Friday, October 8, 2010

I'd like to teach the world to spell. Adventures in English orthography.

First of all, sorry if you now have that song stuck in your head. Also, it is thoroughly my sister's fault that I am writing this today. I was all set to tell you about my day at the races, but then this came in, and well, who am I to mess with serendipity.

First, behold: Jhec of all Trades! One can assume that this photo was taken in San Francisco, unless my sister has up and left her 3 and 10-year old children to fend for themselves. I sense a lot of cereal and cucumbers being eaten in her absence, for what it's worth. (I'm sure she took this photo with her phone, as I've never seen her with a camera in her hands, strangely, as she is my sister).

jhec

Jhec of all trades. Could be a misspelling, could be the owner's name. Hard to say, but in any case, Jhec. Something's awry here. I bet they have an awesome deal on tshirts with words in English on them though, which are very popular here. Maybe I should pop in sometime.

Next, we revisit our old friend madafaca. (Remember that?) Here we have another take on the spelling of this expletive: mutafoker. While it is true that the madafaca spelling ignores the presence of the letter u, the mutafoker spelling uses that u, but puts it in the wrong place. Which really just gets to the point that Spanish doesn't really have that "uh" sound, much to many Spanish-speakers-learning-English' chagrin. It makes swearing at someone on the street that much more difficult. And also rayando muros (tagging walls).

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Then, though I told you I wouldn't be taking you to the races today, I do have one quick pic for you. It's the area where they check on the dopping. Yes, the dopping. As English speakers, you know that in general, when there's a single consonant following a vowel, you get the "letter says its name" phenomenon, and when there are two, you get the "short sound."

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Which is why doping is pronounced "DOH-ping" and dopping is pronounced "DAH-ping." However, as I look closely, I see it's anti dah-ping, and I'm wondering if they're anti people using dopplers on horses. But maybe that would be anti doppling. I'll put it on my list of things to research.

Have a well-spelled day.

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And thanks to everyone who commented, stumbled and otherwise disseminated the piece on the would-be attack in Santiago. I feel supported, cared for, worried about, justified and otherwise past-participled. I also now know the answer to the age old-question "how do I improve my blog traffic?" The answer is almost kick the expletive out of the mutafoker who grabs you on the street and then write about it. Seriously? The blogosphere is rife with rubberneckers (hi rubberneckers!).

1 comment:

carerica said...

Oh, you madafaka, always making me laugh!

This post made me think of the Chilean band Fother Muckers. I have such a hard time saying their name out loud correctly! My brain wants to do that bit where it automatically renders legible words that aren't quite right.

NPR's Alt.Latino blogged about them recently:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/altlatino/2010/09/27/130153424/because-it-s-monday-new-music-videos-from-guincho-fother-muckers