HOMOPHONIA—-HEAR, THEY’RE, AND EVERY WARE

HOMOPHONE

If one reads letters to the editor, comments in response to letters to the editor, Facebook posts and comments, or other sources written by the hoi poilloi…and even on occasion written by the should-be-better polloi….you, like myself, may have been struck by the use of certain words rendered devoid of meaning because they have been submitted in place of a similar word which, when spoken, sounds like the word employed but which is spelled quite differently and which entails a definition or proper place in our English language no way close to what the writer intended.

One of these sets of homophones most cited is the interspersion of they’re, there and their as if they were interchangeable.

Hint. They are not.

I hate these people. They’re either ignorant or lazy in their posts and you look at them and there they are.

I want to take these folks and stuff them in a pale pail where I wear them out so their verbal wares are nowhere in sight. At least on that site. And if their sins are repeated I will have them cited. Of course most of us are sighted, or we wouldn’t be reading this.

Perhaps as punishment we can give them fare to travel to the fair and force them to subsist solely on the fare they’re able to find there. Then they can hone their skills and ability to home in on the problem of they’re use of there when they mean their.

When they think of you, be glad they’re not standing there picturing in their minds a ewe, though when they repeat these mistakes over and over again they should feel sheepish. But far too often these days in texts with who knows what subtext they use u even though Thant is long gone.

If they do not have fare to get to the fair a reasonable alternative might be to send them in search of ore downstream by canoe with hope they have a good oar as they wend their way to there o’er the stream. As they row they may find some fish roe. Or while using their oar (and their wiles) they could work up an appetite so we will send them off for ore with Hors d’Ouevres. But while they’re still here before their canoe goes there in search of ore using an oar we will hear what questions they have about their quest.

We know they have no sense of how many cents this quest costs though surely they could scent this information out. I mean what does it cost to buy this trip and say Bye? Or, in fact, to oar their way to the ore which is to be found there for their benefit.

One may suspect that if we turn thee dummies loose they will lose their way so we must weigh the odds of this event occurring. And while they use their wiles to get there perhaps they can call on some dairy farmers to cull their whey there. We do know there is no assurance, as we threw them out there to use their oar to get the ore, they might not get through since they will not be on a thruway.

We ought also to assess whether the weather is safe to convey them on a journey in the aughts when Mel Ott is long passed and now in the past so their task will not be successful but rather will come to naught. I do not know if any knots will be untangled.

It is easily evident that we should never hire these language miscreants  for higher forms of employment in our hierarchy. Not even if they abandon the stream for higher ground.

While I prefer to have my prose soar, and I read many pros whom I emulate, I get sore when I read the abuses of language. Collectively I believe our sensitivity to this abuse manifests in less than an hour and as we are grown we are apt to groan when reading.

Yet, though we ourselves reign as superior wordsmiths as these homophones rain down upon us we must rein in our tendency to gloat.

Avoiding violence is our goal so may we never raise a shoe to shoo these writers away even as we ourselves eschew the same mistakes.

Naturally as we pen our paean to our own abilities it would be unwise to wield the peen of a hammer against whom we rail. For if we do we may be signaling our own death rale and our shame for doing so will be real as we cannot reel that back in.

I hope this is a whale of a tale for you as I wail about language abuse as I desire to spank the tail of all who offend even if the corduroy wale of their pants stings my hand.

What is plainly true is that in days of yore you’re less likely to find examples to offend your love of language.

I am just glad I avoid the pain of putting my hand through a pane of glass so I can watch where I threw the treats for my forest friends of whom I am fond and quietly sigh, deer dear me.

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Comments

  • Tourist  On March 28, 2015 at 6:50 PM

    It’s complicated. You heard it here first. I typed “hear” the first time, I swear, and not to be joking. It goes beyond homophones. I intend to write “culture” and “counter” comes out. What sense does that make? Yet it’s common. You see it in the very best of pieces. The phenomenon seems to have arisen with e-mail. Somebody studied it back then. (Sorry, Devildog. I have no idea where to look now for the study.) With typewriters and then word processors we were creating documents, with care and reverence. With e-mail we were suddenly talking fast and something switched over in our brains. A new form of error took root. I typed “I new form” just then, perhaps because I was already into my next sentence. I don’t know that it’s ever been explained, or pursued further, but the statistics and patterns were clear.

    So, yes, it’s annoying. We should endeavor mightily to overcome. But it’s not always ignorance or even carelessness. Sometimes it’s autocorrect.

    One of my more powerful arguments from the early days of Reg On Wry was indeed so good that I knew I could never do better, so I pasted it three or four times after that, whenever the same subject came up. It was on why assistance to the unemployed was owed, beyond voluntary charity (because the system itself requires a certain level of unemployment in order to function; those people serve us), and my grand finale used the phrase “beyond the willingness of the beneficiary to be charitable.”

    Not one of you was ever kind enough to tell me I meant “benefactor.” Thanks a hell of a lot, people.

  • Little_Minx  On March 28, 2015 at 7:50 PM

    Doesn’t the religious right oppose homophonia?

    • Little_Minx  On March 28, 2015 at 7:51 PM

      Then again, there’s homophilia, hemophilia… and, for all I know, homo-folly!

    • umoc193  On March 29, 2015 at 5:35 PM

      I use Google Chrome for browsing and it spell checks a lot of words but doesn’t substitute. When it red underlines a word I have to double check as perhaps my misspelling is a typo (I am an excellent speller). Most often it is but some words are not in Chrome’s vocabulary. And, on rare occasions, I found I have misspelled something because it just doesn’t look right and it’s a word I don’t use often. But, Chrome is wrong many times as I google the word and find I spell it correctly as google takes me right to the dictionary or other source with that spelling.

      Most of my mistakes are due to an illness…fat finger disease, though lately for some reason, I type a word and find an “M” at its beginning even if the first letter is far removed from the m on my keyboard.

      I’ve concluded that computer geeks are dunderheads when it comes to language. Back in my college days my engineering major friends…in order to fulfill their core English classes…had a special course open only to E majors.

      They still talk that way.

      • Tourist  On March 29, 2015 at 6:07 PM

        Hi, UMOC! Let me clarify something, because I mentioned autocorrect, and carelessness, and sometimes just getting the word wrong all by myself. When I said I intend “culture” and get “counter,” or get “I new form” instead of “A new form,” that is not the technology. That is me. But not just me. And it is new. We (according to the researcher) did not do that with typewriters. Sometimes you can see a similarly in sound or rhythm or structure, but they aren’t homophones and there is usually no meaningful connection between the thing that was meant and the thing that came out. These aren’t typos in the traditional sense. Somehow, it’s a brain thing attributed to the shift from writing with a keyboard to talking with a keyboard. That’s all I know – nothing really, but I do it and I receive and recognize it. ‘Tis a puzzlement.

        • umoc193  On April 6, 2015 at 10:28 PM

          Funny thing about technology. It’s god-like. Giveth and Taketh.

          One reason I wrote this is because I get thoughts of murder when people assail the English language so badly. But I hear words spoken like home and hone that have quite different meanings and are abused by educated people all the time, particularly on TV.

          And then, watching some HGTV show I hear a realtor pronounce it real-a-tor.

  • umoc193  On March 29, 2015 at 5:26 PM

    These days the only philia I expect to encounter is necro.

  • Devildog  On March 30, 2015 at 9:06 AM

    “In the beginning”, I typed Ciejai and ciejag came out. Despite my apologies, which only ciejai accepted (or seemingly so), I was crucified by many others.

    • Tourist  On March 30, 2015 at 9:44 AM

      I remember that! Good night!

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