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Herb October 20, 2004

Greetings ‘blog fans!

Blog. Now there’s a word for you. I had a hard time finding out the proper spelling of it. Oh, yes way, really! I did so try to look up the spelling of it. Spelling errors just drive me up the wall. I cannot stand the thought that I have misspelled or misused a word and there are some people who don’t even care! I shudder at the very thought of using affect for effect or except for accept. Others can do it, but I just cringe to even think about such a possibility.

Now there are some of my friends and correspondents who do not feel this way at all. They take the position that if a word is used a certain way long enough, even though it is used improperly or inaccurately, then the Whole English language should be changed and a new meaning adopted because obviously that’s how people want to use it. They point out how words from 400 – 500 years ago are either no longer used or their meanings are completely changed. There are many examples in Shakespearean writings of this. They also are quick to point out that in the time of the Founding Fathers all spelling was done phonetically. They say the language is a fluid, evolving, living thing and changes and should change all the time.

I say, “Phooey!” The only people in Elizabethan times who could read and write were the rich, the landed gentry, and the nobility. Since these were the “educated” classes, it was their responsibility to maintain the language and its meaning. As far as the Founding Fathers go, well, I would suppose that if you are a little pipsqueak of a group of colonies fighting to be free from tyranny and no one has passed down any hard and fast rules of spelling or usage to you, you might be allowed the occasional misspelling now and then because you were busy fighting for Life, Liberty and The Pursuit Of Happiness.

Okay, so I don’t always take people to task for it as I should, in fact, I generally try not to say anything to most people. The exceptions (not acksepshuns) are those people that make a point to let you know how educated they are. I especially cannot stand to be reading along in a book and discover a misspelling. I don’t mean a non-published manuscript, but a published book that was run once through “spell-checker” and sent to press! Newspapers and magazines do this too and it aggravates me to no end. There are supposed to be editors and proofreaders who catch this sort of thing!

So, anyway, I wanted to learn, once and for all, the correct way to spell ‘blog and I never really did find out. That it is a shortened form of the word “weblog” I know, but is it a word on its own, yet? Do we still need to keep the apostrophe to be correct? That goes against my beliefs about the language, but if we are going to make it a word of its own, let’s gets rid of the apostrophe.

Apparently, this is not much of an issue, however. First of all, it’s not in the American Heritage Dictionary, third edition, which I use a lot. So, I went online, thinking that would be the place to look up such a word. The first place I went, www.infoplease.com did not have it, and asked, “Did you mean ‘bog?’” So, I tried looking up the word “weblog” there, but they just asked me, “Did you mean ‘web log?’” They then gave me references to definitions of “web” and “Log Cabin.” Yahoo http://education.yahoo.com/reference/ did better. They showed the word as “blog,” no apostrophe, with the definition, “weblog.” So, I looked up “weblog” and was told:

web·log

NOUN:

A website that displays in chronological order the postings by one or more individuals and usually has links to comments on specific postings.

So. One definition as a noun. I went to www.OED.com but that is a pay site although www.askoxford.com is not. No results. By the way, if anyone plans to spend $1500 or more on me for Christmas and doesn’t plan to me a new computer, say a new notebook PC, they could buy me the 20 volume Oxford English Dictionary on sale for $849.99. *sighs, wipes drool from chin, off of keyboard*

Since I am going to be blogging (to blog, a verb, meaning to make entries in a weblog), I think I shall have to make up my own rules for now.

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