Spelling matters?

John McChesney-Young panis at PACBELL.NET
Tue Sep 16 15:45:24 UTC 2003

Laurence Horn wrote in part:

>That's the version I've seen, at least the beginning, which made me
>wonder if this was penned by a non-native speaker/writer.  Or is "a
>research" possible in British (or other non-U.S.) English?

The version posted to the Latinteach list was significantly
different; it cited "a sutdy" rather than "a rscheearch," and its
location was "an elgnsih unviesitry."

My assumption about the spelling errors was that the writers didn't
put the original form before their eyes, but simply scrambled as they
typed, using their memory of the correct letters a bit carelessly.
Perhaps the "a rscheearch" was an attempt to make an original "a
sutdy" more challenging, and the reviser neglected to remove the

Note that the passages aren't nearly as difficult as they might be.
Compare for example the beginning of the passage posted to Latinteach:

Acocdrnig to an elgnsih unviesitry sutdy the oredr of letetrs in a wrod
dosen't mttaer, the olny thnig thta's iopmrantt ...

to this:

Airndcocg ot na elsingh ustveiriny sduty the oedrr of lertets in a
wrod dnseot mtaetr, the olny tinhg tthas itornmpat ...

It's still comprehensible, but it's not as easy (for me at least) to
read fluently.


*** John McChesney-Young  **  panis at pacbell.net  **   Berkeley,
California, U.S.A.  ***

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