Homophones and perils of email format

Subject: Homophones and perils of email format
From: "Charles P. Campbell" <cpc -at- PRISM -dot- NMT -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 1994 10:59:07 MST

Has anybody noticed a correlation between the increasing use of word
processors in composition and an increasing appearance of homophone
confusions and malapropisms in public print (magazines, novels,
newspapers)? I'm thinking here of the things your spellchecker
won't tell you, as in the "spellchecker" poems that have been posted
here. I'm hypothesizing that our relationship to words, our view of
what counts as a word, is changing under computer technology, as it
did in response to pring technology a few centuries ago.

I learned something important about using this email format to pose
such questions. The question arose as I was reading a message in
this conference, where we normally follow Jim Venis' apt quotation
of Miss Manners: if we understand what people say, we don't publicly
chide them for minor mistakes. I'd hoped I made clear when I used
a homophone confusion as the occasion for the question above that
I did not intend to chide the writer, who undoubtedly knows better.

But because the response to the homophone came first, everybody's
been responding to the breach of etiquette, not to the question about
homophones. Moral: use a new subject line and say your say without
incorporating a lot of prior messages.

Anybody got any good examples of homophone confusions?

cpc -at- nmt -dot- edu

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