deliberate misspellings

Margaret Lee mlee303 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Mar 27 10:28:35 UTC 2001

Deliberate misspellings in Hip Hop culture represents a rebellion
against the use of White English language rules and standards.

--- Charles Wells <charles at FREUDE.COM> wrote:
> A very old deliberate misspelling in a product name was Duz, a
> detergent.
> Their slogan was "Duz does everything".  This dates to at least the
> 1950's.
> (In the 1950's, I would have said "That dates to at least the
> 1950's").
> A related phenomenon that is very old is misspelling of a foreign
> word (usually
> name) in order to get people to pronounce it correctly.  For
> example, Wedo is a
> family name in northern Ohio, originally Guido.  I believe I have
> detected a
> second generation such misspelling.  The Yiddish word that is
> pronounced
> roughly "shay-na" (meaning beautiful) was used as a girl's name,
> speelled in
> English Shana. (It is cognate to the German "schoene".) In the 50's
> the typical
> American would have pronounced this "shay-na".  In this decade many
> people,
> especially educated ones, are likely to pronounce it "shah-na".
> Recently I
> have seen it spelled Shaina, presumably as a correction.  Of
> course, this story
> I have spun will require citations to verify it.
> >Has anyone written about deliberate misspellings and letter
> substitutions,
> >especially in Hip Hop-influenced culture? I'm not asking about
> "eye dialect"
> >(at least I don't think I am), but rather, for example, about
> substituting Z
> >for S (skillz, boyz) and other kinds of respellings (stoopid,
> sucka).
> >Companies have been doing this for years to gain attention (from
> Beanz Meanz
> >Heinz to Miller Lite), but has anyone looked into the history of
> deliberate
> >misspellings in Hip Hop and possibly in earlier AAVE?
> >
> >
> >
> Charles Wells, 105 South Cedar St., Oberlin, Ohio 44074, USA.
> email: charles at
> home phone: 440 774 1926.
> professional website:
> personal website:
> NE Ohio Sacred Harp website:

Margaret G. Lee, Ph.D.
Associate Professor - English and Linguistics
 & University Editor
Department of English
Hampton University, Hampton, VA 23668
e-mail:  mlee303 at  or  margaret.lee at

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