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JS Mill


I find it bizarre that people so often misspell definitely. The weird bit is that the bit they usually get wrong is the bit that actually is spelt exactly as it sounds. Def-in-it-ely. Not definately. Say both out loud (pronounce them as they are written) and you should see what I mean.

I just don't understand.


A lot of people can't hear the difference between "iii" and "ah". Warpeddragon is an extreme example - he can't even hear the difference between "pacific" and "specific", which is part of why he has such bad dyslexia. My mum, who is not dyslexic, can't hear the difference between most vowels - she mixes up "spur" and "spar", "mesh" and "mash" etc. She's Maltese (although she's been speaking almost exclusively English since she was 18 or so), which sounds a lot like a mixture of Arabic and Italian, and there the vowel sounds have less precedence than in English. Interestingly it works in reverse too; she'll say a Maltese word and I'll try and repeat it and she'll almost fall off her chair laughing, and tell me that I've just said [other word], which means something totally different. [other word] invariably sounds identical to me.
Oh, I'd totally get it if they were dyslexic, or have English as a second language. But I'm referring to all of those out there who just never learned to spell correctly ... and it's an *enormous* problem. Unfortunately, there are many people who place no importance on spelling ... as if communication were such an unimportant thing in a human life ....
It's probably a highly regional thing, but you can hear an a in the way a lot of people in my surroundings say it. (Also it's "def'nitly" or "defnatly" or even defnly, so the way it keeps loosing vowels might have something to do with it)

One of the things Spanish-to-English speakers that I know have trouble with is getting from Spanish vowels, which are very distinct and precise, to the kind of American pronunciation where everything is a schwa. Vowels, so tricky.
I find regional differences fascinating. Especially the way New Zealanders have reversed the vowel sounds, despite all coming from the same linguistic background. They pronounce "six" as "Sex" and "seven" as "sivin", even though they, like Australians, came from the same British roots.

Illiteracy, though, is a large and growing problem here. Spelling is just not taught properly any more, and many people don't care. It appals me, though, as language and communication are so vital in our lives.
What annoys me about the misspelling of that particular word is that the word quite obviously stems from the root morpheme 'finite', not 'finate'. I suppose we should just rearrange the whole English language now, so that we end up with 'infinate stars in the universe', 'finate oil resources', and just to be tricky, 'football finils season'.

Damn those people and their illiteracy. Damn them to hill!