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Posts Tagged ‘language’

Do You Love or Hate Spell Check?

picture of spell check

Many computers and many programs come with built in spell check software. Sometimes it's a life saver, and other times it can be just plain annoying. I'm not a fan of Microsoft Word — it's just too "omniscient," pretending to know what I meant to do or want to do next. It indents when I have no desire to indent, and it corrects spellings I don't want corrected. For instance whenever I was typing in French, Word would add an apostrophe to the word dont ... until I finally went into the settings and changed a few things. Grr!

The iPod and iPad have spell check also, which can be especially irksome. If you don't touch the little x in the suggested spelling, it pops the suggestion into whatever you're typing. And some of the "corrections" are pretty lame. It wants to change my hometown of Fostoria to distorts!

Through the years I have received various versions of a poem about spell checkers. The poem cleverly shows how homonyms would fly under the radar of a spell checker since those words, though grammatically inappropriate, are spelled correctly.

As I did a bit of research today in preparation for this post, I discovered that the original version of the poem written in 1991 by Mark Eckman was much shorter:

I have a spelling checker
It came with my PC
It highlights for my review
Mistakes I cannot sea.

I ran this poem thru it
I'm sure your pleased to no
Its letter perfect in it's weigh
My checker told me sew.

When the poem was shown to Jerry Zar, he wrote the longer version seen below.

Candidate for a Pullet Surprise

I have a spelling checker,
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea.
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Foreign Expressions

picture of foreign languages

Since I am a foreign language teacher, I am frequently asked what certain expressions mean in English. Back in the mid-1990's a magazine (I've seen the following attributed to several, so I'll refrain from naming the magazine) had a contest based on expressions in foreign languages. The instructions were to take a well-known expression in a foreign language, change a single letter, and provide a definition for the new expression.

Here are some of the ones submitted to that contest:

Can you drive a French motorcycle?

We're wild and crazy guys!

I came, I'm a very important person, I conquered.

I think; therefore I am a waffle.

The cat is dead.

Honk if you're Scottish.
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Yankee-Dixie Quiz

picture of yous

Yesterday's blog post on the various regional names for carbonated beverages evoked quite a few fun comments. While people still have regionalisms fresh on their minds, I thought I'd post a link to an online quiz called Are You a Yankee or a Rebel? It takes very little time to answer the twenty questions, click on Compute my score, and find out how much of one or the other you are. Some of the questions are about pronunciations and others about word choices. My results were 36% Dixie. You are definitely a Yankee, which I think is fairly accurate since I'm sure I have picked up some regionalisms here in South Carolina. Becka's results were 46% Dixie. Barely in Yankeedom. We grew up in the same town in Ohio — on the same street, in fact! So really we've lived most of our lives in the same places — Ohio, Michigan, and South Carolina. Maybe her Dixie factor was higher because she has lived in South Carolina 3 years longer than I, while I was teaching in Michigan when we were single. But we're both to the point now where we've lived about half of our lives in the South.

I hope many of you will take the quiz, and then come back here to post your results. It will be interesting to see how accurate the quiz is for my readers. There were several questions where I had to stop to decide which word probably comes to my mind first since through prolonged exposure I'm comfortable using either one.

If you're really interested in this sort of thing, I found an extremely extensive site — http://aschmann.net/AmEng

=^..^= =^..^=

Always remember that you're unique, just like everyone else.

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Thomas Jefferson and Amphibolies

picture of amphiboly sign

Some things do not seem to go together. Or if they are put together, the result is humorous, as in the case of the signs on the right. With the beginning of the 112th Congress, there is much anticipation of what our Congress critters will try to accomplish. As I contemplated what to post today and found a list of quotations of Thomas Jefferson in my files, I wondered what he would think of what our nation has become and is becoming. As I looked at the wisdom of Jefferson and knowing his close ties to the other founding fathers of our nation, I did a little looking around online and found a final quotation that was quite interesting. On to the quotations....

John Kennedy said in his address at a dinner for Nobel Prize Winners of the Western Hemisphere on April 29, 1962, "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

The quotations of Thomas Jefferson below could prove his point.

"A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned — this is the sum of good government."

"When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe."

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

"It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world."

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."

"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government."

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
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Do You Use the Caps Lock Key?

picture of caps lock key

About the only time I use the Caps Lock key on my computer is when I aCCIDENTALLY hit it as I reach my pinky over to hit the A key. Seriously, it has come in handy at times, especially back in the days of typing on my trusty Remington manual typewriter that lacked bold and italics.

picture of search key

Recently I read an article telling that Google is planning to delete the Caps Lock/Shift Lock key on its Cr-48 notebook (laptop), replacing the key with a search button. If users still want to have it be a Caps Lock key, they can do so by tweaking a few settings. The article about this change gives an interesting history of typewriters and keyboards and tells when and why the Shift Lock key came into being and how its use has changed through the years.

The change Google is making on its laptops may be confusing to those who frequently use the caps lock key, but it could also help people avoid being part of something like the following discussion I found online earlier this fall:
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