Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Typo schmypo

It's been a long and painful process and even now I occasionally succumb to temptation, but I've learned over four years of blogging that there are certain fora in which you can be as rude, abusive and profane as you like, but the moment that -- having finally snapped at some online wanker's rudeness, aggression or abuse -- you mock someone's grammar, spelling, transcription, typing skills, or any other manifestation of ignorance or carelessness with language, you will be roundly abused for pointing out a 'typo'.

In the book of netiquette, mockery of a so-called 'typo' is somewhere well beyond defamation in the catalogue of sins and even further beyond plagiarism, which isn't considered a sin at all. The word 'typo' is short for 'typographical error' which (while technically a misnomer since it harks back to the days of lead type) is, or used to be, used in media and publishing to refer to any alphabetical or other character misplaced by mechanical accident, formerly as when one misplaced the little metal letters and now as when one tingles up one's fangers in the typing process. But the netizens to whom I refer here, who clearly don't know this and don't care, use 'typo' to mean all manner of error committed through ignorance and carelessness.

They are welcome, of course, but it is sad for them that, since they are not alert to these things, they miss so much unintended online humour. Like this most wonderful comment, comment #3, at this excellent piece on Julie & Julia: 'Stop trying to analize everything.'

That, folks, is not a 'typo'. That is a truly magnificent spelling error and an even more magnificent, if entirely unintentional, pun. It's the sort of thing that makes you hope there's an afterlife, just so that Freud can have a giggle.


Zoe said...

"Stop trying to analize everything!" would make a good tyop blog title, don't you think?

TimT said...

Analize This!

Anonymous said...

"tingles up one's fingers". I saw what you did there.

Anonymous said...

Oh I am so with you on this one PC. In the quest for University excellence which is all around us we had bestowed upon us, earlier this year, a centrally administered questionnaire to give to students which contained an ungrammatical and incomprehensible question. When I returned it to the Unit administering with a request to have it removed, as it would make the English department look too silly, I received a reply from the head honcho creator himself, telling me it was a typo (a typographically erroneous sentence?) that had since been removed (that morning?). My other favourite is the perennial student misspelling of the name of the author and/or central character about whom they are writing. They usually refer to this as a 'typo' The most striking example of this recently was a prospective postgrad whose proposal consistently misspelled the name of the very very famous author she was proposing to dedicate a thesis to. This one must have been some sort of nervous typographical disorder, surely?
word verification: cradrove typo: the cra drove down the road.

BwcaBrownie said...

analytic convertors.
full of sh*t.

I am allergic to abuse on teh blogs.
and often attract it from other commentors, which in my view is a vile act. I dare not comment at some blogs I always read, lest scary unhappy young feminists bite me.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Zoe, I suppose there must be whole blogs around dedicated to tyops. It has never occurred to me to look, but it seems obvs really. I mean, such a blog would write itself.

Tyaakian, yes, the quest for University excellence must not be allowed to be slowed down by proofreading. Excelsior, etc. Regarding the misspelling of authors' and characters' names, the one that used to really throw me -- and, as you will know, about half the students did this -- was 'Heathcliffe'. When his name, correctly spelled, had been RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF THEM ON PRACTICALLY EVERY PAGE OF THE FREAKING BOOK.

'Virginia Woolfe' was never far behind, either. I mean, the terminal 'e' on both of those things is totally counter-intuitive. I wonder what possesses them.

Brownie, I am not scared of young feminists and if they bite me I will bite them back harder, but I do sincerely wish the unhappy ones were less unhappy.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

(Being a battle-hardened old feminist myself, you understand. Or perhaps I mean match-fit.)

BwcaBrownie said...

My cousin the book-designer, hunched over her giant MAC screen, mumbles about 'literals' 'widows and orphans'.
Now I must refresh my memory of your links, looking forGalley Cat that I just found.

lucy tartan said...

Pav, did I tell you about the student this year who wrote a very interesting and thoughtful essay all about the famous Australian poet, Glen Hardwood?

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...