Thursday, February 19, 2009

Typo du Jour

As I've said, I don't like picking on typos except when they're really funny or when I'm hard up for material.

SO, here's a little something I read on a travel forum.

"Don't be afraid to use lots of sunscream."

But, you know, now that we're on the subject ... I really have been seeing a lot of pretty bad typos online lately. Maybe it's the travel forums I'm reading, but it seems it's getting worse in my corner of the world. A whole lot of apostrophes shoved into plurals ("beach's") and conjugated verbs ("want's").

Eeek! What's happening to me? Am I in danger of becoming one of "those" people. (You know, the ones with the markers and sour expressions.)

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Adrian Morgan said...

On the topic of really funny typos, I blogged my all-time favourite some time ago ...

June Casagrande said...

Wow. I'm not familiar with Pratchett's Discworld series, but I sure want to be now. That's brilliant.

The typo's great, too. But I recently saw the world's all-time best typo-riddled menu:

(P.S. Why the heck can't I ever make HTML codes work for me in comments fields? I always get the error message: "Reference 'http:' is not allowed." I thought that was kinda crucial. Me not so good at HTML.)

Adrian Morgan said...

I'm a big Pratchett fan and can give you lots of advice about how to decide which book you should read first. I could write the longest comment EVER about that.

The 25th book in the series is "The Truth", which is about the birth of the newspaper industry within Pratchett's fictional world, and of journalism. Pratchett was a journalist before he became an author, so parts of the book are probably almost biographical.

I don't think the Chinese menu you link to really counts, because most of the errors are in the translation rather than the spelling. I've seen other badly translated menus via Language Log, etc.

As for the HTML, are you putting the link inside quotes? As in, href="website" as opposed to href=website ? Just a thought.

June Casagrande said...

Sold. That one's going on my "to read" list. (It's a long list, so don't expect a review too soon.) Still, it sounds great.

And, for the love of Pete, how does anyone ever get to a 25th book in a series?!? Man, if I could be that prolific ...

Thanks for the tips and for the HTML suggestion. Maybe that's it. Maybe I was assuming the quotation marks were part of the "insert URL here" instructions. Maybe ...

LL Blackwell said...

I *love* amusing typos! And I don't think it's curmudgeonly if you find them amusing rather than appalling.

Anyhoo, I had a good one this week, courtesy of an in-class essay: Clarisse (from Fahrenheit 451) is "questionative." Beautiful!

Also, check out Kansai on Fair Oaks (between Colorado and Green) for great udon and a VERY amusing menu (when it comes to non-native typos, I am very intrigued by the linguistic aspect of them: are they sound-based, or word-based? sometimes both!)

June Casagrande said...

"Questionative" is awesome. And it's so funny how differently it would be received if, say, Cormac McCarthy were to write it instead of a school kid!

I don't know enough about Asian languages to begin to guess the logic behind those typos. But all this brings to mind a book you might want to know about. It came out last year, I think, and it's called "Biting the Wax Tadpole." The title comes from a mistranslated Coca-Cola ad. The book is a basically a bunch of reflections by a woman who's so knowledgeable about foreign languages that it's mind-blowing. She knows obscure languages, dead languages, dying languages -- you name it. You might enjoy the book. I sure did.

LL Blackwell said...

Yeah, I don't know enough, either, but it's still interesting. And just so you know, nothing quite as exciting as "biting the wax tadpole." Just interesting almosts.

And that book does sound like a blast! How I wish I majored in linguistics...

June Casagrande said...

Funny. I wish I'd majored in astrophysics, chemistry, or (lately) economics. Econ is fascinating stuff. In fact, I'm stealing a UCLA class in it right now!

(Poli sci? What was I thinking? A totally history-impaired brain studying poli sci?)

I don't wish I'd majored in linguistics. (Seems there's a lot of weird stuff going on in those academic circles right now.) But I do believe that some of the stuff being taught only/mainly in linguistics departments should be made available to or required for all students -- especially English majors. Seems the linguistics departments have cornered the market on really good English grammar education and they oughtta share the wealth.

On the other hand, what the hell do I know?


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