Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Introductory Thoughts From Dan

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Some people see a homeless man in the street and feel inclined to stoop over, offer comforting words and, having felt around in their pocket for a heptagonal silver rather than circular golden coin, throw money into the scabrous beenie hat at his feet. This is exactly how I feel about spelling and grammar misuse, except I don’t want to help its perpetrators, rather kick them repeatedly until they look like the-bloke-with-the- funny-face-in-that-film-with-Cher-and-loads-of-motorbikes.

I even hate that last sentence because of the hyphens, and I WROTE IT. In turn, the capital letters I used there are already making me think about having a glass of wine to calm down (and no doubt when I look on the label of the wine bottle there will be a recommendation that it should be imbibed with “red meat’s”).

Where you fail to see a “your joking”, I see a vile, bellicose infidel taunting me to “come and have a go”. Where you read a text message as “off 2 pb, c u thr?” I see the words “I hate you, I hate your face, and I’m going to kill your family. Twice”.

This has caused problems for me in the past, but if people decide I deserve shunning for telling them that the plural of stadium is stadia, then they are not the type of friends I need. Similarly, I do not want or need to eat in restaurants serving “Nacho’s” and “Fish ‘n’ Chips”.

I have obstacles to overcome in my professional life too. One of my tasks at work is to transcribe 19th century literary manuscripts into XML form. The transcriptions must appear exactly as the text does in the original, and as such I am obliged to replicate the errors of previous generations or face censure from my superiors. This is extremely hard for me, and I actually think I’d rather face the hazards that firemen or people who wipe the backsides of the elderly do than have to consistently put the ‘i’ before the ‘e’ in ‘received’ (David Livingstone), or fail altogether to use apostrophes or commas (Isabella Bird Bishop).

I am not neurotic, just correct.

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