Wednesday, August 18, 2004

One neat thing about the "War on Terror," is it's ushering a return to creative spelling. Our wonderful news media, in an effort to be, stay and remain utterly PC, finds reason (does anyone know where?) to correct the spelling of Islamic/Arabic names and words on an almost weekly basis.

Qadaffi becomes Kadaffi, which soon turns into Gadaffi. Same with the name of the country we, those of us who are aware of globes and atlases and such stuff, have long known as Qatar. Now that this little place has tumbled sheepishly into the world limelight, it inexplicably becomes Katar, then quickly, Gutar. Why not Cattarrh? or Guitar? Cigar? This time the pronunciation also progressed--from "cattar" to "cutter" to "gutter" almost as quickly as you can read it. There ar other examples, which one can recall with little effort.

What do you call an adherent to the Islamic faith. Well, we lately have come up with many and diverse names for them, not to mention epithets in varying degrees of taste. Seriously, as a friend often points out, they were once Moslems (mawslems). Then they were Muslims (muslims). Now, they seem to be Muslims (mooslims). Perhaps not in that order--who can keep track?

We of English extraction and American origins have a long-standing acquaintance with creative spelling which goes back to early English writing, no doubt started by the Romans. Apparently their teachings didn't take very readily. 15th, 16th and 17th Century English writers were wonderfully creative in the ways any given word could be spelled.

We here in the Colonies eventually firmed up the written language to a degree, and so did the British. However, with the advent and subsequent progress of forced government schooling, and the advancement of outcome-based education therein, we come full circle to wonderfully creative spelling.

Forgive me if I occasionally slip into it, myself.

Col. Hogan

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