[Ads-l] Crooked number

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 29 02:57:09 EDT 2021


Bill Mullins wrote:
> When I was a kid, my mom taught me how to spell "Mississippi":
>
> Em Eye Crooked Letter Crooked Letter Eye
> Crooked Letter Crooked Letter Eye
> Humpback Humpback Eye

In 1902 a grandchild of Mary B. Henderson used that type of spelling
according to a newspaper anecdote. The excerpt below seems to contain
a misprint. The term "crookeded" probably should be "crooked".

Date: August 13, 1902
Newspaper: The Decatur Herald
Newspaper Location: Decatur, Illinois
Article: A Hint in Spelling
Quote Page 8, Column 5
Database: Newspapers.com

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/80467393/spelling-mississippi/

[Begin excerpt]
Mrs. Henderson is justly proud of the fact she is a grandmother, and
it is with one of these youngsters the incident has to do. This child,
every time she receives a severe fall, immediately begins to spell
some word. If she gets through all right she is convinced that her
brains are not dashed out.

The child's favorite word is Mississippi, and as she is a little shy
on the alphabet her spelling goes like this: "M-i-crooked
letter-crookeded letter-i-crooked letter-crooked letter-i-humpback,
humpback-i."

Which most of us will admit is rather an innovation.
[End excerpt]

Below is a book excerpt showing "s" described as a "crooked letter".
The Google Books year is 1874, but I was unable to find a year listed
within the book.

Year: 1874
Book Title: The Book of the "Alphabet" in Words, (On the Principles of
Contrast and Rhyme)
Series: Dr Morell's Primary Series
Publisher: Longmans, Green, Reader & Dyer, London
Quote Page 33
Database: Google Books Full View

https://books.google.com/books?id=AfgIAAAAQAAJ&q=%22crooked+letter%22#v=snippet&

[Begin excerpt]
THE ALPHABET CONTRASTED IN WORDS.
(Let the child describe his words in the following way.)

CONSISTS OF
is   a straight stroke with a dot, and a crooked letter.
it   a straight stroke with a dot, and a straight stroke with a stroke
through it.
at   a crooked letter with a dot, and a straight stroke with a stroke
through it.
in   a straight letter with a dot, and a short straight letter with two legs.
ox   a round letter and a cross letter.
[End excerpt]

Garson

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


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