomes distinguishing the former case from the later.

docholladay

@Dominions Son

The problem becomes distinguishing the former case from the later.


If you are honest with yourself, you know the difference. Take for example one time when I was around 10 I was placed in an orphanage. One day the manager told me to clean out the laundry building in one hour. I took one look and set down it was full of junk and the dirt was over an inch deep. He came out picked up a broom handle and said i was going to clean it or he was going to use that handle on me. I made him a counter offer. I offered him first swing. The dummy took the offer. I threw a kitchen knife at him which put him in the hospital. Big mistake I should have killed him. A few years later at that same orphanage they found 2 kids bodies dumped in an abandoned well on the property.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@docholladay

I need to add that although I never felt guilty about throwing that knife at that man.

I ended up feeling guilty as hell because I did not save those kids. If I had killed him they would have lived. It turned out they weren't the only missing kids however but no bodies and only proof of child abuse was found. That did get him sent to prison where he had a fatal accident.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

if your eyes are crossed eyed from reading the tequila crosses them back the other way so you can now read OK. Works kind of like a double negative does.

Yeah, double negatives always cause my eyes to cross. :-D

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

The problem becomes distinguishing the former case from the later.

True, but there's a significant difference between not identifying an error and declaring "I don't care whether my work is plagued by errors!"

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@Crumbly Writer

True, but there's a significant difference between not identifying an error and declaring "I don't care whether my work is plagued by errors!"


One of the big reasons I stopped trying to read "Wolves & Dragons of the Blood."

docholladay

This is probably a little off topic. But I have noticed that most of the writers and/or editors who visit the forums. Tend to judge their own mistakes a lot harsher than others do.

I think we all do that to some extent. The funny part is all those mistakes tend to make us learn more and think more.

As a result I think we at SOL have a great group of storytellers constantly improving in all areas relating to their craft.

Thank you all for that effort and as always I do try and learn from you as a group.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

This is probably a little off topic. But I have noticed that most of the writers and/or editors who visit the forums. Tend to judge their own mistakes a lot harsher than others do.

I don't know, based on the subjects raised in this thread, we're pretty judgmental of other author's mistakes too. :-D But many (but not all of us) are trying to become better at our craft, and much of that involves learning what you're doing wrong, and what we can do better.

As has been said before, simply writing without caring what anything thinks about it is akin to mental masturbation: if you're only writing for yourself, you're unlikely to get any better.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

But many (but not all of us) are trying to become better at our craft, and much of that involves learning what you're doing wrong, and what we can do better.


Yes, but it's complicated when not everyone agrees on what constitutes better.

Especially for someone who tends to reject appeals to authority.

Not_a_ID

@Ernest Bywater

I've never gotten over the author who described a young lady as having an hourglass figure with a surprisingly small waste line. I just couldn't get past how he knew the size of her waste line, and how it applied to her figure.


Maybe he was a doctor and had been part of an operation to remove part of her intestines?

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Wheezer


For me, it is the phrase "waited/waiting with baited breath."


I'm a fan of bear (arms) instead of bare (arms).

Defiant statements of information instead of definite ones. Particularly when they defiantly agree with someone.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

I'm a fan of bear (arms) instead of bare (arms).


A dyslexic man was caught mounting firearms on wild animals. At trial, his defense was that the second amendment gave him the right to arm bears.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

He should have been handing those weapons to naked women instead. I doubt any reasonable man would object to the idea of having a right to arm bares.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

He should have been handing those weapons to naked women instead. I doubt any reasonable man would object to the idea of having a right to arm bares.


That would be extremely dangerous. The typical male NRA member seeing such a thing would have one eye try to focus on the gun while the other tries to focus on the naked woman causing their head to explode.

Not_a_ID

Well, it would certainly bring their gun porn to an explosive conclusion.

Zom

@docholladay

Even the best editors, proofreaders and writers will miss things at times

Yes indeed, and circumstances can vary the miss rate a lot too. I'm not attempting to identify any fault here, just degrees of talent and tenacity. There are few that are 'excellent' (better than 'good'), and 'great' is rare indeed (and freaky). Most clangers can seriously interrupt a good reading groove, so the more that aren't there, the better.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Zom

Yes indeed, and circumstances can vary the miss rate a lot too. I'm not attempting to identify any fault here, just degrees of talent and tenacity. There are few that are 'excellent' (better than 'good'), and 'great' is rare indeed (and freaky).

What I've discovered, over time, is that no editor ever catches every mistake. Instead, each tends to find a different type of mistake, so it's essential to have a variety of different editors working on each book.

Every time I bring on an editor, they find more errors in my older books, and readers keep turning up new items that have gone unseen for several years (and thousands of reads). I suggest, at a minimum, 3 separate editors--even if you consider one a "GREAT" editor. Granted, some only find one item ever couple chapters, but the more eyes, the better the success rate.

The other issue, is the high turn-over rate for editors. On SOL, most of my editors have been other authors. While they're dedicated to the one book they sign up for, it's hard arranging their return for new works. It's easier to ask for new editors while posting. The older editors can return, if they're inclined and have time, but circumstances often change.

My original Catalyst series easily had over a dozen separate editors over the years, and yet errors keep turning up, and now I'm about ready to rewrite the entire thing to bring it up to my current standards--necessitating another full round of editing!

So, to those who declare "I don't care", all I can say is "Good luck with eliminating every single error on the first pass."

richardshagrin

Its the Naked in School stories that spell principal as principle that irk me. If you are going to set a story in a school environment where the head teacher is the Principal, don't call him or her an idea. Hear my ple(a). Its a matter of principle, your Principal is not your pal.

Another goodie I see a lot are rain/reign/rein. Rain makes you wet. Reign is royal or imperial authority. Rein is what you control animals with, mostly horses. If you give someone a lot of freedom you are giving them full rein, unless you have made them king or emperor, in which case they may have full reign. If you can't tell the difference, you are all wet.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

Its the Naked in School stories


where the principle behaviour of the principal was to get the kids naked

Not_a_ID

Quit being quiet about being quite quick.

Of course there also is:

They're going to be over there with their toys.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

In light of a story title I just saw(didn't investigate further):

Popper and pauper.

Although I just landed my own attention upon father, further, and farther.

G Younger

I know these are common, but I think I frustrated one of my editors and he sent me a list. I will give it to you verbatim.

YOU'RE = you fucking are
YOUR = shows fucking possession
THEY'RE = they fucking are
THEIR = shows fucking possession
WE'RE = we fucking are
WHERE = specifies a fucking location
IT'S = it fucking is
ITS = shows fucking possession
LOOSE = not fucking fixed in place
LOSE = cease to fucking keep
AFFECT = a fucking action
EFFECT = a fucking result
COULD'VE = could fucking have
COULD OF = you're a fucking idiot

Replies:   Anne N. Mouse
ustourist

Insure, ensure and assure. The latter two can mean the same, but are often replaced by insure and I find it irritating enough that it breaks the flow of the text. Not sure if it is usually a homophone or ignorance though, since I don't recall seeing inshore used in error for any of them.

Replies:   sejintenej
Zom
Updated:

Probably more a typo, but maybe a homophone, or maybe just ignorance. I see lots of 'then' instead of 'than', but can't remember a 'than' instead of 'then'.

Maybe:
THEN = a fucking time
THAN = a fucking comparison

G Younger

Another editor sent this list.

WAIVE = to fucking give something up
WAVE = to fucking give a signal
ANYWAY = in any fucking case
ANYWAYS = a fucking nonstandard way of saying anyway
THAT = used, often fucking unnecessarily, as the subject or object of a relative clause, especially one defining or restricting the antecedent, sometimes fucking replaceable by who, whom, or which
ASSHOLE = a fucking editor who's (not fucking whose) on a roll

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@G Younger

Another editor sent this list.

Am I detecting a trend among your editors?

By the way, editors should pick up on the overuse of any particular phrase, especially in close proximity to each other.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Am I detecting a trend among your editors?


you should see the emails one of them sends when he can't get enough refried beans and pork for dinner

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

Homonyms and homophones don't bug me that much when I read, other than if you see enough errors in a work that it denotes the author hasn't paid any attention to their own work.

I'm on chapter 23 of a very long story and it must be averaging 3 per chapter if I use UK spelling. Trouble is I don't know if the USA author is wrong or it is American spelling. Annoying.

sejintenej
Updated:

@ustourist


Insure, ensure and assure. The latter two can mean the same, but are often replaced by insure and I find it irritating enough that it breaks the flow of the text. Not sure if it is usually a homophone or ignorance though, since I don't recall seeing inshore used in error for any of them


I assume you are writing American. In the UK (and I have just double-checked this) assure can mean exactly the same is insure when talking about policies against loss or for future payments. To assure (same is reassure) can also mean to talk to a person to convince them that a stated act or condition will occur (for example that their child will definitely recover from his/her injury).

To ensure is quite different - it says that [someone] will definitely arrange for some stated act to take place (the lawyer will ensure that the accused attends court)

Replies:   ustourist
ustourist

@sejintenej

Unfortunately, the usual American error is to use insure for ensure, which - as you pointed out - is quite different and where the flow of text is broken.

One that I had drawn to my attention recently is the actual changing of the meaning of a word. Apparently 'electrocuted' now means to be killed or seriously harmed by electric shock, rather than only meaning killed by it. it made me wonder how many other words I have missed that have changed meaning since I left school.

Ernest Bywater

@ustourist

Apparently 'electrocuted' now means to be killed or seriously harmed by electric shock, rather than only meaning killed by it. it made me wonder how many other words I have missed that have changed meaning since I left school.


The dictionaries I have all have electrocuted as meaning to be killed by an electric charge, if you're only injured it's an electric shock. But you never know how the US meanings will go now the US media is pushing so many changes to word meanings so they don't have to remember the proper word usage all the time.

Replies:   ustourist  sejintenej
ustourist

@Ernest Bywater

I was surprised when told about the change, so checked and found the new definition in the compact OED (third edition, revised 2008), so it looks like it crept in some time back.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@ustourist

new definition in the compact OED (third edition, revised 2008), so it looks like it crept in some time back.


since the media started changing meanings in the 1970s some of the people in charge of the dictionaries today change meanings based on votes by people who are mostly media people. That's been going on for about 20 years now, maybe longer.

Replies:   Dominions Son
sourdough

"Do you want too?" when it should be "Do you want to?" (as in do it? make it? fuck?) I've seen that mistake creep into more and more online stories over the years.

Also defiantly used in place of definitely.

Ernest Bywater

not exactly the type of error you're after, but I frequently accidentally type sue instead of use, as well as typing and when I mean an with some of them even getting past the many editors I use.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

since the media started changing meanings in the 1970s some of the people in charge of the dictionaries today change meanings based on votes by people who are mostly media


Word meanings are constantly drifting. It didn't just start in the 1970s, it was happening way back in the 1770s. And the phenomenon is not unique to the US either. It happens in almost every language.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

you should see the emails one of them sends when he can't get enough refried beans and pork for dinner

It must be a real stinker!

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

I'm on chapter 23 of a very long story and it must be averaging 3 per chapter if I use UK spelling. Trouble is I don't know if the USA author is wrong or it is American spelling. Annoying.

If it gets bad enough, start sticking to stories written in British English only. Unfortunately, since most readers of all nation focus on American stories (since they understand the mentality from the movies they watch), most British and Australian authors tend to write stories set in America, using American English.

An alternative is to install an American English dictionary in your word processor (say using WORD for British English and OpenOffice for American English), so you can see which terms are appropriate for each story. It's more work, but it would answer your question about what's appropriate.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  REP
Crumbly Writer

@ustourist

One that I had drawn to my attention recently is the actual changing of the meaning of a word. Apparently 'electrocuted' now means to be killed or seriously harmed by electric shock, rather than only meaning killed by it. it made me wonder how many other words I have missed that have changed meaning since I left school.

The same change is slowly occurring with "drown". Several newspapers now refer to 'someone recovering from drowning' or being treated for drowning (in my day, the only treatment for drowning was a funeral or cremation (once the body dried out)).

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

not exactly the type of error you're after, but I frequently accidentally type sue instead of use, as well as typing and when I mean an with some of them even getting past the many editors I use.

Ha-ha. We've seen you do it so often, Ernest, we all make the mental adjustment for it when reading your posts. As for your stories, I suggest a global search and replace, to check each instance, before publishing/posting.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son


Word meanings are constantly drifting.


There's a huge difference between a normal drift and an concerted effort to make the definition of a word almost the opposite of what it is because someone mis-uses it and then claims it's a valid usage, which is what happened with decimate. Also the deliberate hi-jacking of a word is wrong, as well, but happens too, and it only works because of the way the media will support the hi-jacking of words like gay.

However, the composition of the committees now being used to vote on word meanings by some of the bigger dictionary groups is a major worry, due to the number of media people on them.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  madnige
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

most British and Australian authors tend to write stories set in America, using American English.


A large part of that is because the US readers will bitch about non US English writing in stories, regardless of where the story is set.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I suggest a global search and replace, to check each instance, before publishing/posting.


I do that, but I also use the words in the proper spelling, so it has to be a check of each individual usage to be sure - slow and boring with the and but not so bad with sue.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Also the deliberate hi-jacking of a word is wrong, as well, but happens too, and it only works because of the way the media will support the hi-jacking of words like gay.

I think you give the 'liberal media' too much credit. The word gay won acceptance long before gay rights were ever accepted by the public. As more people began to use 'gay' to mean homosexual, everyone would giggle whenever someone used it to mean 'joyful', laughing at the double entendre. Thus people learned--long before the media took the term up--to avoid using the term for joyful in public. The media acceptance took place after the meaning of homosexual gained widespread acceptance after WW II and during the 50s and 60s.

The same is true for the word decimate. The problem was that the original term was overly specific. I mean, really, how many times can you use a word that means, literally, killing one out of ten people? As a result, people began applying it to mean 'killing a large or significant number of people'. Thus you can decimate a military force (render nonfunctional), by eliminating a large number of it's members. That wasn't the media changing the definition, it was the general population. If not for that change, the only use of decimate would be historical references to the original Roman Empire.

In other words, get over it. Language isn't reserved for historical purposes, it's used for communicating ideas. If a new use conveys meaning better than an old use, the new usage will win out every time.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Grant
Wheezer

This is relevant to the language changes, but to me is more indicative of ignorance forcing it's way into acceptance: In the English language, nouns ending in 'i' have an ee sound. Example: Miami, Florida. Cincinnati, Ohio. Well, I live relatively close to Miami, Oklahoma where the locals insist that it is pronounced My*am*uh. Err, not in English it's not! Ditto for the nearby state of Missouri - Ignorant fuckwits insist it is pronounced Missour*uh. They are not satisfied that it is just a regional dialect thing. They try to argue that it is the correct pronunciation.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Language isn't reserved for historical purposes,


Never said it was, but activists were usinggay for a long time and getting nowhere with it until the media started using it, then it became very common after the media pushed it. Getting equal rights for homosexuals was still a long way away, so I doubt the word change had anything to do with it, and there was no reason they couldn't come up with a new word instead of hijacking and existing word.

Sure killing just one in ten isn't used all that often, but how the hell do you kill a building. The first misuse was where the guy meant devastate, but said decimate, then worked hard to justify it's usage. The most common misuse has absolutely nothing to do with the death of people, so it's a totally irrelevant usage. Next you'll say it's OK to murder a building, instead of destroying a building.

Ernest Bywater

@Wheezer

They try to argue that it is the correct pronunciation.


and when the media start doing it, it will become the proper

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

and when the media start doing it, it will become the proper


The media won't start doing it, the media in the US detests those people.

Capt Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

As for your stories, I suggest a global search and replace, to check each instance, before publishing/posting.


That only works as long as there are no legal actions and no characters with that name. :)

Grant

@Crumbly Writer

. Language isn't reserved for historical purposes, it's used for communicating ideas.

And using the wrong word doesn't help in the slightest in getting those ideas across.
Hence this thread.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Zom

Can't help bringing up 'terrific', where the 'new' meaning is entirely the opposite of the original. Talk about popular usage 'improving' a language :-)

Argon

@Wheezer

What really gets to me are when people use "lay" (transitive) instead of "lie" (intransitive). You lay a pipe but you lie on your girlfriend . You can even lie to your parents, and it's spelt the same in present tense.
Then of course the short walk to the "principle's office" always cracks me up.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

processor (say using WORD for British English and OpenOffice for American English), so you can see which terms are appropriate for each story.


I never used OpenOffice, but Word isn't consistent with itself. It suggests changes that are totally wrong. I don't recall the word, but Word suggested that I use X instead of Y. I changed the word to X. Word then suggested that I use Y instead of X. That is ludicrous so you can't trust Word to give you the proper word.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

One of the problems with dictionaries is they evolve to document the usage of words. When enough people misuse a word for a long period, the word's new usage gets incorporated into the dictionary as a new meaning.

The meanings of insure and ensure are a perfect example. Insure used to mean to take out insurance to compensation one for financial loss. Ensure used to mean to make certain of something. People confused the two words by using them interchangeably and now most dictionaries include both meanings for both words.

REP

One of the problems with dictionaries is they evolve to document the usage of words. When enough people misuse a word for a long period, the word's new usage gets incorporated into the dictionary as a new meaning.

The meanings of insure and ensure are a perfect example. Insure used to mean to take out insurance to compensation one for financial loss. Ensure used to mean to make certain of something. People confused the two words by using them interchangeably and now most dictionaries include both meanings for both words.

ustourist

Another couple were brought to mind when reading a story this morning.
Discrete, meaning distinct, seems to regularly be misused instead of discreet, though not the other way round.

I can understand that a lot of the homophone errors found in media arise due to speech to text use, but how many are missed because of low education standards of "professional" editors? Online news services and bloggers seem to be at the forefront of the lowering of standards.

Ross at Play

@Wheezer

locals insist that it is pronounced My*am*uh. Err, not in English it's not!

I think it is correct to pronounce proper names of places, or things from a specific region, in the way they are pronounced locally.
For example, I pronounce 'Derby' differently for the Epsom Derby and Kentucky Derby.
You say 'not in English' - try traveling around England pronouncing place names the way they appear.
For common nouns, I would agree there is (usually) only one correct pronunciation.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Ross at Play

Which isn't to mention place names that aren't English words in the first place. California has some quality zingers in that department. You can spot the newbie/tourist in the area by their Anglicization of the place name.

Replies:   Dominions Son  ustourist
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Which isn't to mention place names that aren't English words in the first place. California has some quality zingers in that department.


And some of them are just too damn long to bother with. The full Spanish name for Los Angeles is El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles (the Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels)

ustourist

@Not_a_ID

To be fair, when foreign place names are brought to the US, the pronunciation can be a bit mangled as well when the more recent locals finish with it, even though the original settlers probably used the overseas pronunciation. Newbies and tourists can have a problem because they don't anglicize it enough but use the one they know.
DooBoys in PA (DuBois)
and
Ver-sales in KY (Versailles)

How are non-americans expected to know the difference between Kansas and Arkansas ?
(or how to pronounce words like corps) :0)

Replies:   Wheezer  Not_a_ID  sejintenej
sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

But you never know how the US meanings will go now the US media is pushing so many changes to word meanings so they don't have to remember the proper word usage all the time.

I would obstrigillate; it is not only the media (US, Brit, Aussie and the rest) which is responsible. I would add in authors of all genres, immigrants using their mother tongues (how many from Louisiana use local words of French origin?), foreign words for concepts previously rare or unknown (tsunami for example), kids who want to keep their statements from adult understanding and also thee and me.
In the UK kids of 15 or so do an equivalent of the US GED (we call it General Certificate of Secondary Education or GCSE) and one exam includes old English such as

For hym was levere have at his beddes heed
Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed,
Of Aristotle and his philosophie,
Than robes riche, or fithele, or gay sautrie
. (I hated Chaucer!)
and another required author was Shakespeare.

Change is all about us and because we lack the French "immortals" (trust them be bugger up a word) who resist change it will continue.
For those who looked askance (do you know that word?) at my third word, it is legal, proper but seems to exist now solely in the Phrontistery.

madnige

@Ernest Bywater

There's a huge difference between a normal drift and an concerted effort to make the definition of a word almost the opposite of what it is because someone mis-uses it and then claims it's a valid usage, which is what happened with decimate. Also the deliberate hi-jacking of a word is wrong, as well, but happens too, and it only works because of the way the media will support the hi-jacking of words like gay.

They're stealing my, your and our ability to fully express ourselves!

Crumbly Writer

@Grant

And using the wrong word doesn't help in the slightest in getting those ideas across.
Hence this thread.

I never suggested that homophones/homonyms weren't a problem, I only said they didn't throw me out of stories unless there were a lot of them.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

I never used OpenOffice, but Word isn't consistent with itself. It suggests changes that are totally wrong. I don't recall the word, but Word suggested that I use X instead of Y. I changed the word to X. Word then suggested that I use Y instead of X. That is ludicrous so you can't trust Word to give you the proper word.

No one has trusted WORD's spell/grammar checker for a long time, but like all tools, it at least highlights what needs to be reviewed. You can always ignore it, but it at least highlights certain problems. However, the product is horribly outdated and M$ has no interest in improving the product at all.

Replies:   REP
Wheezer

@ustourist


How are non-americans expected to know the difference between Kansas and Arkansas ?

(or how to pronounce words like corps) :0)


Even more confusing, in Kansas is the Arkansas River and the town of Arkansas City - both pronounced are*Kansas as opposed to the state of Arkansas, pronounced are*kan*saw. And nobody can decide if residents of the state of Arkansas are Arkansans, or Arkansawyers. :P

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@ustourist


(or how to pronounce words like corps) :0)


If you're familiar with french, you should have fewer problems with it than the current sitting President of the United States. :)

It was a good laugh early in his presidency when he was doing a televised memorial event at Arlington and started reading out the rate and rank on a series of Hospital Corpsman, and read it as Hospital Corpse-man, rather than the usual Hospital Core-man.

They're medics, not coroners! (or zombies, or necromancers)

Edit: Of course I guess that also leads us to. It is the "United States Marine Corps," not the "United States Marine Core" or "United States Marine Corp."

Replies:   richardshagrin
sejintenej

@ustourist

How are non-americans expected to know the difference between Kansas and Arkansas ?

(or how to pronounce words like corps) :0)

There must be a thousand of those like corps. There is a hotel in Manhattan where the staff get it's name wrong. They proounce it like BERKshire when it should sound like BARKshire.
People's names can be a problem - I'm not sure if I am spelling Cholmondley correctly when it is pronounced Chumly.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

There must be a thousand of those like corps. There is a hotel in Manhattan where the staff get it's name wrong. They proounce it like BERKshire when it should sound like BARKshire.

It's named after the Berkshire mountains in upstate New York and Massachusetts, and those are pronounced BERKshire. I lived there for many years, and never heard anyone refer to it as the BARKshire mountains!

The hotel owners may insist it's pronounced differently, perhaps for legal reasons, but if their staff did, they'd alienate all their customers, who know the correct pronunciation.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Berkshire


Is an old English place, and the US places using the name are, like many others, named after the UK originals and use the same spelling as the UK ones. However, where they are in the UK have local dialects, and the way it's said with their accent it sound like Barkshire. It's not as if US locations don't have some things said different to the way they're spelled due to local dialects, a classic example is the differences in how you say the ansas part of the states of Kansas and Arkansas, or how you pronounce the state that's home to the city of Boston.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Crumbly Writer

I agree wholeheartedly. It sounded to me like you were telling people that they should use Word to determine the proper terms to use in a story.

Zom
Updated:

Words with long and short histories are notoriously pronounced very differently in the US. Two that come immediately to mind are 'solder' and 'aluminium'. In the US, the former is pronounced 'sodder' completely ignoring the 'l', and the latter is pronounced 'aloominum' completely ignoring an entire syllable. The rest of the world gets it right. No idea how the US makes this stuff up :-)

Replies:   sejintenej  Wheezer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Is an old English place, and the US places using the name are, like many others, named after the UK originals and use the same spelling as the UK ones. However, where they are in the UK have local dialects, and the way it's said with their accent it sound like Barkshire. It's not as if US locations don't have some things said different to the way they're spelled due to local dialects, a classic example is the differences in how you say the ansas part of the states of Kansas and Arkansas, or how you pronounce the state that's home to the city of Boston.

That was my point. The hotel in Manhattan is not named after the English town, but after the American mountains, which originally was named after the English location, but whose name was later Americanized. The staff's pronunciation isn't wrong, instead your assumptions about where the name came from are way off base.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
sejintenej
Updated:

@Zom


Two that come immediately to mind are 'solder' and 'aluminium'. In the US, the former is pronounced 'sodder' completely ignoring the 'l',


UK Plumbers (don't pronounce the 'b') and others in like trades in the UK do say sodder as a verb exactly as you write that Americans do but pronounce the 'l' for the noun denoting the material used.

I see that the second metal is starting to be called 'alu' over here.

As for the hotel I learned half a century ago to try to always use local pronunciation - avoids misunderstandings.

richardshagrin

@Not_a_ID

There is also the United States Army Signal Corps. Orange forever!

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@richardshagrin

There is also the United States Army Signal Corps. Orange forever!


Can't forget U.S. Army Corps of Engineers if we're going that way. :P

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

Can't forget U.S. Army Corps of Engineers if we're going that way.

Which way, down the toilet? After a lifetime watching their efforts along the Atlantic coast and the Mississippi, they have the worst history of unintended failures (an unwillingness to consider potential future impacts from their works). Most of their projects, aside from a few in the 50s, ended up creating worse environments than they started with.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Most of their projects, aside from a few in the 50s, ended up creating worse environments than they started with.


The primary purpose of the Army Corps of Engineers is Field Force Engineering like what the Seabees did in WWII.

All the civil projects are just to give them opportunities to train (experiment with questionable techniques?) when we aren't at war.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Wheezer

@Zom

Two that come immediately to mind are 'solder' and 'aluminium'. In the US, the former is pronounced 'sodder' completely ignoring the 'l', and the latter is pronounced 'aloominum'

That's because the American Spelling is 'aluminum' (note the absence of the i before the last u.

Replies:   Zom
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

The staff's pronunciation isn't wrong,


First I wasn't the one to raise the mispronunciation of Berkshire, however, the claim someone mispronounced it wrong in between doesn't mean the third level misuse is valid and shouldn't be corrected to the original. If that was the case, then the way to say the shortened form of the United States of America should sound like ooosa as its acronym.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

All the civil projects are just to give them opportunities to train (experiment with questionable techniques?) when we aren't at war.


And in most cases the projects were never approved to be done they way they wanted to do them, they got heavily changed by bureaucrats and politicians in Washington for various political reasons.

Zom

@Wheezer

the American Spelling is 'aluminum'

But only officially since 1925 when the American Chemical Society decided to ignore the rest of the world and change the spelling to suit the local mispronunciation.

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@Zom

But only officially since 1925 when the American Chemical Society decided to ignore the rest of the world and change the spelling to suit the local mispronunciation.


We've been rejecting the way the British do things since 1776. :D

Replies:   Zom  Ernest Bywater
Zom
Updated:

@Wheezer

We've been rejecting the way the British do things since 1776.


Oooh, it's not just the British ... :-)

Replies:   Wheezer
Ernest Bywater

Just watching a video on YouTube about remote locations, the US presenter keeps saying inhibited when he means inhabited. I wonder how long before the voting fools at the on-line dictionaries will say they're valid alternate word choices.

Ernest Bywater

@Wheezer

We've been rejecting the way the British do things since 1776


Sp that's why you still use British Imperial Measurements in so many things.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Not_a_ID

It was a done deal, once the Brits started using Metric before we did. :)

Replies:   sejintenej
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Sp that's why you still use British Imperial Measurements in so many things.


Actually we don't, we use the same names, but some of the units are defined differently, particularly with regards to measures of fluid volume.

The British pint is 20% larger than the US pint, but the British pint is 20 fluid ounces and the US Pint is 16 fluid ounces making the British Imperial Fluid ounce 4% smaller than the US fluid ounce.

Units of length are in currently in agreement, but that only goes back to 1959 when a treaty between the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand created a standard international foot. The US maintains a separate "survey foot" as the old US definition to avoid error resulting from trying to convert old survey measurements or to comparing old surveys to new surveys.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_the_imperial_and_US_customary_measurement_systems

Wheezer

@Zom

Oooh, it's not just the British ... :-)


Wasn't it once said that the sun never set on the British Empire? I blame it on their meddling in world affairs before the US began meddling in world affairs. :P

Replies:   Zom
Zom

@Wheezer

Wasn't it once said that the sun never set on the British Empire? I blame it on their meddling in world affairs before the US began meddling in world affairs.

Nice one :-) I guess this all is what happens when marketing is applied to standard units. "Try this new improved standard unit. It's better than your old musty boring standard unit ..."

Replies:   Not_a_ID  madnige
Not_a_ID

@Zom

Or when a "standard unit" was based, often literally, on a body part. Depending on whose body you're referencing from, it gets crazy.

Generally speaking that worked fine up until the last few centuries, when precision became a lot more possible to achieve, and standardization became desired as specialized skills became even more specialized. (Instead of craftsmen building everything from scratch, they source elsewhere for some or many of the parts involved. Or ultimately in an assembly situation, you're trying to minimize the number of actual craftsmen involved in production)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

Generally speaking that worked fine up until the last few centuries, when precision became a lot more possible to achieve, and standardization became desired as specialized skills became even more specialized. (Instead of craftsmen building everything from scratch, they source elsewhere for some or many of the parts involved. Or ultimately in an assembly situation, you're trying to minimize the number of actual craftsmen involved in production)

An excellent example was when gold was measured by the "pinch". During the California Gold Rush, the banks hired assayers who were brusing hulks, so their "pinch" amounted to several in the hands of anyone else.

In England, the "foot" was officially measured based on the shoe size of the current king, but that ran into trouble when they began building factories using standard measurements, and they wouldn't work in certain countries because the measurements were SO far off. That's when they started defining measurements as something other than someone's body parts.

Replies:   Capt Zapp
Capt Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

That's when they started defining measurements as something other than someone's body parts.


One thing I am curious about is why every system of measurement is not base-10. It seems it would have been the logical choice since the average person has 10 digits between their two hands. Why are there 12 inches in a foot? 3 feet to a yard? etc, etc. Even the older British monetary system of pence, farthings, and whatnot wasn't base-10.

Replies:   Zom  Crumbly Writer  Not_a_ID
Zom
Updated:

@Capt Zapp

Why are there 12 inches in a foot?

The 'dozen' is an ancient and clever unit. The ancient Babylonian system of mathematics was sexagesimal (base 60) from where we get 60 minutes and 360 degrees. 12 is a submultiple of 60, and a submultiple of 24 (hours in a day). But the most useful thing about 12 is how it can be divided. A dozen buns (or loaves or eggs or anything) can be portioned up amongst folk readily, as it is whole divisible by 2, 3, 4, and 6. 10 can't be.

Replies:   Ross at Play  sejintenej
Crumbly Writer

@Capt Zapp

Why are there 12 inches in a foot?

Simply because the early measurements weren't invented by an international committee, instead they were based on body parts. One foot equaled whatever space your foot took up. When the demand for standardization arose, they measured the King's foot, specifically the King of England, which gained widespread acceptance once England began colonizing much of the Western World. It was only changed to 12" when it was finally set before, you guessed it, an international committee of scientists, who decided that 12", too long to stand for any man, was a more objective standard benefiting no country in particular.

Early measurements were built from the ground up using the simplest unit of measure, something that everyone had ready at hand, or at the end of their hand. No one ever stopped to ask: "What's the most universal number?" People started measuring things long before they formalized writing. Standardization only started in the late 17th century (I'm guessing). After all, how far is a friggin' cubit?

Replies:   Zom  Capt Zapp  Dominions Son
Zom

@Crumbly Writer

It was only changed to 12" when it was finally set (by) an international committee of scientists

The Romans subdivided their 'foot' into 12 unciae (from which both the English words "inch" and "ounce" are derived), just a wee bit before the said committee.

Capt Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

Early measurements were built from the ground up using the simplest unit of measure, something that everyone had ready at hand, or at the end of their hand.


That is my point exactly. Everyone has 10 fingers, so why all the odd measurements?

Ross at Play

@Zom

Agreed.
I was already thinking, Why not base-12?, after reading this by CW above: "One thing I am curious about is why every system of measurement is not base-10."

madnige

@Zom

"Try this new improved standard unit. It's better than your old musty boring standard unit ..."


I love standards - and there are so many to choose from

OTOH, I grew up with Imperial measurements, and they make perfect sense, as illustrated in this Youtube video. Not so the USA system, where often you need to know a lot of other information to intepret a number - for instance, paper weights: as I understand, US paper weights are expressed as N lb, which is the weight of a standard ream of paper - but depending on the use of the paper, there could be differing number of sheets in the ream, and the sheet size could be different, so in reality N is just an arbitrary label which can't be compared across different uses (e.g.; paperback covers vs pages). The Metric system is consistent across all uses and can easily be extended to esoteric uses (e.g., Al foil) and 'grams per square meter' figures for paper and card lets you quickly take a number of pages and book size, and calculate a fairly accurate weight for a book (and do things like manipulate font size and margins to achieve a certain weight)

@Capt Zapp

Except, not quite everybody has ten fingers - Polydactyly has an incidence of about 0.2%

Replies:   Capt Zapp
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

After all, how far is a friggin' cubit?


The distance from your elbow to the tip of your middle finger.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

And when intelligent aliens come (back) to visit us, they'll wonder why we were dumb enough to base our system of units on our number of fingers rather than using binary or one of its derivatives (octal, hexadecimal) ;)

AJ

Replies:   Zom
Zom
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

when intelligent aliens come (back) to visit us

Well ... the Ultimate Question, and its Answer do agree when one uses base 13, so perhaps there is a message there ...

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Zom

Nah. First contact will be with an alien race that uses base 41.

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I was already thinking, Why not base-12?, after reading this by CW above: "One thing I am curious about is why every system of measurement is not base-10."

It wasn't my quote. Instead, I was responding to it by specifying that basing things around 10 is an attempt to standardize, whereas most early groups based measurements on common units (a pinch, a foot, a yard (basically the distance between your fingers and your elbow). The idea of base-10 originated around the time that "0" was invented by the Babylonians around 650 AD, well after most of these measurements had been around for hundreds of years. It was more afterthought than guiding principal.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Capt Zapp

@madnige

Except, not quite everybody has ten fingers - Polydactyly has an incidence of about 0.2%


You are correct of course. I should have said the average person or the majority of people instead of 'everyone'. Even so, does that mean the person who came up with 12" to a foot or packages of a dozen was of that 0.2%?

Ernest Bywater

With regards to the counting base, one of the very first bases used by primitive cultures was base 5 - a hand. I can see how a base 6 is a hand plus 1 makes a full count. But we don't really know what is behind most of the old bases, because they didn't document why where we've found it. The other aspect is the way they get recorded because Zero was not a valid number or concept until fairly late in the development of measurements.

Ernest Bywater

One of the oldest counting systems we know about is the Roman Numerals, and that's a base 5 and multiples of 5. It's theorized as being based on hands.

Dominions Son

Given the way number system bases are defined, can we really say ancient number systems that predate the concept of zero have a base at all?

As for measuring systems, most ancient measuring systems don't have any kind of consistent base or ratio between different sized units.

The most convenient and readily available measuring tool is the human body, especially when you don't need to worry about standardization or tolerances.

If you need a smaller unit of measure, use a smaller body part.

Even fluid volume measures probably have some relationship to the human body if you go back far enough.

Why is a table spoon the size that it is? Because it's a convenient size relative to the size of the human mouth.

REP

@Not_a_ID

alien race that uses base 41.


I thought that was base 51 out in Nevada. :)

Replies:   Dominions Son  garymrssn
Dominions Son

@REP

I thought that was base 51 out in Nevada. :)


No, that's an Area, not a base. There are actually two or three distinct military bases in Area 51.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
sejintenej

@Zom

A dozen buns (or loaves or eggs or anything) can be portioned up amongst folk readily, as it is whole divisible by 2, 3, 4, and 6. 10 can't be.

Spoiler; buns are made by bakers and a baker's dozen is 13. I don't have an explanation.
I do regret the loss of the old measurement and currency systems. They made you learn to do mathematics in your head but now young shop assistants need to use the shop tills.

I was in a "posh" supermarket one day looking at the salmon and commented to the chief fishmonger that £17.60 per kilo was a bit expensive. No, he replied, it's £1.76 per 100 grams. The man simply could not accept that the two prices are the same.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Zom
sejintenej

@Not_a_ID

It was a done deal, once the Brits started using Metric before we did. :)

It was forced on Britain by the French - who got it all wrong!!!!!
There are supposed to be a round number of metres from Paris to the North Pole but when they did the measurements the French got the distance wrong. By contrast the ancient Egyptians' calculation of the diameter of the earth was far more correct.

As for the metre problem it goes back to an international conference on longitude back in the 1800's. Britain had long created the mathematical tables used for navigation calculations but the conference needed to unanimously agree on a base place - zero degrees of longitude. The tables existing at the time were all based on Greenwich observatory outside London but France demanded that zero degrees must pass through Paris and would not give way.
Eventually a compromise was reached; France accepted Greenwich on the undertaking that Britain would go metric. Our road signs are still in miles!

Replies:   Ross at Play
sejintenej

@Dominions Son

Why is a table spoon the size that it is? Because it's a convenient size relative to the size of the human mouth.

I think and hope you mean dessert spoon; our table spoons are 52mm across, dessert spoons 40mm.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@sejintenej

I think and hope you mean dessert spoon; our table spoons are 52mm across, dessert spoons 40mm.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tablespoon#Traditional_definitions

I don't know what you are calling a table spoon. In the US we use table spoons for eating on a regular basis.

A table spoon in the US is a spoon slightly larger than a desert spoon. It can be used for eating or serving though is mostly used for eating.

A tea spoon in the US has a capacity of 4.92892159375 ml or 1/6 of a US fluid ounce.

A desert spoon has a capacity of 2 tea spoons

A table spoon has a capacity of 3 tea spoons or 15ml

Replies:   sejintenej
garymrssn

@REP

I thought that was base 51 out in Nevada. :)

Just to add a further thought:
Political systems are base pi.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

There are actually two or three distinct military bases in Area 51.


The most famous and secretive of which is Groom Lake and is the one most often connected with UFO activities due to the number of secret aircraft under development that operate from it.

Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

buns are made by bakers and a baker's dozen is 13. I don't have an explanation.


Goes back to the days when loaves of bread were sold by weight, and selling short meant you got a hefty fine. Since bread loaves never come out at exact weights the bakers put 13 loaves in the bag when selling a dozen to make sure the total weight exceeded the minimum they were supposed to be selling. Sales of a single loaf or a few loaves never measured with enough variation to be a problem, but a dozen would.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

can we really say ancient number systems that predate the concept of zero have a base at all?


Yes, because they needed something to tally with.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Yes, because they needed something to tally with.


So, that has nothing to do with the mathematical concept of number system bases. The very idea of a number system post dates the concept of zero.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Zom

@sejintenej

a baker's dozen is 13. I don't have an explanation

My understanding is that the 13th was a spare. the 13th of anything was not generally sold, but was often supplied free if it was available. 'Baker's dozen' is often used to generally infer having a spare in case one of the dozen is unsatisfactory. Another theory is that it was simply a product of the way bakers bake bread. Baking trays tend to have a 3:2 aspect ratio. The most efficient two-dimensional arrangement then of items on such a tray results in 13 items with a 4+5+4 hexagonal arrangement, which avoids corners, mainly to avoid the corners of a tray that will heat up and cool off faster than the edges and the interior, which would result in not cooking anything on the corner evenly with the rest. I guess we could just ask a baker :-)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

The very idea of a number system post dates the concept of zero.


The need for a mathematical numbering system was there well before the mathematical concept of zero. The real life concept of nothing is not the same as the mathematical concept of zero. However, when people saw the need to tally things, i.e. count them, they started with one, because you can't count something until you have one or more of them to count. Tally sticks were invented and used, and many ways to count and mark the counts were used.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ernest Bywater

@Zom

My understanding is that the 13th was a spare.


A baker's dozen, devil's dozen, long dozen, or long measure is 13, one more than a standard dozen. The practice of baking 13 items for an intended dozen was insurance against the items being lower than the statutory weight, or of lower than usual quality, which could cause the baker to be fined.

from:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dozen#Baker.27s_dozen

however, I had previously replied before checking this, because I came across it and the history back in high school int he 1960s. Also, back in those days the baking was wasn't done on trays like it is today, paddles were used to move items into and out of the oven, see the picture on the wikipedia page.

Replies:   Zom
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Numbers are not the same thing as a number system. You can have numbers without a "system".

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

basing things around 10 is an attempt to standardize

I totally agree that any "attempt to standardize" is desirable and MUCH more that British imperial measurements.
My point was something of a lament (as a mathematician) that measurement systems would be MORE rational if our species had evolved with 6 gingers on each hand, because the base number would then be divisible by two, three, and four.

Replies:   sejintenej
Ross at Play
Updated:

@sejintenej


There are supposed to be a round number of metres from Paris to the North Pole


There IS a round number of kilometers from the North Pole - but it is 10,000km to the equator.

The French got (that one) correct, or close enough given the variability.

I checked on Wiki, which gives the average radius of Earth as 6371km. Multiple that by 2 times pi gives 40,035km.

Zom

@Ernest Bywater

The practice of baking 13 items for an intended dozen was insurance

Yeah, I have seen this Statute Law Revision Act of 1863 explanation many times, but it doesn't pass the common sense test. What if you sold only 3 loaves to someone? Would you add a fourth (25% extra)? If there was a chance of underweight, surely making each loaf a little heavier would solve the problem more elegantly than adding >8% free goods in every dozen.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Zom

Yeah, I have seen this Statute Law Revision Act of 1863 explanation many times, but it doesn't pass the common sense test.


Actually it does, because of the quality of the scales taken about by the people involved. Being portable and cheap they didn't have fine tolerances, thus a low variance wouldn't show well enough for them to be sure. Also, you have to look at who was buying bread in what quantities, at that time. Most public houses cooked their own bread, most poor houses cooked their own bread. Bread being bought was either in a single loaf or 2 loves, or was for a rich person and bought a dozen at a time. With a single loaf or two loaves a small variance in weight couldn't be measured on the portable scales used by the enforcers. However, a low variance on 12 loaves would show. Assume, for the moment, a loaf of bread is half a pound, a single loaf that's out by half an ounce wouldn't register on the cheap scales, multiply that over 12 loaves measured together and you get a variation of 6 ounces, which is big enough to show. So toss on another loaf an it's over in the customer's favour. Most bakers didn't have accurate scales to measure weights with, they used scoops and spoons and cups to measure their ingredients, but the baking process sometimes reduces the weight a little, so they provide more than is the minimum to save the heavy fine and being put out of business.

Replies:   Zom
Zom

@Ernest Bywater

because of the quality of the scales

It would depend on how the scales were inaccurate. Proportional inaccuracy would not be mitigated this way. And there is the question of how product weights would be assessed. I suspect it unlikely that the weight police would be inclined to test each sale, although it is theoretically possible. It is more likely that a baker would be visited and a sample of produce available for sale would be assessed. In that way, some assurance by the baker that they always supplied 13 instead of 12 would not help much. Regardless, the simple precaution of ensuring each loaf was prepared on the safe side of accurate would solve all those problems. Perhaps I just don't understand the mindset of those times.

sejintenej

@Dominions Son

A table spoon has a capacity of 3 tea spoons or 15ml

Agreed; I have just used my cooking measure which confirmed that my table spoon was 15ml.

A dessert spoon was one and three quarter teaspoons or 8.75ml.

I still think a table spoon is a bit wide to go in an adult mouth comfortably.

Replies:   Dominions Son
sejintenej

@Ross at Play

My point was something of a lament (as a mathematician) that measurement systems would be MORE rational if our species had evolved with 6 gingers on each hand, because the base number would then be divisible by two, three, and four.

Noticing that one of our secretaries typed far quicker than the rest (back in days of yore) I looked and she was one of the tiny minority with an extra finger.

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

I still think a table spoon is a bit wide to go in an adult mouth comfortably.


Fits in mine just fine.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

I have read about big foot. Perhaps there could be a story about "big mouth". Or put them together and we could have a story about big foot putting one in his mouth.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

I have read about big foot. Perhaps there could be a story about "big mouth". Or put them together and we could have a story about big foot putting one in his mouth.


My mother has a small mouth. She actually had to have teeth removed because her jaw was too small for a full set of adult teeth.

She uses tablespoons for eating.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Capt Zapp


Even the older British monetary system of pence, farthings, and whatnot wasn't base-10.


This was something I forgot to address initially, and only now came back to it(obviously).

Older monetary systems can get to be more than a little chaotic because different coins were often minted using different metals. So when the coinage itself is the backing for the value of the currency in question(rather than fiat as is the norm today), things can get weird.

If you have a mostly bi-metal currency for example(gold and silver), if gold drops in value relative to silver, then instead of getting (for example) 12 pieces of silver for 1 gold piece, you now get 10 instead.

Or you get other more notorious examples, like the U.S. Treasury had in the early 20th century when it ran a bi-metal currency. Where people would exchange silver dollars or gold coins for their "legal tender" value, and then melt them down to resell the base metals for the one with the favorable exchange rate, or otherwise remove them from circulation by other means.

So some of the crazier currencies were likely outcomes of the physical(non-fiat) currency, and derived by metal types used, size(weight) of the respective coins, and the prevailing valuations for said coins relative to each other.

Replies:   sejintenej  Ross at Play
sejintenej

@Not_a_ID

Or you get other more notorious examples, like the U.S. Treasury had in the early 20th century when it ran a bi-metal currency. Where people would exchange silver dollars or gold coins for their "legal tender" value, and then melt them down to resell the base metals for the one with the favorable exchange rate, or otherwise remove them from circulation by other means.


Up to about 1948 UK florins (two shilling coins) were allegedly made of silver but the value of the silver content was less than the face value of the coin. We used to get the occasional customer at the counter asking for such older coins but didn't have the time or inclination to help them.

Ross at Play

@Not_a_ID

If you have a mostly bi-metal currency for example(gold and silver), if gold drops in value relative to silver, then instead of getting (for example) 12 pieces of silver for 1 gold piece, you now get 10 instead.

That is how the English guinea came to be worth 21 shillings. It was minted as a fixed weight of gold, and varied considerably to the number of silver shillings it was worth. It was then set at 21 shillings by the Government (I suspect for reasons related to the introduction of notes and/or adopting the "gold standard"). That may have been when they starting fiddling with the silver content as sejintenej mentioned.

Crumbly Writer

Do I hear an echo in here?

Replies:   Gauthier
Not_a_ID

Going back on the initial topic for a moment:

"He went to bed to get sum sleep."

I think it will take some time to sum up the problem there. ;)

Ernest Bywater

@Not_a_ID

"He went to bed to get sum sleep."


that's how you rest when counting sheep

Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

"He went to bed to get sum sleep."

You count sum sheep to get sum sleep so you get sum rest. That's how you tells sum stories! What's th' prob?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

You count sum sheep to get sum sleep so you get sum rest. That's how you tells sum stories! What's th' prob?


That's a good sum-ation.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Ernest Bywater

That's a good sum-ation.


The real frightening thing is there are people that won't see or understand the jokes in these last few posts.

Capt Zapp

I was given a lesson tonight by my son's 7th grade English homework. His word list for this week included two words that are not in his 'student' dictionary. One is 'homophone', which is being discussed in this thread, and the other is 'heteronym'. I had never heard the term 'heteronym' before, at least not that I can remember. Of course, it has been many years since I cracked an English book.

Ernest Bywater

@Capt Zapp

it has been many years since I cracked an English book.


Damn, you must have been good, i couldn't even get mine to smile, let alone crack up.

Dominions Son

@Capt Zapp

Of course, it has been many years since I cracked an English book.


Boy, are you strong. :)

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Capt Zapp


I had never heard the term 'heteronym' before, at least not that I can remember.


From the word parts, I sounds like it would be the opposite of homonym.

ETA:

A heteronym (also known as a heterophone) is a word that is written identically but has a different pronunciation and meaning. In other words, they are homographs that are not homophones. Thus, row (propel with oars) and row (argument) are heteronyms, but mean (intend) and mean (average) are not (since they are pronounced the same). Heteronym pronunciation may vary in vowel realisation, in stress pattern (see also Initial-stress-derived noun), or in other ways:


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heteronym_(linguistics)

Capt Zapp
Updated:

@Dominions Son


A heteronym (also known as a heterophone) is a word that is written identically but has a different pronunciation and meaning. In other words, they are homographs that are not homophones. Thus, row (propel with oars) and row (argument) are heteronyms, but mean (intend) and mean (average) are not (since they are pronounced the same). Heteronym pronunciation may vary in vowel realisation, in stress pattern (see also Initial-stress-derived noun), or in other ways:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heteronym_(linguistics)


A heteronym is not the same as a heterophone.


Noun

heterophone ‎(plural heterophones)

A word whose spelling and sound both differ from another's.

Usage notes

Since, taken strictly, this term can be applied to the vast majority of word pairs, its use tends to be restricted to closely-related homœographs that are pronounced differently; for example, the six alternative spellings of ailurophile, which are very similarly spelt but have four different pronunciations between them.


My source:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/heterophone

Edit to correct missing word.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Capt Zapp


A heteronym is not the same as a heterophone.


Take it up with Wikipedia. :)

Ross at Play

I edit for an author who is blind and uses voice activated software to write.
I almost missed its "flower mill" instead of "flour mill". Whew!

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I almost missed its "flower mill" instead of "flour mill". Whew!

If it was "flower mil", it would at least count as a metric measurement. Technically, I guess a "flower mill" is a perfume factory that extracts smells by grinding up blossoms.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

If it was "flower mil", it would at least count as a metric measurement.


No it wouldn't. A mil is a US measurement 1 mil = 1/1000th of an inch.

Ross at Play

Homophones have the same sound , but a different meaning (the spelling may be the same).
Homographs have the same spelling, but a different meaning (the sound may be the same).
The ones we dread here are homonyms, which are both homophones and heterographs. They are often called homophones. Not technically correct, but different meanings with both the sound and spelling the same are never a problem - readers and listeners (almost?) always know which is meant from context.

I was obliged to study Latin for my first two years of high school. Students were streamed and not given any options until later. I resented that, but my parents told me just get on withr it, "It will come in handy some day." I guess they have been proven correct - forty-eight bloody years later.

richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

One such word is Polish (ethnicity from Poland, or a kind of sausage) and polish, the act of burnishing a surface to make it more reflective.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

One such word is Polish (ethnicity from Poland, or a kind of sausage) and polish, the act of burnishing a surface to make it more reflective.

Or, more in keeping with the types of stories on SOL, the art of burnishing the sausages of the citizens of Poland to produce happy (polished, as in 'well-edited) endings.

Not_a_ID

Not quite what the topic is going for but I enjoyed these recently:

Caption instead of Captain.
Mint instead of meant.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

Caption instead of Captain.
Mint instead of meant.

I mint Caption, instead of Sergeant Major.

Ross at Play

Voice recognition software can comes up with some tricky ones to spot.
I thought "flower mill" was a good catch, but I missed "serge" (a strong cloth) instead of "surge" (rushing) several times before finally noticing it.

sejintenej
Updated:

Background; Jessica is a nearly 14 year old school-kid

........................................

Jessica laughed, but then asked me, "What do you want?"

"Oh, don't worry. He just wants something with a cherry."

Jessica's mouth dropped open. .

-----------------------------------

"My dad has a huge Sunday in his hands. He shouldn't be eating that much. Oh hell!"

Jessica opened the door, and with a little grin on her face, said, "Here's your cherry."

My dad walked out with two Sundays in his hands and looked at the situation.

Grant

This is one that always does my head in, and it appears it's a US regional thing.
eg

It's the old saw. 'Floggings will continue until morale improves.'

What's an old saw, something used for cutting wood or metal, got to do with an old saying???

Replies:   Dominions Son  Not_a_ID
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Grant


What's an old saw, something used for cutting wood or metal, got to do with an old saying???


Yes, it's an old US thing, but I don't think it's all that regional. It's listed in 18th century dictionaries.

A saw in this context is an old saying or commonly repeated phrase or idea; a conventional wisdom.

an old saw is used frequently, but it's technically redundant.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saw_(saying)

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

According to thefreedictionary.com it's MUCH TOO OLD to be a US idiom, but probably just survived longest there. It's entry is:

old saw
A proverb or maxim, as in Mom's always repeating the old saw, "Haste makes waste." This term uses saw in the sense of "saying," and old in the sense of "wise" rather than old-fashioned. [Second half of 1400s]

Dictionary.com has an identical entry, but quotes it's source as 'The American Heritage Idioms Dictionary'

sejintenej

I don't know if it is an Americanism (I haven't seen it elsewhere) but in 547KB the past tense for to ride is apparently always spelt ROAD and not rode I would add that there are many other differences

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@sejintenej


I don't know if it is an Americanism (I haven't seen it elsewhere) but in 547KB the past tense for to ride is apparently always spelt ROAD and not rode I would add that there are many other differences


I've NEVER seen Americans spelling "rode" as "road"! I wouldn't trust any source which suggests it's a valid alternative.

By the way, what's "547KB"? I searched the web for some random blog posting, but couldn't find it. (Oh, sorry, I assume "547KB" refers to the SOL story.) In that case, I assume it's a simple typo rather than a regional variant.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I don't know if it is an Americanism (I haven't seen it elsewhere) but in 547KB the past tense for to ride is apparently always spelt ROAD and not rode I would add that there are many other differences

I've NEVER seen Americans spelling "rode" as "road"! I wouldn't trust any source which suggests it's a valid alternative.

By the way, what's "547KB"? I searched the web for some random blog posting, but couldn't find it. (Oh, sorry, I assume "547KB" refers to the SOL story.) In that case, I assume it's a simple typo rather than a regional variant.

Simple typo? very possibly - one program spellcheck has the option to amend every occurrence of a wrong spelling and it is very easy to click the wrong option

Sorry; the figure should have been over 700KB which is the size of the story in the SOL index under the author's name. Ergo it is a sizeable story - not a single screen one but many chapters and the spelling error occurs in many chapters - I don't think I saw what I consider correct.

The author? prolific and I really like his stories and I haven't seen these sorts of errors in the others that I have read. I am sure he is American; I know which state he lives in and what (?one of) his businesses is.

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

The author? prolific and I really like his stories and I haven't seen these sorts of errors in the others that I have read. I am sure he is American; I know which state he lives in and what (?one of) his businesses is.

If he keeps making the same mistake, I'd point it out to him (rather than voicing it here). He could conceivable change every instance in a few minutes with search and replace (one at a time, of course).

Gauthier

@Crumbly Writer

Do I hear an echo in here?

That one got my vote, hear/here really annoy me.

Replies:   richardshagrin
Ross at Play

@sejintenej

The author? prolific and I really like his stories and I haven't seen these sorts of errors in the others that I have read.

My guess would be the author NEEDS to rely on voice recognition software, they come up with some really weird word choices.
I would send them feedback suggesting if they cannot see their writing, they can use Post Edit Request and they'll then find a competent proofreader.

madnige

Infer/Imply

"Are you inferring that I'm thick?"

"I am now"

richardshagrin

@Gauthier

Heer is also a possible homonym, at least for German Speakers. The German Army (German: Deutsches Heer) is the land component of the armed forces of Germany.

Heer definition, an old unit of measure for linen and woolen yarn, equivalent to about 600 yards (550 meters).

Name: Heer
Gender: Female

Usage: Heer is not a popular first name. It is more often used as a girl (female) name.

People having the name Heer are in general originating from United States of America.

Name Meaning of Heer
We apologize, but we don't have a meaning for this name. Please feel free to read what others say about this name and to share your comments if you have more information.
Interpretation:
Qualities: Compassionate, Idealistic
Ruling planet: Mars
Colors: Red
Gemstones: Bloodstone
Popularity of the Name
The name Heer is ranked on the 17,242nd position of the most used names. It means that this name is rarely used.

We estimate that there are at least 12800 persons in the world having this name which is around 0.001% of the population. The name Heer has four characters. It means that it is relatively short-length, compared to the other names in our database.

We do not have enough data to display the number of people who were given the name Heer for each year.

Looking up things on the internet can be addictive.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@richardshagrin


Looking up things on the internet can be addictive.

Such as poll numbers, or the latest misstatements, opposed to policy statements, which few care about.

Maybe I'll use "Herr" for a character name:

"Herr? That's an unusual name? Where's it from?"

"It's from my mother," she said, rolling her eyes. "My mother was as ignorant slut, my dad enjoyed banging her, and neither ever heard of researching names!"


It paints an immediate picture of someone's relationship to their family.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

Maybe I'll use "Herr" for a character name


If your proof-reader looks up Heer where I did, he may try to get you to change the name to Heer, instead of Herr, which sounds like someone added "r" to Her. Roll your arse, Her.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Grant


It's the old saw. 'Floggings will continue until morale improves.'



What's an old saw, something used for cutting wood or metal, got to do with an old saying???


The "old saw" is probably a (well known) cut (saw) into a block of wood. So it is another to call something an "old expression." Another way to look at it is if you are sawing through something, you're likely involved in a series of repetitive motions. Which would make good fodder for a lumberjack or other person involved in lumber to use as a reference to a "frequently repeated" phrase.

But I've always been partial to that military joke becoming leave/liberty or just flat out beatings instead of floggings.

Replies:   sejintenej
garymrssn

The stinker that I remember most vividly in an SOL story was spayed instead of splayed. The Tags did not list Body Modification so I wrote it off as a typo.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

@Not_a_ID


What's an old saw, something used for cutting wood or metal, got to do with an old saying???

The "old saw" is probably a (well known) cut (saw) into a block of wood. So it is another to call something an "old expression."


Check! The first definition I found was "A saw is an old saying or commonly repeated phrase or idea; a conventional wisdom. While "old saw" is a common phrase for "saw", some consider it a tautology"

next finding:
A proverb or maxim, as in Mom's always repeating the old saw, "Haste makes waste." This term uses saw in the sense of "saying," and old in the sense of "wise" rather than old-fashioned. [Second half of 1400s

Crumbly Writer

@garymrssn

The stinker that I remember most vividly in an SOL story was spayed instead of splayed. The Tags did not list Body Modification so I wrote it off as a typo.

"Ouch!" every male reader says, cradling their crotch in sympathetic responses.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Ouch!" every male reader says, cradling their crotch in sympathetic responses.


Not any of the ones familiar with veterinary terminology. Spaying is only done with females. It's a much more invasive surgery than neutering a male, because the abdominal cavity is opened and the uterus and ovaries are removed.

Anne N. Mouse

Perhaps one of things that irritates me the most when reading is so common that I even see it in commercial work now. Yet I'm quite sure it is incorrect usage. I am going to try and explain things to them. Is incorrect usage.
I will try to explain the solution to the equation. Is correct usage, yet very uncommon.

Replies:   Zom  REP
Zom

@Anne N. Mouse

I am going to try and explain things to them. Is incorrect usage.

Good luck with that Anne. Dictionaries say it is an idiom or colloquial usage, but commonly used. I predict it will eventually be accepted into the language as correct, mostly using the Trump system of fact-free validation :-)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Zom

mostly using the Trump system of fact-free validation :-)


as against the Clinton system of completely false fabrication after destroying any real evidence or facts there may be.

Replies:   Zom
REP

@Anne N. Mouse

one of things that irritates me


What thing are you referring to?

Replies:   Anne N. Mouse
Anne N. Mouse

@REP

Nit, I didn't proof my post. As a note, one of the things that bothers me is the to/and conflation. I expect that eventually it will be the accepted usage. I'll not say that I like it, then again, my writing reads very formally, or so I've been told.

Zom

@Ernest Bywater

against the Clinton system of completely false fabrication

Is that a double negative? Wow EB, I am honestly astonished to see that from you without a smiley.

The Presidential campaigns in the US have become so entirely introspective that anything is possible.

Have a look at this item: http://www.smh.com.au/world/us-election/make-america-great-again-is-a-great-slogan-and-other-lessons-from-brexit-for-the-us-election-20161011-gs05gm.html

and this one: https://medium.com/@theonlytoby/history-tells-us-what-will-happen-next-with-brexit-trump-a3fefd154714#.3gtdi6b5k

The latter is speculative but interestingly accurate. The former is not speculative.

Anne N. Mouse

@sejintenej

Usually, Britishisms and spelling don't bother me to much. A head job, in England, is not to receive fellatio...! Among other coulorful sayings.

Anne N. Mouse

@Dominions Son

an example of this is sow, to plant seed, or to use a thread and needle. Versus sow, a female pig.

Anne N. Mouse

@sejintenej

the past tense of ride has never been road as far as I know! A road is something you rode your motorcycle on yesterday!

Replies:   sejintenej
Anne N. Mouse

@G Younger

Were=a fucking place... Though I'm not sure that is quite true. Here's a sentence using were properly: We were at the park when we were fucking caught naked and charged with indecent exposure. Often I have to read twice to make sure that a person who writes were doesn't intend to write we're.

Capt Zapp

@Anne N. Mouse

an example of this is sow, to plant seed, or to use a thread and needle. Versus sow, a female pig.


Sow - A female pig -----> Heteronyms (Homographs)
Sow - To plant seed ---^----v
Sew - Join fabric together --> Heterographs (Homophones)
This is spelled with an E, not O

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Capt Zapp

Sow - A female pig -----> Heteronyms (Homographs)
Sow - To plant seed ---^----v
Sew - Join fabric together --> Heterographs (Homophones)
This is spelled with an E, not O


So, what else can you add to the list?

Replies:   Anne N. Mouse  Zom
Anne N. Mouse

@Ernest Bywater

as an author and a dyslexic these cause me problems. Lose, loose; chose, choose... but that is dyslexia. It isn't so much that they look alike as they have such similar meanings.

on another vein, how about a dessert of dates at a desert oasis?

Replies:   Zom
Crumbly Writer

@Anne N. Mouse

A head job, in England, is not to receive fellatio...! Among other coulorful sayings.

Head job means the same thing in the U.S., it's generally not similar to "hand job". After all, it's not a job if you love your work! ;D

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Crumbly Writer

Head job means the same thing in the U.S., it's generally not similar to "hand job". After all, it's not a job if you love your work! ;D


Yeah. "Head job" is psych visit in the U.S. too. Although giving or getting "head" means someone is having oral sex with a very specific short list of possible genitals. Unless they're getting ahead of themselves, or they've gone Queen of Hearts on someone and just settled for getting a head.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

There is a very extensive list of heterographs (same sound, different spelling) at this link:
http://www.opundo.com/homophones.htm
It may be handy for some to have.

Zom
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

So, what else can you add to the list?

Soh - A needle pulling thread.
So - To such a great extent.

Zom

@Anne N. Mouse

dessert of dates

On the odd occasion I have needed to desert a date ...

richardshagrin

@Anne N. Mouse

What happened to sew? And then there is the homonym, so. A note to follow dough.

Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

Yeah. "Head job" is psych visit in the U.S. too.

Different interpretations, I guess. For me, "Head Job" describes what Hillary did to Donald during the first U.S. presidential debate, where he got him to admit a series of embarrassing remarks by getting under his skin, or someone playing up to a politician by telling them what he wants to hear, while actively working to undermine them.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Crumbly Writer

Some of that is context sensitive. But yeah, I've seen it referenced as "getting in someone's head" and playing them. But it's still largely a derivative of the reference to a psychologist visit, as that's part of their job.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

And another entry:

A woman feinted after being scared.

Of course proper spelling would be "feigned" if going for the past tense of "feint." Except I'm pretty sure they were actually trying to use "fainted" to indicate she lost consciousness.

Edit: Going to throw in fallowed instead of followed, and hallowed vs hollowed

graybyrd
Updated:

"Thoti spoke in a clam voice, causing Edrao to look at him in shock."

--"Wolves and Dragons of the Blood" Ch. 67

A bit off topic, but hilarious none the less.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@graybyrd

there's a lot of typos the spell checker won't mark for you to look at because the error makes a valid word. I've some common ones caused by my hands now working at slightly different speeds while typing, thus one finger hits ahead of schedule:

sue = use
fro = for
form = from
in = on (and the reverse - both due to hitting the key beside what i want by mistake)
and many more.
si = is
to = too ( and the reverse)

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@Ernest Bywater

Understood. There are a few mistypes common to my club fingers, so frequent that I've flagged them for auto correction. Too bad we don't have an auto-correct AI algorithm to detect what we mean rather than what we type, eh?

Cheers.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@graybyrd

Too bad we don't have an auto-correct AI algorithm to detect what we mean rather than what we type, eh?

It often amuses me when people blame things on "computer error" when the system does exactly what they told it to do, just not what they wanted it to do.

Good programming can reduce such errors, however the more idiot proof you make something just results in a better the class of idiot evolving.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd
Updated:

@Grant

Getting back on topic briefly (is that in one's briefs?); (momentarily [moment arm; range of motion; exceedingly short [brief] in this instance; in the U.S. days of yore factored as "short-stroking") I've not seen my all-time favorite clinker:

"sweatheart!"

"Dearest darling, my sweatheart, won't you be my Valentine?"

- - -

Place names: here in the PacNW, we've numerous native American place names: Snohomish (snow-HOME-ish); Skycomish (sky-COMB-ish); and similar accent-placement words, until we come to Swinomish, which confusingly is pronounced SWIN-oh-mish. My wife was raised in the Kootenai Valley of Idaho (Koo'-ten-ee) while I was raised in the Methow Valley of Washington. (MET'-how; spoken as two words with a hard 'T'. A village in the Methow Valley was called Methow (METHhow) with a soft 'th' and run together. Go figure!

And there was my time spent (briefly) in Spanish Fork, Utah, where locals pronounced it with a soft 'ahr' and could possibly leave the impression they were bahrn in a boehrn in Spanish Fahrk.

Boise, Idaho (where spouse & I lived for years) devolved from the exclamation of delight of the early French party that crossed the wicked Snake River plains to finally arrive at a high ridge overlooking the Boise River valley: "les bois! les bois!" meaning the heavily wooded river bottom at the edge of the hostile desert. Of course that became twisted to "Boy-zee" in Yank-speak. Which led to my humilation when I stopped for coffee in Boise, Oklahoma and was rudely informed that if I persisted in calling their fair burgh "boy-zee" I'd be wearing the next cup of hot coffee. Local residents proudly called their village "Boyce!" I was back through there a few times in my 18-wheel "big rig" but I never again stopped for coffee.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@graybyrd


Of course that became twisted to "Boy-zee" in Yank-speak. Which led to my humilation when I stopped for coffee in Boise, Oklahoma and was rudely informed that if I persisted in calling their fair burgh "boy-zee" I'd be wearing the next cup of hot coffee. Local residents proudly called their village "Boyce!" I was back through there a few times in my 18-wheel "big rig" but I never again stopped for coffee.


With family living in, around, and from Boise, ID. I've always been under the impression it was more between "boy-si"/"boy-see" You can certainly hear the "se" part of the name, usually I'm seen the S being rendered into a Z as more of a joke or high excitement(child) thing.

Dubois, ID is another one that found the Yankee word butcher. Don't try deriving it's enunciation from the French word/name. In this case, that I is enunciated as a Y and in their case, that S does almost become a Z. So it sounds more like "du-boyz."

Tooele, Utah is another fun one. It's "Too-el'ah" and that is el'ah like many people will say the first part of elevator or elevate. So don't go calling it "too-lee" or "too-li" although in the past 10 years or so, it seems the locals have ceased caring overly much. But that's probably because they've been sub-urbanized by Salt Lake City, so the more recent transplants who don't care nearly outnumber the locals, so they've resigned themselves to the new butchering.

I'm not even going to try to describe the local enunciation for Norfolk, VA.

graybyrd

@Not_a_ID

Isn't it fun, tho? (grin)

Yeh... as a preschooler, I wound up in VA as a construction camp brat. Portsmouth. Norfolk==>"naw fuk" as I recall. Although I was too young to comprehend the family tragedy, Mom suffered a catastrophic miscarriage while we were there; step-dad hired a black 'nanny' to look after us kids and tend Mom while she recovered. I was responsible for a family 'legend', it seems. "Mammy" took me shopping with her; we rode one of the old post-war buses. I stood in the seat, stared at a man in the seat behind us; turned to Mammy and voiced, "Mammy, he sure is black, ain't he!" I was still hearing about how Mammy had to hustle me off the bus at the next stop, years later.

Odd, but in my years of living in Boy-zee, I seldom heard the sibilant; it was usually the buzzy zee sound. As for Dubois, usually mangled by Utah-Idaho Mormon speech, it came out du-boyz, accent on the boyz.

Another story about Tooele, Utah. I was attending US Navy Electronics "A" school on Treasure Island in the early 60's. A bunch of us had gotten our Ham Radio licenses, and were privileged to have our own "duty watch" in the K6NCG (kay six navy coffee grounds) club station. I was operating a single-sideband transceiver one evening and made contact with a Utah ham. After several attempts I still couldn't understand his QTH (location). Finally, after several attempts I was able to write down--as he slowly, phonetically, enunciated each letter: T--O--O--E--L--E. I stared at that and still couldn't believe it! How the HELL does that come out as "too-illa," or "twilla!" It was embarrassing. SSB speech is not always easy to understand, anyway, as it usually as a Donald Duck edge to it, unless perfectly tuned. That's one I never, ever forgot.

At the mouth of the Methow (Met-how) River where it meets the Columbia is a rebuilt town (the original got drowned in the reservoir behind a dam) called Pateros. One day a tourist asked stepdad, "How's that pronounced?" Step-dad, a former iron worker, high rigger, and lately a logger, grinned at the flat-lander and said, "Simple. Pat-her-ass!"

Capt Zapp

@Not_a_ID

I'm not even going to try to describe the local enunciation for Norfolk, VA.


If you think Norfolk is bad, try Onancock (O-nan-cock) and Assawoman (Ass-a-woman. legend has it that a not too bright man was asked how he found his way to the location to which he replied that he asked a woman). Both also names of towns in Virginia.

Accomack, Accomac, Accawmacke, and Accawmack are all pronounced the same - A(as in Apple)-Co-Mack. They are the names of the county, town, school, and original natives respectively.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Capt Zapp

Accomack, Accomac, Accawmacke, and Accawmack are all pronounced the same - A(as in Apple)-Co-Mack. They are the names of the county, town, school, and original natives respectively.


That sounds as bad as the people recording the names of illiterate and semi-literate Irish immigrants. The same name said in the same accent was often listed as either Kelly, Keelly Kayle, Keily and about a dozen others, all based on how the listener wrote out the name they heard through the accent. In some of the historical record searches you can see family members going through different desks at Ellis Island ending up with different spellings of their names on the official records because of the different people recording how they heard the names. Also, it was often a different spelling to what was on the ship's passenger log, because that was written out by people back in Ireland who understood them. It makes family history research interesting, to say the least.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Anne N. Mouse

the past tense of ride has never been road as far as I know! A road is something you rode your motorcycle on yesterday!

If you go back to Sept 29 you will see that I was suggesting that this error was a simple typo by ** and it was not I who committed it this time.

sejintenej

@Anne N. Mouse

Usually, Britishisms and spelling don't bother me to much. A head job, in England, is not to receive fellatio...! Among other coulorful sayings

It can be, but it can also be the gift Henry VIII gave with an axe to a wife or two

sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

In some of the historical record searches you can see family members going through different desks at Ellis Island ending up with different spellings of their names on the official records because of the different people recording how they heard the names.

Not only Ellis Island but also in Ireland.
My uncle had an 'e' on the end of his family name, my mother had no 'e' on the end of her name and my aunt (their sister)'s birth certificate has been officially changed to remove the 'e'. Going back in time I suspect that there should have been no 'e'

sejintenej

@Not_a_ID

Dubois, ID is another one that found the Yankee word butcher. Don't try deriving it's enunciation from the French word/name. In this case, that I is enunciated as a Y and in their case, that S does almost become a Z. So it sounds more like "du-boyz."

I think that this sort of thing happens everywhere. Within France 'champs" as in Champ Elysée can be pronounced champ or even shang (as in Shanghai).

In the office there were impossibilities in understanding staff who spoke with the accent of a city 250 miles away; in one case I remember it involved the issue of a licence worth hundreds of millions!

technomage

@Not_a_ID

Growing up around Tidewater (the 5 cities Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake) and Hampton Roads (adding the 2 cities on the peninsula - Hampton and Newport News) We can readily tell when someone is a transplant or a tourist (turrist...almost the same way as terrorist is also turrist, for much the same reasons)

Norfolk = Noa-fuck
suffolk = suf-fuck
Portsmouth = ports-muth
Chesapeake = ches-a-peek
Hampton = Ham-tun
sort of like the locals add an extra 'r' to water...wartur

richardshagrin

In Seattle (this is going to become C attle, and spelled Cattle) on Queen Anne Hill there is a Queen Anne Activities Center and across the street, the Queen Anne Aquatic Center. They are both pronounced Quack. (from QAAC). I was a member of a steering committee. I said our job was to convert bull to steers.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@technomage


Growing up around Tidewater (the 5 cities Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake) and Hampton Roads (adding the 2 cities on the peninsula - Hampton and Newport News) We can readily tell when someone is a transplant or a tourist


San Diego County has that test with La Jolla, which is anything but jolly in its enunciation.

By far the biggest western U.S. brainteaser I've seen is the Zyzzyx Road exit on I15 between Barstow, CA and Las Vegas, NV. (Zyz-zyx or almost Xyz-zix)

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@Not_a_ID

La Jolla (lah hoy-yah) is a good'un; I was often in El Cajon (not el ka-john but el ka-hone) often during Navy leave. I always chuckled when passing Zyzzyx Road in later years (mentally, I thought "zizz-icks" when seeing that sign).

As an aside, in the eastern Utah desert north of the Book Cliffs region, there's a local landmark: two same-sized sandy knolls, each topped with a cluster of dark scrub brush. From a distance, they're a remarkable sight. They're affectionately called "Mollie's Nipples."

I'm sure that the BLM (US Bureau of Land Management) which owns and controls the area, has since "expunged" the reference from the maps. They're not known for their sense of humo[u]r.

In that same vein, the US Federal Gov't has, for years now, been expunging the word "squaw" from multitudes of historic western place names. Probably a good thing, but it becomes hard to decide on a stopping place. How about "Brave Meadows" or "Cherokee Ridge" or ... well, I guess that "N-Word Creek" had to go. Just as the BLM has no sense of humo[u]r, neither did the early explorers, trappers, or prospectors have much of a sense of political correctness. Might have had something to do with other place names, such as "Massacre Point".

Replies:   sejintenej  Not_a_ID
sejintenej

@technomage

Norfolk = Noa-fuck
suffolk = suf-fuck
Portsmouth = ports-muth
Chesapeake = ches-a-peek
Hampton = Ham-tun

sort of like the locals add an extra 'r' to water...wartur

Apart from Norfolk (we would say norfuck) those look like classic English (UK) pronunciations

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej
Updated:

@graybyrd


La Jolla (lah hoy-yah) is a good'un; I was often in El Cajon (not el ka-john but el ka-hone) often during Navy leave.


Not knowing enough US geography those seem to be close to classic pronunciations. The J is pronounced as a guttural expulsion of breath and a double 'll' in much of South America and Andalucía as a 'y'. (The port of Callao is pronounced cayyow)

I would have thought if you were in the south west states that would be automatic. That area is loaded with Spanish from the original Arabic (vega = well so Las Vegas is simply 'the wells', mesa = a table, Guad (as in Guadalcanal) is simply Moorish Arabic for water).

Zyzzyx Road does lose me; is it a derivative of some Original American language? Surely one listens for a local to say it and imitates the sound?

I had to deal with 'Itau s a' which is derived from Amerindian and, although properly three words, is said as one whilst the name 'Xhosa' (which I had to say extensively in presentations) is (almost) unpronounceable by a Caucasian.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Capt Zapp
Not_a_ID

@graybyrd

I'm sure that the BLM (US Bureau of Land Management) which owns and controls the area, has since "expunged" the reference from the maps. They're not known for their sense of humo[u]r.


They evidently did the same thing to "Hell's Half-Acre" (now "Lava Trail System") on I-15 in Idaho between Blackfoot and Idaho Falls. Kind of surprised nobody has tried to rename Hell's Canyon on the other side of the state just yet.

http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en/visit_and_play/places_to_see/upper_snake_field/Hell_s_Half_Acre_Lava_Trail.html

Not_a_ID

@sejintenej

Zyzzyx Road does lose me; is it a derivative of some Original American language? Surely one listens for a local to say it and imitates the sound?


"The Highway Stations" which did traffic and Las Vegas promotional stuff and covered just about the entire distance between Barstow and Vegas called it as I said earlier.

"Zyz-zix" with the initial "Zy" opening up like you'd say Xylophone, only going back to the Z sound at the obvious spot. Then they simply transposed the y to an I and called it out accordingly, as English will let you do at times. How correct they were according to the locals, I don't know. Not that there are any locals out on Zyzzyx road, not even sure why it's an exit, nobody lives anywhere close to it. Probably an access road to something somewhere, but I have no idea as to what.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Not_a_ID

Zyzzyx road, not even sure why it's an exit, nobody lives anywhere close to it.


Maybe you mean this place:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zzyzx,_California

Used to be a mineral spring and is now a centre for studying deserts, but is a few miles off the Interstate

Capt Zapp
Updated:

@sejintenej


Zyzzyx Road does lose me; is it a derivative of some Original American language?


I don't remember where I heard it but if I recall correctly, Zyzzyx was made up in an effort to make it the last city on any list created. (ETA) Basically, the "Last place on Earth" you wanted to be.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Capt Zapp

From the wikipedia link above:

The made-up name Zzyzx was given to the area in 1944 by Curtis Howe Springer, claiming it to be the last word in the English language.

Not_a_ID

Yeah, looks like my google-fu failed me, I got had by the movie, thinking they had it spelled right(going from memory), wasn't expecting a wiki entry for the place.

I'll agree with the wiki's entry for enunciation.

Crumbly Writer

@technomage

Growing up around Tidewater (the 5 cities Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake) and Hampton Roads (adding the 2 cities on the peninsula - Hampton and Newport News) We can readily tell when someone is a transplant or a tourist (turrist...almost the same way as terrorist is also turrist, for much the same reasons)

We should compare notes sometime. Not only did I spend 7 years of my youth in various bases in the Tidewater region, I also live near there now (a bit south in an old back-water state). :)

Replies:   Capt Zapp
Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

Apart from Norfolk (we would say norfuck) those look like classic English (UK) pronunciations

The communities were first established by the English shipping companies/land-companies, long before the U.S. rebellion. Thus the names were classic UK based, pronounced much the same.

Capt Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

I also live near there now (a bit south in an old back-water state). :)


If you wanted 'back-water' you should have gone east - across the Chesapeake Bay.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Capt Zapp

If you wanted 'back-water' you should have gone east - across the Chesapeake Bay.

A better choice, at least several years back, was a little south and west, into the Great Dismal Swamp (a lot of undisturbed stills back there, with few people to get in the way).

richardshagrin

Baited Breath.
Homonym Alert. Bated Breath is probably what you wanted to use. Similar to abated in meaning held or stopped. Baited would probably involve something to attract fish to bite, although other animals sometimes are hunted using other kinds of bait. Perhaps a goat to attract a lion, hunting in Africa. In either case baited breath would probably smell.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@richardshagrin


Baited Breath.


created by eating sweet food so you can catch flies.

the usual typo edit

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

eating sweets food

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

eating sweet[']s food

Sweet might object (of the infamous "Sweetie" clan), but they're rarely enticed to fall into anyone's 'mouth traps'. :)

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