boring e-mails

Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Wed Jun 2 16:23:07 UTC 1999

David Barnhart <ADS-L at HIGHLANDS.COM> writes:

Why do some folks think it so important to show up the other fellow
when he or she in haste slips in a misspelling?  I wonder if it's one
way of saying I'm smarter than you.  Is this not supposed to be a
learned group, theoretically above that sort of thing?  MY SUGGESTION
is that if so moved to e-mail someone about an error in spelling do it
quietly and directly without embarrassing anyone.  You just might get
more good will that way.

Sorry, but I just had to get this off my mind.

Although he's good enough to name no names, I suspect that he's talking about
Andrea's and my pouncing on Barry for using the wrong /piyk/. Speaking only for
myself, I meant that as a friendly tease.

When I first subscribed to this list, almost the first thing I saw was what
seemed to be a vitriolic flamewar between, IIRC, Salikoko Mufwene, Ron Butters,
and one or two others (whom I now know to be regulars). Shocked, I asked if it
couldn't be taken off-line, as it seemed totally out of place in what I had
thought to be a collegial and scholarly group. I was gently told that the cut
and thrust was pure stage play, or horseplay, between colleagues and friends,
neither meant nor taken as what it had seemed to be.

Public correction of people who really do have trouble with the appalling
spelling of the English language is rude, and I try to avoid it. I wouldn't have
mentioned Barry's slip publicly if it were at all typical of him, or if I
thought for a moment that he'd be upset by my doing so; and if he is, I hereby
apologize to him! But Barry's voluminous and valuable posts are normally
error-free (I speak here only of what he posts as his own words, but I assume
that his typed-in quotations of sources are as carefully copied as his own text
is composed). I found his slip both understandable and funny, and I guess Andrea
did too.

-- Dr. Whom: Consulting Linguist, Grammarian,
   Orthoepist, and Philological Busybody
   a.k.a. Mark A. Mandel

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