Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Changeling problems

I'm beginning to name my posts after the things I see. This was one of the best. I'm considering writing a book, and making this the title. The problem is that as I start writing, I get diverted into various aspects of the problem. In my last post, see below, there's a good example. I started writing about how a grammar-check's misleading advice causes an egregious error (see title), but by the time I'm done I've moved on to another problem - that from the reader's point of view the error is not always in the same place where the problem occurred.

So all my writing is like that - dazzlingly distracting and unfocused. I've written volumes about what these little machines do to language as we know it, and every time I get started on one thing they do, I notice another thing happening simultaneously, as in the situation above. This is happening all the time. So my new solution is to name the chapters after the errors themselves, thus limiting myself to talking about the problems as they occur.

"Changeling problems" is what is known as a cupertino, which can be described as good word, wrong place. A student wanted to use "challenging." but through misspelling and inappropriate use of spell-check, was diverted into a word that she really didn't mean or want. Ironically sometimes we like these words; they put a new meaning twist on a situation, as this one does. Sometimes we pick them up and use them for other purposes, as I will do with this one.

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