What to do about quotations with spelling errors

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 4 20:34:23 UTC 2014

I was asked to investigate a quotation attributed to Jean Piaget. The
earliest evidence I have located is in a translation created by
Eleanor Duckworth of a remark spoken by Jean Piaget. The translation
was published in an education journal in 1964, but it contains a
spelling error, I believe:

[ref] 1964 November, The Arithmetic Teacher, Volume 11, Number 7,
Piaget rediscovered by Eleanor Duckworth, Start Page 496, Quote Page
499, Published by National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (JSTOR)
link [/ref]


[Begin original text excerpt]
The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of
doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have
done—men who are creative, inventive, and discoverers.
[End original text excerpt]

The phrase "principle goal" probably should be "principal goal".  I
plan to use "principal goal" in the website article. In addition, the
following note will be added to the footnote citation for the excerpt:

[Begin excerpt]
(The original text contained the phrase "principle goal" which was
incorrect. The phrase has been changed to "principal goal")
[End excerpt]

Alternatively a "sic" could be inserted in the text. But the error was
not made by Piaget who was speaking not writing. Indeed, he was not
even speaking in English.

Any suggestions for what should be done with misspelled quotations?


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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