"WR6_gUnUj-ztiW07KQcOCnTel9A"/> Notes From Atlanta: 06/18/19

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Three “Misspellers” that Mystify Me

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Three types of “misspellers” that mystify me on social media are:
1. People who attended a grammar school for 5 or 6 years and still misspell grammar as “grammer.” I attended a grammar school and see alumni of my school write the name of our secondary school as “Baptist Grammer [sic] School” on Facebook. Why would people who consistently saw the word “grammar” in the name of their school for years on end--and still probably see it in their certificates--- continually misspell it as “grammer”? I can forgive people who didn’t attend a school with “grammar” in its name. Do people who attended a grammar school but misspell grammar as "grammer" deserve their certificates?

2. People who spell “college” as “collage,” as in, “collage of education.” Collage [pronounced like kolaazh, not kolij] means a collection of different things. That means a “collage of education” is a collection of different types of education, which frankly makes no sense as the name of an institution. How can you attend a college, any kind of college, for years and not know how “college” is spelled?

3. Graduates of Bayero University who spell Bayero as “Bayaro.” I've seen many of them here on Facebook. Bayero is a Fulfulde word (whose meaning I don't know) and “ba yaro [ba]” is a Hausa phrase, which roughly translates as “not a child.” One of my cousins chose to study at Bayero University (which is also my alma mater) because he thought the school’s name was Bayaro University, which meant, in his reasoning, that it was a university for serious adults, not children. He was disappointed when he discovered that “Bayero” is a Fulfude word that has not the remotest lexical or semantic relationship with the Hausa “ba yaro”! We still laugh over this.

But why would anyone get one of their most important educational qualifications from an institution and not know how to spell the institution’s name? Have scientists identified the cognitive deficiency that explains this?

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Politics of Grammar Column