Is it just me? Lately many of the things I read contain glaring errors. It first hit me while reading Tim Tyler's Memetics.
"If memetics explains only explains the imitation of observed behavior, ..." (p 96)
"Perhaps biological an cultural differ..." (p 173)
"Genetic engineers can now take information form wherever they like..."
"However, not everyone seems agree that ..." (both on p 184)
"The upright gait hypothesis hypothesis is interesting for several reasons." (p 206)
I thought, "Didn't the editor even read this? Who was this?" But, lo, no editor was credited. There was no editor! Is this a new cost-cutting trend in publishing?
But the news lately has been just as bad.
It is original from the Andean area of South Africa and widely grown in both the north of Chile and Argentina and the south Mexico, especially Ecuador.
That sample was from today's Science Daily. Yesterday I noticed four or five glaring errors. This is disorienting, even a little scary. Has literacy decline crossed a tipping point?
A higher-level bit of sloppiness: "The researchers theorized that the strictly meat-eating cats lost their ability to taste sweetness because they have no need to detect sugars." (From a Monell Center press release, via ScienceDaily.)
Evolution is not conscious design; it's not purpose-driven. More accurately, cats that lost their ability to taste sweetness faced no survival or reproductive disadvantage because they have no need to detect sugars. (The research, which focused on cats' multiple bitter receptors, doesn't explain how the damaged gene for the sweetness receptor became the only version.)
Another instance in ScienceDaily of spelling checkers not substituting for proofreading:
"...the ability for one parent to affect the other only exists when they have a good martial relationship..."
The Texas Republican Party's 2016 platform condemns homosexuality yet accidentally asserts that most Texans are gay!
"Homosexuality is a chosen behavior that is contrary to the fundamental unchanging truths that has been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nations founders, and shared by the majority of Texans."
The only possible referent for "that has been ... shared by the majority of Texans" is the "behavior" of homosexuality! (Ditto for homosexuality as a "behavior that has been ordained by God"!)
via Friendly Atheist -- plenty of good, snarky comments there, including this exchange:
"It is a bit much to expect most American business people to attempt to write coherently, let alone do it in the Queen's English. :)"
"That's why we had a revolution! To end the gramatical oppression of monarchical linguists!
The United States is doing good without 'em!"
"Wordsmiths of the world UNTIE!!!!"
The old saying about Texas - steers and queers.
Allie Brosh turns "alot" from a source of frustration to a source of amusement by thinking of the Alot as an imaginary creature that "kind of looks like a cross between a bear, a yak and a pug," "and it has provided hours of entertainment for me in a situation where I'd normally be left feeling angry":
The Alot is incredibly versatile:
(There's more! "The Alot is Better Than You at Everything")
I've never gotten why people want to make a lot one word and make another two words, as in a whole nother cataclysm.
That's a whole nother issue!
English might evolve to recognize that as standard... after all, the 'n' has moved between a/an and other words before, as in adder (a nadder), apron (a napron), newt (an ewte), nickname (an eke name), and umpire (a noumpere). Something similar may have happened before orange reached English; it's easy to mishear una narancia or une narange ("but perhaps influenced by French or 'gold'").
(Links are to Douglas Harper's Online Etymology Dictionary, a useful "map of the wheel-ruts of modern English".)
Color names such as "or" survive in English in the specialized domain of heraldry -- confusing to those of us who know it only as a conjunction or disjunction!
Where is Muriel when we need her?
I just shared over in Politics, Economics, and Religion the video of Jimmy Kimmel Live having a "presidential" spelling bee, the "Make America Grate Again spelling bee" where contestants competed to spell words not as the "leftist, liberal" dictionary does, but as Trump misspelled them in tweets.
An editor at The Grauniad Guardian writes about their increase in accuracy:
To return to spelling, you doubt that we have made "vast improvements"? How about this 45-year-old cutting from the paper:
"The Republican National Comittee decided in the spring that its chances of the White House in 1964 would be very slim indeed if it did not capture California, the second largest state, in 1962. Nobody less than its strongest possible vote-getter would do to defeat the incumbent Governor, Edmund (Pat) Brown. When it said this, Mr Nion was looking towards Washington, but the committee was liiking at Mr Nixon. He would have to oick the candidate, and if he oicked another man, eho lost, the party would be loth to nominate for the Preidency a national leader whose influence could not carry his own state in a state election. Yet, if Mr Noxon ran himself and won, he would practiclly forsweat the presidency; for, like allaspiring governors, he has been bocal and bitter about men who use the governor's mansion as a springboard int the White House."
"Bocal and bitter" -- does that describe a bassonist who's been told yet again, "I just love the sound of the oboe"?
(image source, way out of context!)