Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tanya Writes About Joe Bing

As an author, I know first hand the high standard of grammar and style publishers and readers expect. I figured that plowing through vast wastelands of student essays during my years as an English teacher had "taught" me all I needed to know.
Yet my editors always show me tons of improvements. I listen and learn.

Because I am a rule-rollower.

And I’m a good speller, so messing with words gets to me. There are phonics. There are rules!

Driving down an L.A. freeway recently, I noticed a job-search billboard. It was so eye-catching. And maddening. In trying for a cute little modern term all their own, the designers used "jobing" as a gerund. JOBING. You know, an ING-word like dancing. Sleeping. Eating. Only there are rules of phonics. The single B gives the O a long sound! Joe Bing. Period.


Around here, there's a local business named for the family. Todey. Now, in any English-speaking world, that's phonetically an easy one: TOE-dy. But the disclaimers abound on their license plate holders, their ads, their stationery. "We're not "TOADy We're Toddy." Well, news for ya. It is TOADY. That "e" after a vowel give “o” a long sound.


Then there's some athlete's name I noticed during my family's fantasy football season.. Tedy Bruschi. Now, that's an easy one, too. TEEdy BROOSHee.
Only in that alternate dimension, it's TEDDY BROOSKEE.

Then there’s the recent article in our local newspaper. Social Security rolls now record 46 different spellings of the female first name McKensie. MacKenzie. et al. Forty six! As a test, my hero and I sat down and tried to come up with some possibilities. Even between the two of us, we didn't come close, although we did conclude that the apostrophe has now become a letter of the alphabet.

The most mysterious version was: M'kezine.

Might as well have named her Time, because…isn’t that actually a misspelling of magazine?

Now, I get it when SpellCheck comes up with "Pepperoni" for Pepperdine University. (I used to be a college counselor too.) But come on. M’kezine?

Here’s a brain-teaser for ya. I just read about a bohemian artist and designer who runs a great boutique, Show Pony. Her name is Kime Buzzelli.
Curious, I e-mailed her as to the pronunciaton of her first name. Does it rhyme with, well rhyme? Like time? Is it KYE-me? Kim? Kimmie?

She wrote back, said I could blog about it.

How do you think she pronounces it?

Any modern-day tweaks of grammar or spelling that make you nuts?

No comments: