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August 19, 2006

Language Burp

Times that I wish I had a camera built into my eyes are become more numerous. It's too much hassle to lug a good camera everywhere, and my picture phone? Well, it costs a quarter to email the low-quality images the thing takes and it's not as fast as I could be with cameras in my eyes...

Which leads me to my latest rant on the English language... Akin to my previous rants on grammar, misuse of English words, quests to answer the unanswerable, hostility towards language correctness, and errors within edited texts, this post will probably get haywire...

I went to Kennywood with Mike on Thursday. Kennywood is a lovely local amusement park that opened in the Pittsburgh area in 1898, and is quite the family-friendly park. It's a great place, minus changing some of the more classic rides like the Old Mill into such abominations as Garfield's Nightmare... (but that's another story for another blog). Throughout the day, however, a number of language burps caught my eye--unexcused.

The first that I recall was a mere misspelling: the word "watermelon" was spelled "watermellon." That is an inexcusable burp. Who spells "melon" with two "L"s?!

The next we found was with the roller-coaster called "The Racer." The sign noting its historical notoriety had two hiccups. The first was that the period at the end of the sentence was outside of the quotations. No-no numero uno in use of quotations... The second, which Mike and I discussed at length as we waited for the line to move, was why the word "modernized" was both capitalized AND in quotes. (This was the flare to the quotes issue, too.) Like so: "Modernized". (Ick!) Now, what we were confused about was why, if it was not referring to a specific modern period (like the Modern movement in art history), the word was capitalized. And, well, why was the word in quotes to begin with?

We boarded the coaster with these questions plaguing us, only to discover more language burps in the ride cart. A sticked placed on the inside of the cart was typed in such a way that I had difficulty discerning which words were truly important. I realize that warning stickers and banners don't typically use periods, commas, or proper capitalization. (Lord, we're lucky if the warnings have proper apostrophe use!) While I cannot recall the exact wording on the sticker, I do remember the word "Body" being capitalized for no apparent reason, and also the word "Injury." Oookay, and what is that supposed to mean, exactly, when a word is randomly capitalized and, without punctuation, the run-on sentence that is displayed on the sticker makes near to no sense? Sigh... another inexcusable burp.

Later, I spotted the word "carousel" spelled with two "R"s. I was confused, but later discovered that this is what Webster calls a "variant spelling." Burp excused... even though that's like spelling "color" with a "U" in America... Spellcheck picks that stuff up.

Needless to say, traveling with me could be a real trip if there are language mistakes to be spotted. I don't claim to catch them all (this isn't Pokemon or something...), but I do know that I have a particular affinity for reading every word--and for not reading what I think I ought to see, but for reading what is actually there. I love it, but I hate it at the same time. I suppose it stirs my urge to teach language, but I can also be driven to the brink of insanity and back by the same force.

I Guess if we all Typed to imitate some Signs in "Amusement Parks" did then Wed all have trouble Reading but knot saying whats "written".


Posted by KarissaKilgore at August 19, 2006 11:36 PM


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