Two linguistic surprises

2011-01-24

in Geek stuff, Internet matters, Writing

I try to stay pretty on top, when it comes to pedantic debates. They come up in trivia, and in editorial battles. I have read The Economist Style Guide (which gives one good cover). As such, I was surprised to discover that I had been partially wrong on two for as long as I can remember:

  1. ‘Octopodes’, the most pedantic pluralization of ‘octopus’ isn’t pronounced oct-oh-pohde. It is pronounced oct-aw-pow-deez, like a character in a Greek play.
  2. The proper abbreviation for the imperial weight unit ‘pounds’ is always ‘lb’ and never ‘lbs’.

I may be the only one who didn’t know about these (the misconceptions people maintain vary). How many other people are surprised by one or the other? Running into such a reminder of why it is a good idea to have people point out my mistakes.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Milan January 24, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Language is a very large skill, I suppose. Probably much bigger than an instrument or a hobby

If I stopped taking photos for years, I am sure I would start getting worse at it quickly. And languages require you to remember much, much more.

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