Regular Spelling
Thoughts on language and more

Bilingual Illiterate

Writing Skewed occasionally presents an unusual problem.

Skewed takes place in Japan, and its characters are (with a couple exceptions) Japanese. However, I'm obviously not writing the story in Japanese, I'm writing it in English, otherwise few people would be able to read it. If I was writing it in Japanese, then non-japanese people should be able to read it for only the following three reasons:

1. they have taken Japanese language classes or have lived in Japan
2. they are linguists
3. they've got a Babelfish in their ear

If you know claim to know Japanese and none of those three apply, then stop right now, you need help.

Anyway, I don't normally need to worry about that. I just write it, and everything's treated like a massive auto-translate function is applied. The characters are still speaking Japanese to each other, and there's not a problem.

The problem comes in when I have to refer to things in another language. Particularly, in this case, English.

The update I wrote for Sunday demonstrated the first problem, which I solved by having a bilingual character just say what was being said in an English-language video. However, it became more difficult with last nights update, when I was actually discussing linguistic roots of words. Ending up with English, Japanese, Greek and Latin in one paragraph, and also French would have been there as well if I could find the breakdown for the French names of the Eevee evolutions.

I decided the best way to break the auto-translate was to italicize the words so they would be in the actual language, thus allowing me to refer to the Japanese name Blackie as such, instead of havving an odd sentence of "the English name for Umbreon is Umbreon," which is rather obvious.

So as to not resort to the dubbing industry's usual tactic of using southern accents, I'm not going to even try writing accent differences for Skewed.

Tue, 31 Jul 2007 06:00:00 -0500

Blitz Week

I'm going to try something different, I'm going to try to do a full week of updates to Skewed.

Already done 2 so far, so I just need to do five more each of these weekdays. Then I may do another one while I'm in Hawaii, but that's not guaraunteed. I'm gonig to be bringing the second Otherland novel with me to try and get some good amount of it read during the travel time, and I might get caught up reading it. Or of course, be busy doing other stuff rather than writing, because its freaking Hawaii after all.

And since Hot Fuzz comes out tomorrow, it'll be a challenge to get updates every day this week.

Mon, 30 Jul 2007 07:00:00 -0500

Emphasis Added

As a general rule, English follows a pattern of emphasizing every other syllable. Occasionally one and two syllable words in succession will swap this, but this more or less holds true.

For example, If you listen as you speak it, you can hear this. For example, the opening sentence of this entry would be emphasized as follows:

AS a GENerAL RULE, ENGlish FOLlows a PATtern of EMphaSIZing EveRY Other SYLlaBLE.

Certain words, however, are made such that emphasis needs to be in a certain place. The best example I can think of right now is from a commercial I heard while driving home, for Washington Mutual.

Or rather, WAmu.

This radio announcer who recorded the commercial, however, decided to switch the emphasis.

Making it waMU, or more appropriately waMOO.

Leaving his commercial as follows:

"waMOO. Visit waMOO.com to get your free waMOO checking account."

Cow banking?

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 16:00:00 -0500

Oh noes, a year!

Its my birthday today!

No, that doesn't really mean I have anything particular to talk about.

Wed, 25 Jul 2007 07:00:00 -0500

They Need To Be Rounded Up

Its our supervisor's birthday next week, and he's taking the week off for vacation. So my team's been planning a birthday party for tomorrow. One person's been coordinating it, and he got everyone together in an MSN chat today to discuss the plans.

This is what he said:
"ok here is the plan tomorrow I am going to order pizza from Pappa Johns and we have been given the go ahead to eat in the conference room we are going to do this at noon i need someone to pick up the pizza and bring it back we will have cake as well if anyone has any paper plates or plastic untensils they can donate I would greatly appreciate it"

Its painful to read. As Kyle so wittedly replied, "Punctuation?" I'm reminded of a post on Notebook Forums sometime in the past, where a similar punctuation-less post was made, and one member replied "here, I rounded them up for you: ...,,,;!"

This quickly derailed the conversation, as Kyle's MSN comment is currently a line from the new Transformers movie, namely, "I learned Earth languages through the World Wide Web".

The reply, giving the true state of the internet, was "if you learned earth languages through the web, there's no way you know what punctuation is."

Indeed, the internet is not exactly the best place to learn punctuation. Optimus Prime would probably have a line like this:

"Autobots, roll out!!!!111one7!11"

Yeah............

Thu, 19 Jul 2007 08:00:00 -0500

Caffinated

Here is a recipe:
1 Dictionary antithesis
3 Monsters

Instructions
Take one person, add 3 Monsters, then ask him to write an essay without giving him details.

Result:
His response:
"10 or 12 point? Double Single space? Cover page? Biblagroupphy? (Yeah I have no clue how to speel that)"

Never have I seen such a slaughtering of a word, yet still be able to figure out what the word is. And surprisingly, Google also is able to see through that minefield.

The fact that technology can keep up with human incompetence to that degree is quite amazing.

Wed, 18 Jul 2007 18:00:00 -0500

You?

So right now there's a Nerd Quiz floating around the Off-Topic end of Notebook Forums. The highest so far has been a score of 85, I got 65 myself.

One particular member of Notebook Forums isn't that great at spelling. In fact he's downright terrible. More or less he is the antithesis of a dictionary.

He took this test, and scored a 52.

Wait, no, he didn't score at all.

As he put it, "Well FOOK I scoured 52."

Scoured.

As in, "To clean, polish, or wash by scrubbing vigorously" according to American Heritage Dictionary.

A far cry from scoring, I think. All the result of one simple, extra letter.

Mon, 16 Jul 2007 18:00:00 -0500

?!

This was actually shown to me a few weeks ago, and I had intended to write about it then, but I didn't, and it got passed over for a while.

Occasionally a sentence can be both a question and an exclamation at the same time. To signify this, these sentences are usually ended with both a question mark and an exclamation point. Apparently, though, a punctuation mark was invented to merge them together, called the Interrobang.



That probably won't show up unless you're using Unicode fonts in your browser, because its not a standard ASCII character. In any case, its a rather handy symbol, and a shame it doesn't get more use.

Sat, 14 Jul 2007 14:00:00 -0500

?!

This was actually shown to me a few weeks ago, and I had intended to write about it then, but I didn't, and it got passed over for a while.

Occasionally a sentence can be both a question and an exclamation at the same time. To signify this, these sentences are usually ended with both a question mark and an exclamation point. Apparently, though, a punctuation mark was invented to merge them together, called the Interrobang.



That probably won't show up unless you're using Unicode fonts in your browser, because its not a standard ASCII character. In any case, its a rather handy symbol, and a shame it doesn't get more use.

Sat, 14 Jul 2007 14:00:00 -0500

?!

This was actually shown to me a few weeks ago, and I had intended to write about it then, but I didn't, and it got passed over for a while.

Occasionally a sentence can be both a question and an exclamation at the same time. To signify this, these sentences are usually ended with both a question mark and an exclamation point. Apparently, though, a punctuation mark was invented to merge them together, called the Interrobang.



That probably won't show up unless you're using Unicode fonts in your browser, because its not a standard ASCII character. In any case, its a rather handy symbol, and a shame it doesn't get more use.

Sat, 14 Jul 2007 14:00:00 -0500

Then There Was Than

As if a sign of how prevalent mistakes are in our language, the How-To of the Day a few days ago was How to Use Than and Then.

Good advice, they aren't really that hard to get correct.

Tue, 10 Jul 2007 12:00:00 -0500

Gone, But Not

The song echoed through his mind
He hadn't known him that well,
But the memories of others soon rose
It all began to blur together,
Until it mattered not how well he was known
The words of the bard echoed, as the song started again
"And so departs another soul,
Honored, forever, not to pass into the shadows"œ

The people he had known, the friends long had
It didn't matter who any longer
One gone, another gone
He had known them all, so they could not be forgotten
The song played once again,
And again he was touched
"Farewell," he said,
"You will not be forgotten."€

Fri, 06 Jul 2007 17:00:00 -0500

Letter Order

TIP: When abbreviating, the abbreviations come from the first letter of each word, in the order that the words are provided.

Thus, the following line, which I just set as my work MSN comment, is incorrect:

"OPMP - The Outbound Movie Poster Project"

Yeah..... slight problem there.

Fri, 06 Jul 2007 08:00:00 -0500

Where One Ends and Another Begins

Been busy the last several days with some things while the rest of my family has been on vacation. Days filled with work around my house or being away from my house. Usually I try to write my entries in the evenings, but Friday was a Law and Order marathon on USA (I'm a big Law and Order junkie), and Saturday and Sunday USA was playing National Treasure (which I hadn't seen before). So I've had neither the time during the day, nor the attention during the night to add entries, although I've had some things pointed out to me by MSN Messenger buddies that would make for good articles.

Right now, I'm trying to work on an update to Skewed during my lunch break at work, since I haven't done one in almost a month now. While doing this, I was reminded of some discussion, either on Notebook Forums or in English class in High School, on writing, particularly the space between sentences.

For a long time, I always written with two spaces between sentences, as that was how I was taught was proper for typed writing. This particular discussion was started because of that, with someone commenting (again, I'm not sure where this discussion was, so it was either a comment on my writing directly, or just a general comment). The comment came up that two was not necessary, only one was needed.

The answer is both, it depends on the actual writing. I learned how to type in my early elementary school, so it was between my Commodore 64 and my school's 286 machines. These both all used monospaced fonts, where the letter always used the same total space no matter the actual width of the letter. When typing with monospaced fonts, it's harder to discern the space between sentences, so you're supposed to write with two spaces. But with variable-width fonts, such as used by modern word processors and the main of the internet, it's easier to tell such things, so one space is sufficient and two spaces is not particularly necessary.

So in the end of the discussion, both sides were right. Nowadays, I only write with one space between sentences, as my writing habits have changed.

Tue, 03 Jul 2007 11:00:00 -0500