I don't know about you, but me, I have a thing with bad spelling. And bad grammar. It might have something to do with me being a teacher, and a languages one at that. That said, some TEACHERS I know are guilty of some of my biggest pet peeves.
The other day, an English teacher in my school corrected me when I said "I wouldn't do it if I were you", saying that "were" is for plural, and the snotty deputy head of English, who at least knew that "if I were you" is correct, had the nerve to give both of us a condescending smile and say that there was no rule for that.
No, darling. There is a sodding rule. You are just ignorant. And arrogant. Pretending you know stuff when you don't, and ASSuming that because I'm a foreigner you automatically know better than me. Look up the word "subjunctive" and then we'll talk.
My biggest pet peeve?
Probably you're-your. It's an absolute disaster. Languages evolve, so I know that one day English will (once again) simplify and the difference will be lost. But that day hasn't arrived yet.
You're is a frigging VERB!!! Your is a possessive ADJECTIVE!!! It makes my head explode.
Other culprits are:
- they're-their-there (apparently interchangeable)
- I/you/etc... should of done (preposition instead of verb... makes me cry, seriously)
- it's-its (I almost NEVER see it spelt correctly)
- he's-his (now avoided with the crasis hes. Oh, joy).
- definitely... I've seen it spelt in imaginative ways so often I sometimes forget how to spell it myself. It drives me insane. It's one of the few ACTUAL phonetical words in English. You say it as you frigging write it. Why oh why do people spell it "definately", "defiantly" (which means something else, btw), et al?
This little intro was to help you understand (and maybe excuse) the following post.
Keep that in mind while you read. And don't take it too seriously.
I already wrote about our everyday practice being full of Japanese words. Most important concepts (or indeed, objects) in Nichiren Buddhism are equipped with a suitably exotic Japanese name.
Our daily practice consists of chanting (often times for hours) in ancient Japanese.
And of course, there's one thousand and one ways to mess it up.
I will write about mispronunciation in a separate post, because it's a longer issue. Here, I just want to rant about bad spelling. Or the way I see it. lazy spelling.
Now, I can already see some objections to this rant, so I will address the two that I think are more probable.
1. Typos. Please understand that for a word to make it on this list, I must have seen it consistently misspelt, possibly by several people. An isolated typo would not bother me. The hundredth text with the word spelt in the exact same ludicrous way annoys the living daylights out of me.
2. Dyslexia. I know more than you think about the issue. I'm a qualified teacher and I have STUDIED dyslexia and how to help people who have it. I live with a severely dyslexic person (who is also one of the most intelligent people I know) and I often spend hours with her talking about dyslexia. It drives me insane when people use dyslexia as an excuse or cry dyslexia and call you a grammar-nazi moron for correcting spelling. Dyslexic people do not spell consistently. Someone with dyslexia is not likely to spell a word in the same incorrect way every single time. They will spell it in a million and one different ways. Often in the same sentence. They will spell it correctly one day and the day after shout and punch the computer because they can't remember how to spell something they have written hundreds of times and always right.
Here is a list of the most common misspelt words in Nichiren Buddhism. (enjoy)
Butsugu (or anything starting with Butsu-, really) = it's the stuff you put around the Butsudan (bell, water cup, candles, etc...). When you become a Chapter lilac chief you are given a suitcase with the Chapter's Butsugu that you have to keep at home and bring to the meetings. People like to spell it BUTSAGU. Why? Seriously, why?
Daimoku = it means "title". It's also the name of our daily practice. We do it every day. For hours sometimes. It's written in our Gongyo book. It's written in every last piece of guidance we receive, every publication, every-f***ing-where. There is NO excuse to spell it DIAMOKU. No excuse whatsoever.
Sensei = It means mentor. Every single newsletter we receive has the word Sensei in it. Every volume of the Human Revolution and the New Human Revolution has this word written in at least a hundred times per volume. It's also the only word on this list (and quite possibly in our Buddhist vocabulary) that is widely known and used in the mainstream world. Think about martial arts. Anyone who found themselves a hundred yards away from a dojo knows that word. So why, in the name of everything holy, do people spell it SENSAI? There's no frigging A in it.
Shakubuku = literally "take away pain and bring joy". It's the practice of talking to people about buddhism. One of the three main practices Nichiren taught us (personal practice, study, practice for others). Another word that you find, let's say, every other buddhist publication you read. It's not spelt SHAKABUKU. It's not. Nor SHAKYABUKU, either. Please, can you stop being lazy and notice the difference?