What to do about quotations with spelling errors

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jun 5 02:28:48 UTC 2014

Thank you both for your instructive responses. I kept the spelling of
"principle" within the excerpt.

On Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 4:47 PM, Jesse Sheidlower <jester at panix.com> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jesse Sheidlower <jester at PANIX.COM>
> Subject:      Re: What to do about quotations with spelling errors
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Wed, Jun 04, 2014 at 04:34:23PM -0400, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
>> 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]
>> http://www.jstor.org/stable/41186862
>> [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
>> doneā€”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]
> No.
>> 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.
> Yes. The text is what it is; you don't alter it because you think you
> know better, even if you acknowledge it with a footnote. You quote
> what's there, and then explain _that_ (with "[sic]" or a footnote or
> something else).
> Piaget is not the originator of the exact text you quote; the translator
> is. But that's a separate issue. You're obviously going to acknowledge
> that the quotation originates in a remark by Piaget.
> Jesse Sheidlower
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