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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Mel Johnson

Spelling Demons

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jimpickles

"For instance, I have learned to think about the possibility of British spelling being different from the American version of the same word!"

 

When I was young, learning spelling was easy, because (in England) we NEVER saw a printed word that was misspelled. The quality controls continued right down to the highly-skilled typesetters, who would alter the text if it did not come up to their standards. The only public misspellings we saw were the famous "greengocers' apostrophes" - such as "potatoe's".

 

And there wasn't much US usage around, either. Now there is a lot around in the printed matter that we see, and we have to learn both forms, if we want to be sure that we are able to stick with one form. Some of it is strange to us - e.g. jeweler vs jeweller (but there is another one I cant remember now, where you use two Ls and we use one). Australia uses British English but accepts US usage too, so it is still more confusing here.

 

With English becoming the international language of business, it is quite likely that it will split into further separate streams - eg recently I saw an article on a cut-down version of English for international business that uses only 1500 words - e.g. you dont say kitchen, but "room where food is prepared". Asians may chat happily in this, but English speakers speaking proper English are not understood.

 

British English and US English differ in more ways than we realise. For instance, I have had difficulty being understood by flight attendants on aeroplanes in the US. OK, it is noisy, and they cant hear clearly, so they are probably trying to identify one of the few standard patterns of sound people make when making the few standard requests on aeroplanes. But because I phrase it differently - though my English is absolutely correct - they can find it difficult to understand me. And accents - the so-called voice recognition programmes in the US can never understand me at all, though they have no problems in the UK or Australia. I have even managed to confirm somebody else's flight, they get it so wrong.

 

Sorry to get away from ballet,

 

Jim.

 

PS - And about less vs. fewer - in English supermarkets, do you also have signs over tills that say "8 items or less"? Drives me crazy!

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ballet_anna

PS - And about less vs. fewer - in English supermarkets, do you also have signs over tills that say "8 items or less"? Drives me crazy!

 

Yes!! Exactly!! Tesco pre-packed sandwiches even say "Less than 200 calories"... You'd have thought that a giant supermarket like that would be able to get it right!! (Oh and while we're here, "have" vs "of" ie. "you'd of thought", and also wrongly placed apostrophes, for some reason people think that if a word ends in "s" it should have one just before it!)

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Amy'sMom

Dear Moderators,

 

As I was reading this thread, I began to wonder what you might think of the idea of creating a sticky that contained the correct spelling of common ballet terms. Since the spelling of ballet terminology doesn't seem to be widely taught, this might be an ideal opportunity to help educate the members of BT4D.

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CDR

PS - And about less vs. fewer - in English supermarkets, do you also have signs over tills that say "8 items or less"? Drives me crazy!

 

Yes!! Exactly!! Tesco pre-packed sandwiches even say "Less than 200 calories"... You'd have thought that a giant supermarket like that would be able to get it right!! (Oh and while we're here, "have" vs "of" ie. "you'd of thought", and also wrongly placed apostrophes, for some reason people think that if a word ends in "s" it should have one just before it!)

 

I for one didn't realise that 'fewer' should used under those circumstances, I admit that I say less - sorry guys!

 

However, 'have' being replaced with 'of' really bugs me too! I think it's more prevalent in the North of England which is wear I live. I'm constantly correcting my husband, who is from the North whereas I am not, so that my daughter doesn't pick it up. Ughh, one thing my daughter has started saying (which I think originated from her Northern Grandparents) is 'You haven't been there, haven't you not?' and various other double negatives instead of just saying 'You haven't been there, have you?'. It drives me mad!!

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Doubleturn

If we are getting away from purely ballet terms, there are two other misuses that annoy me. Both are frequently seen or heard even on the BBC or the "quality" newspapers.

 

The first is using "disinterested" to mean uninterested rather than its true meaning of impartial.

 

The second one is "begs the question". This means that the true question has been avoided, not that it has been asked.

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Mel Johnson

There are lots of reasons that people make spelling errors; at least we can reduce ignorance as a source of the mistakes.

 

And the double negative is common to several Asian languages, including the very proper answer to CDR's sample question, "Yes, I haven't."

 

And yes to the "begs the question" example. "Petitio principii" is avoiding the question, not eliciting one.

 

But let's try to hold this to spelling. Grammar and usage are two other universes. Others can start threads on those topics, if you like.

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SK_
the frequent use of lower case, even by adults, for the personal pronoun "I".

Text messaging and IM are the causes of the lower-case plague.

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Treefrog

One that peeves me is aural, but could easily become a spelling issue if the perpetrators ever tried to write it down: "entre Chacotte" for those four little beats (entrechat quatre).

 

And don't get me started on "nu-cu-ler" for "nuclear". Just because multiple presidents have said it that way doesn't make it right. Even if one of them was a nuclear engineer.

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Victoria Leigh

Yes, SK, I know the reasons for it, and find it unacceptable here. If they do that in text messaging and IM's, that is their choice, but they need to learn to write things correctly too, and if they do that abbreviating and lower case and no punctuation thing all the time, what will happen to our language in the next generation??? :)

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Dance_Scholar_London

Computer/text messaging speech has its meaning in itself: giving precise information in a compressed way - nothing wrong with that. Of course this should not be used in essays, or discussion forums, but it might be handy to have a basic knowledge of it.

 

What will happen to the next generation? Well, linguists will have plenty of research opportunities to explore these influences :)

 

PS: Other languages have the same issue.... ever been to a French chat forum? Eeeeeek!

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Memo
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! :speechless:

 

MY sentiments exactly. I am enjoying reading this thread as I won the spelling bee in the 2nd Grade but I think everyone was out sick that day and it has been all down hill from there. Whenever someone suggests that I have spelled something incorrectly I tell them that I am using the Queens english and this is how they spell things where I come from.

 

Speaking of RAD my pet peeve is people who call it the rad (short for radical) only in the USA! :blushing: It sounds so funny. :(

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Dance_Scholar_London
I won the spelling bee in the 2nd Grade
:D Well done :wink::P I bet this will become a very long thread

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Rachie

i think im guilty of a few more than just those misspellings... maybe more than a few... :sleeping:

 

rachie

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GoCoyote!

Picking up on something from a few pages back - I was told (at least in the aviation world!) you should always say 'affirm' (as in 'A-firm') rather than 'affirmative' because if the radio cuts out for a second your conversation could end up as, TOWER: 'Do you think you have enough fuel to make it to the airport?' ........ PILOT: '.....ative' which could be interpreted as either 'affirmative' or 'negative' with potentially disaterous results! ... always good to know these things.... (or just stick to 'yes' and 'no')

 

It's funny if I look at any program (or is it programme?!) from any modern dance event I've been to the chances are the text will all be in lower case, it may not be formatted in the traditional sense and have no punctuation at all. Also if there's any way to make a new word using numbers and symbols or whatever it'll have that too. (Even the RB had a little bit of a go with its non main stage activities being branded 'ROH2' I think the '2' started out as a squared sign and it was also had abrief spell as 'ROH too' with which makes no sense!)

 

But for modern dance in the UK - maybe it is just a London thing? - expect this sort of thing (a made up example!)

 

NU DANCE CO

 

presents a 2ble bill

 

'N/gage'

 

'X-trapol-8'

 

LOL! :o ... I'm not saying it's bad or wrong! - The point is I think people growing up today probably don't have much of a sense of language/ grammar/ punctuation being 'fixed' in the way that anyone over 25 does!

 

Anyway, all the correct spelling of today is wrong compared to a couple of hundred years ago..... in another couple of hundred years 'extrapolate' probably will be spelled 'X-trapol-8'.

 

..... About the differences between USA and UK - what about pronunciation? When I hear ballet pronounced 'ba-LAAY' I usually think of USA, NYCB in particular for some reason ...... When I hear 'BA-lay' I think of UK ballet. Occasionally I hear a version of 'BA-lay' pronounced 'bally' which is kind of specific to the Royal Bally I think! :sleeping:

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