Leben mit Herman Melville

Applied Orthographics

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Update for Campfire Tape:

I gunned it down to San Pedro Bay,
Watched my ship sail in, watched it sail away.
The sun was sinking into the sea,
But a ball of fire inside of me
Was burning my motor and driving me hard
Past the big hair on the Boulevard.

Lyrics and video: Michelle Shocked: Come a Long Way, from: Arkansas Traveler, 1992.

Harry Furniss, Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, 1893Other critics have objected to certain innovations in spelling, such as “ca’n’t”, “wo’n’t”, “traveler”. In reply, I can only plead my firm conviction that the popular usage is wrong. As to “ca’n’t”, it will not be disputed that, in all other words ending in “n’t”, these letters are an abbreviation of “not”; and it is surely absurd to suppose that, in this solitary instance, “not” is represented by ” ‘t”! In fact “can’t” is the proper abbreviation for “can it”, just as “is’t” is for “is it”. Again, in “wo’n’t”, the first apostrophe is needed, because the word “would” is here abridged into “wo”: but I hold it proper to spell “don’t” with only one apostrophe, because the word “do” is here complete. As to such words as “traveler”, I hold the correct principle to be, to double the consonant when the accent falls on that syllable; otherwise to leave it single. This rule is observed in most cases (e.g. we double the “r” in “preferred”, but leave it single in “offered”), so that I am only extending, to other cases, an existing rule. I admit, however, that I do not spell “parallel”, as the rule would have it; but here we are constrained, by the etymology, to insert the double “l”.

Lewis Carroll [sic]: Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, Preface, 1893.

Image: Harry Furniss: Illustration for Lewis Carroll: Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, 1893,
scanned by Ignacio Fernández Galván from “The Complete Illustrated Works of Lewis Carroll”,
Chancellor Press, ISBN 978-0-907486-21-3.

Written by Wolf

8. July 2011 at 12:01 am

Posted in Moses Wolf

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