Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Fri Jan 21 02:40:29 UTC 2005

On Jan 20, 2005, at 8:09 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
> Subject:      Idea/ideal
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> I've had several (mostly ill-educated) students who found it difficult
> or impossible to tell the difference between "idea" and "ideal."
> They'd spell both as "ideal" - none went the other way.
> Here's a good quote from
> 656aa361c3805b35/474af31e83cb3058?
> q=%22neat+ideal%22&_done=%2Fgroups%3Fq%3D%22neat+ideal%22%26start%3D10%
> 26scoring%3Dd%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26&_doneTitle=Back+to+Search&&d#474af31
> e83cb3058    (2000)
> "John Adams said 'Hey, guys, let's write a Declaration of
> Independence.' 'Neat ideal,' said John Hancock."What's a Declaration
> of Independence?"
> Other examples as far back as 1991 are easily found by Googling "neat
> ideal."  Other collocations would turn up more, I'm sure.
> The students I'm thinking of even *said* "ideal" for "idea." Anybody
> else notice this?
> JL

I haven't noticed this particular phenomenon. However, FWIW, I once
upon a time pronounced the word "cow" as "cowl." Then, one day, I
suddenly noticed the disconnect between the spelling of the word and my
pronunciation thereof. Nobody ever said anything to me about my
mispronunciation, out of kindness or, perhaps, fear. As I've had
occasion to find out the hard way, some people don't take it lightly
when someone else presumes to "correct" their speech. It took me a
while to realize that a person doesn't speak a particular idiolect
because he's too stupid to know any better. Rather, he speaks that way
because, for him, that way of speaking is the right was to speak.


> ---------------------------------
> Do you Yahoo!?
>  Yahoo! Search presents - Jib Jab's 'Second Term'

More information about the Ads-l mailing list