Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Spelling Demons

Mel Johnson

Recommended Posts

  • Administrators

That is very good. I wish everyone would do that! :)

Link to comment
  • Replies 96
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Mel Johnson


  • Victoria Leigh


  • CDR


  • jimpickles


Another word that's commonly misused on BT4D is 'advice' vs. 'advise.' Advice is the noun, advise is the verb! :)

Link to comment

I have plenty of spelling and (especially) grammar pet peeves. It really occurred to me how poor even university-level grammar is when I took beginner German at the end of my undergraduate degree. The poor students who couldn't differentiate between who and whom in English -- they never had a chance...


As for ballet terminology, I think part of the problem is lax or incorrect pronunciation by teachers. I came to ballet as an adult with a complete high school French education. The background in French has certainly helped, but I'm pretty rusty (I did finish the high school curriculum 7 years before starting ballet!) and sometimes have trouble looking up terms in a ballet dictionary. When a word isn't said properly, I'm less likely to be able to spell it or repeat it back properly.

Link to comment
On another area of English, not spelling, I do get somewhat annoyed with how many people refer to others with "that" instead of "who". We see things like "I have a daughter that is 12.....", etc. I find this puzzling, and often wonder about the basic English education in this country. Why do even adults say things like "...oh yes, me and so and so saw that the other day"? And then, as mentioned before by Mel Johnson, the frequent use of lower case, even by adults, for the personal pronoun "I". :) How can we expect the students to learn, when the adults do not speak or write correctly?



This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine - among many! (Maybe it was Ms. Leigh who taught me this!) I was a speechwriter for a man WHO should have known the difference, but who would invariably substitute "that" for my text in such a situation. It drove me crazy. Another thing that chaps me is the use of "towards" for toward and the like. I thank my parents and teachers for showing me the difference, and now my kids get my gentle corrections to this day! :blink:

Link to comment
Another thing that chaps me is the use of "towards" for toward and the like. I thank my parents and teachers for showing me the difference, and now my kids get my gentle corrections to this day! :)

Towards rather than toward might be a British thing - I would never say toward, always towards. Other Brits out there agree or am I just wrong?!!

Link to comment

Would you all be so kind as to include "contretemps" on this list? Too often I find it spelled "contretomph," which, although amusing, is not correct. ... Oh, and how about "preformance"? As far as I know, it's quite clearly spelled performance.


Many thanks for starting this thread, Mr. Johnson. As a fanatic speller, I must hold my tongue (or, perhaps more accurately, my keyboard) when I see "pirouette" spelled as "pirhuette" or some other such demon. :)

Link to comment

'Towards' is entirely correct UK English. 'Toward' is also in the OED, but I have never heard it used. It also exists with the meaning 'favourable', as the opposite of 'untoward' but that is hardly the language of the man on the street! As Mel says, two countries separated... :)

Link to comment

My pet peeve is how the adjective sauté has become a noun! e.g. You can have échappé sauté or relevé, but a jump is a saut not a sauté. RAD is guilty of this.

Link to comment

Yes, I've seen and heard the term abused in more than just RAD. Actually, most of my RAD friends are pretty good about that. It's just a verbal shorthand that gets passed on, as passé for retiré.


And I think the o-e ligature is just a function of it dropping out of type fonts. Œconomy has pretty much dropped off the face of the earth as a spelling, but œnology is still with us, bless its little red nose.

Link to comment

A pet peeve of mine that has not been mentioned yet is "sissone" instead of "sissonne." And don't get me started on the weird variations on "sur le cou de pied," although I'm sure our Francophone members could come up with some annoyances of their own...not that we expect everyone's French grammar to be perfect!

Link to comment

Thanks to those who pointed out that "chamsa" was probably changement. That would fit.


In the girl's defence (defense to you in the US?), some of the steps she mentioned were ones that she had probably heard about but not yet been taught (like a "fautay").


Classical ballet is a traditional art, that upholds discipline and traditional standards, and this should extend to all aspects of the art, incuding how it is written down. Long may BT4D aim for - and help to enforce - the highest standards in this area!



Link to comment

Also remember that ballet terminology is a species of jargon. It makes use of idioms and metaphors that we would scarcely recognize today, and I would almost bet that it extends to pronunciation, too. We're dealing with a considerable amount of three-hundred-year-old French here!

Link to comment
  • Administrators

We try, Jim, we do try!


This thread is interesting, and very informative. For instance, I have learned to think about the possibility of British spelling being different from the American version of the same word! :)

Link to comment

Another problem in schools now is that grammar is sparsely taught, and unfortunately not interesting / relevant to some to continue to use in later life. I agree with Gav - I take Spanish classes and some members of the class didn't know what verbs, nouns etc are, and so consquently found it much more difficult to learn the language, especially when the teacher would ask "Now pick out the adjectives from this scene....".

My greatest pet peeves are "less" rather than "fewer" ("There are less students in the class than yesterday") and eXpresso instead of espresso.... Drives me mad that one!!

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...