Monday, September 30, 2013

Identy, Identiy (for Identity, Identify)

Rah rah "cis" boom bah! The word cis has entered the LGBTQLFTSQIA (as Dan Savage would put it) lexicon. It refers to people whose biologically assigned gender (i.e., male or female) more or less lines up with the way they actually see themselves. It's the opposite of trans (as in transsexual or transgender). Although the letter C will not be joining the current "alphabet soup" of alternative gender identities that evolved from the 1970s "gay rights" movement, one can certainly be both cis and gay. You could say that "my sis is cis, but my bro is no," for example, without revealing anything about their sexual orientations per se. You don't have to identify your own identity right here and now, but anyone who's a cataloger should home in on today's typos and reassign them a proper spelling. There were four cases of Identy in OhioLINK, and 269 in WorldCat. Identiy was found 18 times in the former and 231 times in the latter.

(Polish cheerleaders, 19 February 2009, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, September 23, 2013

Metphor* (for Metaphor*)

I wrote about "conflated idioms" a couple weeks ago; some of these are what's commonly known as "mixed metaphors," while others aren't. One of my favorite metaphorical mix-ups is one that occurred between a friend of mine and his dentist. At some point during a recent visit, the dentist told him that he was "sharp as a cookie." The receptionist then gently corrected him: "It's sharp as a tack." They all laughed at that, but were sort of puzzled: where do cookies come into it? Until they remembered a similar saying: "You're one sharp cookie." Which has nothing to do with actual cookies being sharp (one also sometimes hears "one smart cookie" and "one tough cookie"), but rather comes from the fact that "cookie" is an old-timey, affectionate slang term for pretty much anybody you might feel like calling that. One commenter compared it to "toots." My friend, his dentist, and the receptionist all chalked their confusion up to the fact that it was noontime and none of them had had their lunch yet. Metphor* (for metaphor*) is a "low probability" typo on the Ballard list, with three cases in OhioLINK, and 34 in WorldCat.

(Coconut fortune cookies, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, September 16, 2013

Deptart* (for Depart*)

Under the new cataloging standard known as RDA, it seems we are now supposed to write out many of the words we used to abbreviate: for example, Department instead of Dept. DEP can stand for quite a number of things, one of which is "Department of Environmental Protection." And one way to protect both your internal and external environment might be to plant and eat more blueberries (high in antioxidants) or just more berries in general (they're all really good for you!) The word tart derives from tarte, torte, or torta, all having to do with baked goods of one sort or another. It can also be used to describe something sour, as well as a "prostitute" or "immoral woman." I'm unsure whether I found it reassuring, or not, with regard to the latter meaning, to learn that tart is "sometimes said to be a shortening of sweetheart." Speaking of shortening, sweetie-pie, don't depart for the day without cutting yourself a nice big slice of typo tart. There were 76 pieces of Deptart* in OhioLINK, and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat.

(A blueberry tart, 31 May 2009, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, September 9, 2013

Photograpy, Photograpi* (for Photography, Photographi*)

Today in 1839, England's Sir John Herschel created the first photographic glass-plate negative. He even coined the word photography from the Greek for "drawing with light" (unaware that H√©rcules Florence had come up with the French word photographie several years earlier). Besides being an experimental photographer, as well as an inventor, Herschel was also a mathematician, an astronomer, and a chemist. He was into things like color blindness and ultraviolet rays. A sampling of his many accomplishments includes the following: he originated the "Julian Day" system for use by astronomers; he named seven moons of Saturn and four moons of Uranus; he designed a "practical contact lens" in 1823; he wrote "A preliminary discourse on the study of natural philosophy" as part of Dionysius Lardner's Cabinet Cyclop√¶dia (an effort that inspired Charles Darwin with a "burning zeal" to also make a contribution); he won many prestigious medals, awards, and accolades; he published a compilation of his own and his father's works called A General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters; and, oh yeah, in his spare time, he fathered twelve children. He was a scientific superstar. In 1834, after he and his wife Margaret had traveled to South Africa for reasons astral, Herschel suddenly found himself looking the other way—and stopping to smell the flowers. Happily out of the spotlight for a few years, Herschel photographed Cape Town's plant life with a camera lucida, while Margaret filled in the details. Together they produced 131 highly regarded botanical drawings, many of which were collected and published in 1996 as Flora Herscheliana. John Herschel once wrote: "Words are to the Anthropologist what rolled pebbles are to the Geologist—battered relics of past ages often containing within them indelible records capable of intelligent interpretation..." With that image in mind, please attend to the proper spelling of these photographic words, typos for which were discovered 43 (plus nine) times in OhioLINK and 295 (+ 364) times in WorldCat.

(Sir John Herschel, by Julia Margaret Cameron, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, September 2, 2013

Touble* (for Trouble*)

In the musical words of Stephen Foster: "'Tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave / 'Tis a wail that is heard upon the shore / 'Tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave / Oh! Hard Times come again no more..." If hardship can mean trouble, then can hard times lead to "troubleship"? I love unintended neologisms like that one, which I heard somebody say on TV the other night: "We have enough troubleship with social media right now..." Such solecisms seem to me more fanciful than troubling, really, and not all that hard to parse. I've dubbed these semantical mash-ups and mix-ups "conflated idioms" and, not to go looking for trouble, but I have started keeping a little list, which currently includes the following: to churn (i.e., turn) one's stomach (actually, some say these two are synonymous, while others say only the contents of one's stomach churn, while things outside the stomach turn it); to pan (palm? hand? pawn?) something off; to pony over (pony up/fork over); to rake up (i.e., rake in/shore up?); "that was the crutch of their case" (crux/using something as a crutch); "I think I hit a fine tooth there" (hit a nerve/teeth have nerves/a fine-tooth comb?); "vanished into thin blue air" (this one could be legit, but to me it seems like it should be either vanished into thin air, or out of the blue); "You're trying to pull one over on me" (put one over on me/pull the wool over my eyes); "the two families were quick friends" (the speaker said they had made friends quickly, then referred to them as "fast friends"); to toy around with (toy with/play around with), etc., etc. Bubble, bubble, toil, and touble*! There were 16 cases of our typo here making trouble in OhioLINK, and 196 in WorldCat.

(Ships in Distress in a Heavy Storm, also known as The man-of-war 'Ridderschap' and 'Hollandia' on the rocks during a storm in the Strait of Gibraltar, by Ludolf Bakhuizen, circa 1690, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid