Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Language Log had this hilarious post last week, called A doubtful benevolence: Mark Twain on spelling. I was reading it today at work, and by the time I got to the part about sicisiors, I was laughing uncontrollably and causing heads to turn in consternation.

Nearly as hilarious is the passage where Twain talks about a Good Spelling prize that was awarded at his school, and it reminded me of a funny story from my own school days.

My friend and I went for an inter-school spelling competition, and we had a round where a scrambled word would come up on the screen. The teams had to hit the buzzer and come up with the right word (sometimes there was more than one right word, but any one would do).

One of the words on the screen was CARTOONIED. This can be rearranged to form both COORDINATE and DECORATION, and these were evidently the words they were looking for. My friend hit the buzzer a split second after the word came up, and said, “Carotenoid.” And the person who was conducting the competition didn’t even have the word on his card, and they had to check a dictionary to confirm that the word actually exists, and I will never forget the look on his face.

We didn’t win the competition that year – we came a close second – but that one perfect moment was worth more to me than a first prize.


dreamy said...

haha nice!

Ravis said...

I wonder why this got nearly no comments. My password used to be cartoonied for a long time after I read this.

Sroyon said...

@Raktima: You appear to have something like an exhibitionist streak when it comes to passwords.