Submitted by elledee • March 6, 2006
You know when people or businesses use improper spelling for effect?
eg. “Rogz for Dogz” or “Phantasy Star”
What is that called? I simply can’t find the answer anywhere.
March 20, 2006, 2:01am
I've been doing some recent research into this exact phenomenonenonena !
I've been looking through old volumes of "Dialect Notes" from the early 1920's, specifically articles about spelling variations in advertising written by Dr. Louise Pound. In her paper "Spelling-Manipulation and Present Day Advertising" (1923) she makes note that "manipulated spelling", as she calls it, has been around for some time, but had really taken off in the few years preceding the published article.
In the paper, she also calls it "re-spellings" or "spelling-perversions", but there doesn't seem to be a single term at that time for this orthographic effect in advertising.
One potential cause for the introduction of the technique in advertising she attributes to the influence of the spelling reform movement which was dying in popularity around this time.
The movement has a fascinating history in itself. The main justifications for the movement were twofold. One, it was believed that a simplified orthography would help children learn to read and write much quicker as they wouldn't be confronted with the crazy exceptions in the English language. And two, it would greatly reduce printing costs as there would be fewer type to set as the words would be shorter. Noah Webster and Benjamin Franklin were early supporters of spelling reform, and the movement reached it's zenith in 1906. Andrew Carnegie had donated $280,000 towards the cause, the National Education Association had adopted a revised list of 300 simplified words to slowly integrate into the education system and president Roosevelt felt so strongly about the system that he issued an order in Sept 1906 that the government printing office (then the largest printer in the world) start to use the system in all its publications. This last measure was too extreme for Congress which put pressue on Roosevelt to overturn the decision which he eventually did in Dec 1906. It was all downhill from there for any institutionalized form of spelling reform.
Under a simplified spelling scheme, words like "kissed" would become "kist", "surprise" would become "surprize" with a Z, "night" would be "nite" etc... These alternate spellings were being published all over the place in the early 1900's and advertisers were taking full advantage of these unique and memorable new orthographic forms. "Soft Sole Kosy Toes slippers", "Locktite Tobacco Pouch", "Electric Auto-Lite Company", "Nu-tone tonic", "Holsum Bread", "Az-Nu enameling hoods", "Klenzo tooth paste".... the list is endless.
Dr. Pound has writen numerous articles on word-coinage most of which were published in early Dialect Notes volumes. I encourage everyone interested in this topic to have a look at them. One of them entitlted "The Kraze for K" is my favorite... If anyone is interested, i will be writing a few blog entries about Dr. Pound's work in this area, and also on the fascinating history of the spelling reform movement and it's effects on advertising on my blog (http://www.ayre.ca).
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April 12, 2008, 10:30pm
Divergent, variant, invented, creative, phonetic, poetic, text abbreviations, archaic, phenomes, manipulated spellings, re-spellings--wow. Who knew there were so many appellations for deliberate misspellings?
So what do you call deliberate mispronunciation by word freaks? Hmm...maybe I should start another thread for that.
I had to chuckle over the "geek" kids' posts (whom I actually suspect to be only 1 kid), who don't seem to appreciate wordplay. I guess they aren't old enough to know that surfing PITE is a favorite post-coital activity for word-loving non-smokers!
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March 28, 2006, 7:41pm
It's called divergent spelling. At least the wikis call it that. =)
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February 12, 2011, 9:47pm
Looks like Victoria Gonzalez's submission is the most accurate:http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/metaplasmus
"METAPLASMUS: A type of neologism in which misspelling a word creates a rhetorical effect. To emphasize dialect, one might spell dog as "dawg." To emphasize that something is unimportant, we might add -let or -ling at the end of the word, referring to a deity as a "godlet" or a prince as a "princeling." To emphasize the feminine nature of something normally considered masculine, try adding the suffix -ette to the end of the word, creating a smurfette or a corvette. To modernize something old, the writer might turn the Greek god Hermes into the Hermenator. Likewise, Austin Powers renders all things shagedelic. For more information, see the subdivisions of metaplasmus under schemes."- http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_m.html
May 22, 2006, 8:25pm
At the risk of running off on a tangent, I believe that "Cum On Feel The Noize" was by Quiet Riot.
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June 2, 2007, 11:25pm
When kids misspell words it is called an invented spelling.
When freespellers intentionally misspel a word it is also called an invented spelling.
What is interesting about the invented spellings at www.freespeling.com is that the freespellings are almost always orthographically plausible spellings. They do not deviate that much from the accepted norms.
There are usually 5 ways to spell most English words. In fact there are usually 4 ways to spell most phonemes. Someone reading these plausible misspellings would have no difficulty deciphering them.
Such freespelling was the norm before 1755 when the Johnson dicitonary spelling began to be considered the one way that a word should be spelled.
These high frequency spellings account for 85% of the spellings in dictionary. To see the most likely way that a phoneme is spelled, go to www.foolswisdom.ocm/~sbett/spelling-patterns.htm
It takes only 3-7 months for a child to learn how to spell in most languages. It probably doesn't take much longer to learn how to spell the five most common ways in English.
What is difficult is to remember which of the plausible spellings is "correct". Which spelling matches the lexical spelling.
March 13, 2006, 9:47pm
But if you do a search on Google for "nite" or "lite", you will see that there are many company and product names that use those spellings. They have to be intentional, since they go through expensive trademark process.
I think it is because there are so many intentional usages that many people started assuming them as correct.
In fact, I've seen some products for kids that use "nite" and "lite". If you grow up seeing them in this manner, you would have to assume that they are correct. So, I would think it's the other way around; it started with intentional usage and spread to unintentional usage.
November 15, 2009, 9:59am
To Ian, what about "malapropism"? It's not exactly what you are looking for, but it's close. It describes the word misuse exactly, but does not require the misuse to be intentional. Of course, you could just say, "intentional malapropism". I have a friend who does this both often and unintentionally. My favorite was his description of a philanthropist as a philanderer.
April 7, 2008, 12:45pm
What is the word for intentionally incorrect spelling?
Invented spelling CHRAIN for *train not always intentionally incorrectPhonetic Spelling KUM for *comePlausible Spelling ACOMODATE for *accommodateReformed Spelling: ACOMMODATE for *accommodatePoetic spelling TYGR for *tigerVariant spelling THRU for *through, THO, ENUFSpelling Manipulation PHISH for *fishMutationTexting (abbreviation) GR8 for *greatNeologism (attempted) BYTETrade Names KODAK KLEENEXArchaic Spellings: YE OLDE for *the old, AULD Ye or þe is an approximation of the old AS letter "thorn"
A variant spelling is in the dictionary so it is not"incorrect" In fact over half of the 300 respellings recommended by Pres. Roosevelt and the SSB were variant spellings. They were just not the most popular correct spelling.
The approval of the USGPO style guide was never an executive order. Congress refused to pay for documents containing spellings that were not in the dictionary. Most of them were in Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary so altho Roosevelt withdrew his support after the editorials in the Hearst controlled papers, I am not sure how much this altered the USGPO house style.
It did have a major impact on spelling reform and usage.Most of the 30,000 teachers and educators who had agreed to use the more phonetic spellings reneged.
There are about 2000 variant spellings in English dictionaries. thru is a variant spelling of through. It is not considered to be the preferred spelling altho it probably should be since it is shorter, more phonemic, and easier to spell. (see www.amereicanliteracycouncil.com)
*lite for light, popular in beer commercials, was a variant spelling before 1755 and it is probably still a recognized variant in some dictionaries.
It is not used that much outside of the ad world and SMS texting. You can check the web freqeuncy athttp://spellweb.com/dualwebber.php
More on spelling in general at www.spellingsociety.org
January 8, 2012, 8:13pm
One possibility is cacography, which is deliberate misspelling for comic effect:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cacography
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September 3, 2009, 4:16pm
is the answer purposely?
March 10, 2006, 7:06pm
May 29, 2012, 8:32pm
I call it "being an idiot."Some of the reasons people use this form of grammar and spelling is because of social networks, such as Twitter, which only allow a certain amount of characters.Such words might include:Dis- ThatDat- ThatDa- TheLuv-LoveWuv- LovePlz- PleaseTank-Thankand so on.
What drives me ABSOLUTELY CRAZY is when people use words such as:Lyke- LikeIz- IsWuz- WasLuff- LovePwease- PleaseShank- ThankMeh- Meand so on.
There is no reason not to use the correct form of these words. I believe that some people use this form of typing/speaking to look "cool." Ignorance is not attractive.
This is coming from a 13 year-old, so if you believe that all teenagers nowadays talk like this, that is not true…
P.S. I believe this form of writing is called "text talk."
March 13, 2006, 10:49am
p.s. what the hell is a rog?!
April 23, 2006, 7:54pm
Colloquialisms...I do not know if this would be entirely applicable to this; however, it is pretty close. It may not be applied specifically to the spelling, but more the word itself. Good try? Perhaps..
March 13, 2006, 5:35pm
I think the most popular ones are "Nite" for night and "Lite" for light.
If the word does not exist, this is your opportunity to coin one, which could actually end up in dictionaries.
I would suggest something to the effect of "poetic spelling"
March 13, 2006, 6:15pm
How about something like "zpelling" or "reezolving" or "signiphying" or something? You know, take the verb "to spell" or one of its synonyms and apply the very action to the word itself: if you zpell the word "spell" you get "zpell".
December 13, 2010, 3:13pm
I dunno. To me a malapropism is a funny (in fact ridiculous) error based on an ignorant confusion of two similarly pronounced words. Certainly all of Mrs. Malaprop's errors were of that sort.
Still, malapropism or not, "I'm having a lamppost" is very funny. It obeys the standard rule of humor of preparing the hearer for one thing and then doing another.
Deliberate grammatical "errors" are all over the place. Advertisements are rife with them, as are the lectures of good teachers and the sermons of good preachers. They serve many uses--adding interest, inserting humor, waking the reader or listener up, making something more emphatic ("I ain't gonna do that,"), or even something routine like my "I dunno" that I started this post with--a non-confrontational way of saying I think you might be wrong.
I have looked around and cannot find a name for them, so I suggest we choose a name. First, they would fall under the category of Figures of Speech. Ideally the name would itself be a grammatical error. At a minimum I would say it should tell us immediately what is being done, so the word "gross" in the name suggests itself. Something like, "gross wordifucation?"
March 14, 2006, 8:35am
John Peel (the late DJ and music god) called it Phonetic Spelling - so I concur with Dyske. It's been around for years. JP used the term to describe the UK 70's pop band Slade, who had a habit of using phonetic spelling in their song titles e.g. "Cum on, feel the noize"
Kevin Hall (unregistered)
March 15, 2006, 4:08pm
actually, phonetic spelling is slightly different. phonetic spelling is when you spell things to make the proper pronunciation more obvious. things like spelling "choir" as "quire" and the like. i think a distinction is worth making between that and the use by advertisers of alternate spellings, though obviously the two could and probably do overlap a lot of the time.
November 14, 2009, 12:53pm
METAPLASMUS I think this is the work you are all looking for :) Hope this helps
March 23, 2006, 8:19pm
I think unique spellings have less to do with fads or ignorance than the fact that they 1) draw attention to your product, 2) create a memorable brand name, 3) can be protected as a trademark, and 4) can create instant product recognition (Kleenex must have something to do with being clean).
May 7, 2012, 9:57pm
I agree, this thread is wonderful!
It has been my unfortunate experience that a word misused by mistaking it for another word is funnier than doing it on purpose. At least people laugh AT the person when they did it by mistake. When I do it on purpose for comic effect, my less silly friends are in confusion. Then they correct me, and I have to explain that I said it to be funny. I gotta get some smarter friends!
My mom worked for a guy once who always got words and phrases mixed up. He was a Real Estate agent, and one of my favorites was, "We have to put the money in an escarole account."
August 28, 2007, 8:53pm
you guys r really dorky talking about the spelling of stuff. i was looking for misspelled words to do a homework assignment and found this instead. you guys should find something else to do with your lives.
you guys must be old
April 9, 2008, 10:45am
I've heard it referred to as "divergent spelling," as someone else pointed out above.
Also, Slade did "Cum on, feel the noize," originally and Quiet Riot covered it on their Metal Health album. Not to mention umpteen others including Oasis of all people who did an awful cover of it about 10 years ago.
February 24, 2014, 3:31pm
It seems that the term "Sensational Spelling" goes back to at least 1964 - http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=YdgsQQnkmHAC...
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January 30, 2009, 12:16pm
I think the point about words being unintentionally spelled has it's merit. I belong to one board that uses the Wiki way to collect information and there are a high amount of entries that spell government without the n. I had seen it so much I started to doubt myself and had to look it up in a dictionary.
I understand the points made about intentional mis-spellings. It seems a little unfortunate for those that spell incorrectly on a constant basis without even knowing it. I wonder what it says about our education system. I have a close relative that is not from this country and he spells better than most people I run into on the streets of this country on a daily basis.
February 25, 2014, 4:19pm
@Peter Reynolds - interesting - Google Books won't let me see that page - they say 'You have either reached a page that is unavailable or reached your viewing limit for this book'. I use Google Books a lot, and I've noticed before that availability seems to depend on country. I've been corresponding with a guy in the States about the first occurrences of 'have another think coming' and he gets full access to books that I only get in snippet view (I'm in Poland)
May 27, 2013, 4:43pm
Well, 7 years after this thread was started...I do believe there's finally a wiki entry for it:
February 25, 2014, 5:07pm
Warsaw Will - here's a screenshot - I find Google Books inter-country restrictions infuriating too - in my case they affect my access to 19th century material from Britain that is definitely out of copyright but Google in their ultra-cautiousness will only allow Americans (whose copyright laws are different) to view.
January 8, 2012, 4:07pm
I know there is a specific term for the use of a "misspelling" in place of the real word, such as Karpet instead of Carpet - one of my elementary English teachers told us - but I can't remember since it was YEARS ago - I went online to find out what the term is and I can't find out - I found this instead.
January 9, 2012, 11:35pm
I call it freespelling ... I spell it with two L's, the website spells it with one L: http://www.freespeling.com/
October 12, 2009, 5:07am
A friend sent me the link to this interesting site when I recently posed the same question myself. Having read the discussion and considered the various suggestions, how about "SPERV"? Being a diminutive of "spelling perversion"?
February 9, 2010, 7:05pm
"I'm having a lamppost!" Actually, I think this is hilarious! I need to suggest this to my friend as a replacement for "cataract." Non-sequiturs have always been fun to me. I like nachos.
Porsche, I enjoy all your posts, by the way.
I couldn't find Victoria's suggested "metaplasmus" in my dictionary, so I hereby dub the metaplasmus to be any unidentified animal that looks kinda like a bird/duck/beaver/anteater. Or maybe that's a metaplatypus. I don't know.
Aaaaanyhoo, I think I'm gonna go with "intentional malapropism." Thanks to all who posted!
September 3, 2009, 4:15pm
why the hell are yall leaving these responses when people actually need answers.?!yall actually need lives
February 12, 2013, 12:00am
February 14, 2013, 7:59pm
There are often situations in current humorous literature where one would want (thus need?) the intensional use of a misspelling. The fact that it does not have a 'name' by this point in human evolution is staggering. I am limited to only 3 languages that I would consider myself capable enough to use the various tools of that language to 'search' for the missing word. I am not sure of the total number of languages current and viable to make a mathematical calculation on this missing 'piece' of written language. To what global body does one propose a universal addition to written language. Somebody must oversee this issue. While not universally qualified by being ignorant of many written languages, I do propose that I should be appointed to this position because of my dedication to such causes. I thank you for your vote and look forward to inventing any new words you might possibly need.
February 23, 2012, 4:33pm
@georgiapeanut: A word or phrase deliberately used incorrectly is called a mumpsimus. I know you posted long ago and may not read this but someone else may find the thread and wonder.
June 1, 2012, 2:05pm
There iz no alternativ. Every possible reezon that could ever be offered for altering the spelling of wurds, stil exists in full force; and if a gradual reform should not be made in our language, it wil proov that we are less under the influence of reezon than our ancestors. - Preface to A Collection of Essays and Fugitiv Writings, (1790)This quote illustrates the reformed spelling advocated by Webster.
November 20, 2011, 6:26am
I was going to suggest "premalapropism" just 'cause its premeditated. It took a while to stop laughing.... I'm having a lamppost! Dang that is whey to phunny! Then I reconsidered and thought yeah weigh! Premalapropism was just perfect! Although I do love metaplasmus, it just doesn't completely describe the effect as intentional misuse persay more as to misspelling.
June 1, 2012, 6:19pm
Ve haf vays ov making u tok!
March 13, 2006, 10:48am
interesting question! i'm sure there must be a word for it. i suppose it is a kind of poetic license, i.e. deviation accepted in context - though something like "phantasy" is not really deviation, it's invention. very interesting indeed!
let's create a term for it. i propose "allowed mutation"!
September 8, 2012, 9:43am
September 8, 2012, 9:45am
is there an alternate spelling for supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
March 13, 2006, 5:29pm
Wow, I can't believe there isn't already a word for this! The phenomenon's common enough that you'd think there would be a word in, at least, marketing/branding jargon. But I can't find anything like one.
"Allowed mutation" is fine, although such a common practice deserves something punchier. And it definitely isn't slang; there's such a thing as the "standard" spelling of slang terms, whereas this is non-standard spelling of both slang ("dogz"--at least, I *assume* this refers to "friends" and not "canines"; I'm not familiar with the expression "rogz for dogz") and non-slang ("phantasy") terms.
March 13, 2006, 6:17pm
Oh, and Dyske, I probably wouldn't count "nite" or "lite", because, sadly, most people who use them don't do so intentionally.
April 22, 2012, 2:54pm
I think what you are looking for is the word "SIC"Sic
It is used in print when a word is intentionally spelled wrong or differently. E.G. "The new bank across the street is so unique, it calls itself Modern Banc (SIC) "
March 11, 2014, 7:59am
This is called 'cacography' or 'satiric misspelling'
March 11, 2014, 12:10pm
I believe cacography has already been mentioned.
March 11, 2014, 12:13pm
November 7, 2011, 1:27am
March 11, 2014, 6:35pm
@Peter Reynolds - Thanks.
November 7, 2011, 12:54pm
Isn't it called an Americanism?
November 7, 2011, 5:42pm
@Hairy Scot ... Only when it makes sense! LOL ... Otherwise blame it on the French! (Always blame the French ... ).
November 9, 2009, 6:12pm
Hmmm. This is all very interesting to me, but I am looking for the word for intentional misuse of a word, not intentional misspelling. Can anyone help me? My example would be from when my friend and I would be surprised by something, one of us would say, "I think I'm having a cataract," instead of "I think I'm having a cardiac [arrest]" or "I think I'm having a coronary." We got started with our "mis-phrase" years ago, and I only now am wondering what this linguistic occurrence is.Thanks!
November 10, 2009, 5:31pm
Ian, I don't think there's a word for that, but I would call it a "misnym."
November 14, 2009, 12:54pm
I meant to say word
May 5, 2012, 12:18am
November 16, 2009, 8:04pm
The only problem with using "malapropism" is that they must sound similar. If all of Ian and his friend's words sound similar to the original, then the puzzle is solved. If, however, the word replacement is arbitrary, then that won't do at all.
November 17, 2009, 12:07am
Actually, Name, a malapropism is a ridiculous, absurd, or humorous, misuse of a word. It isn't necessarily similar in sound, but usually is. As such, I would say it is exactly what Ian has described, except, of course, for the intentional part. I'm not sure what you're describing. If the word replacement is purely arbitrary, say, “I think I’m having a lamppost.” instead of “I think I’m having a coronary.” then I guess it wouldn't be a malapropism. It certainly wouldn't be funny or ridiculous. It also wouldn't be what Ian was describing. It would just be a pointless non sequitur.
November 17, 2009, 12:58pm
Well, to be fair, I'd never heard of "malapropism" before. I should also allow that Wikipedia, which was my source, isn't necessarily accurate. I also usually look for alternative sources to see if they match up with Wikipedia. I somehow missed doing that this time.So, according to Wikipedia, the words must sound similar with no concern over whether it's intended. Ian's example does sound similar, but that doesn't mean that all of he and his friend's replacements do. He didn't state that they all do.Having corrected my previous failure to examine other sources, it seems that it's common that they sound similar, not required. It also does not seem to be required that it be intentional, especially considering the source of the word: "Mrs. Malaprop."
In short, my bad.
However, in light of a more in-depth search, I have to disagree on the arbitrary replacement. I would consider the above example of "I'm having a 'lamppost,'" rather than a "coronary," to be a malapropism as well.
Unggit Tjitradjaja (unregistered)
March 23, 2006, 3:41pm
I propose: "Adsing".More often people use the term "ads" to refer to the [actual spelling] word: advertisement.
geek two (unregistered)
November 5, 2007, 6:41pm
actually im also trying to find misspelled words for an advertisment project..and i agree you guys must have no life.espacially joe.get laid
November 8, 2007, 11:25pm
May 7, 2012, 10:53pm
I think that Hairy Scot got it right with "cacography", and he also gets second prize for "americanism"
@Lee Kay I think "solecism" is a bit wide of the mark, although in some circles it may well be most appropriate. :-).
April 7, 2008, 2:08pm
Does it need a name? How about "suedoe" spelling. "Suedoe" is an intentional mispelling of "pseudo" which means false.
February 20, 2014, 12:15am
Malapropism is what it is called.
February 21, 2014, 9:17am
@dlockner - I'm afraid wrong on both counts. A malapropism is neither intentional nor to do with spelling, but rather the unintentional use of a similar-sounding word instead of the one you meant, 'often with a comic effect' (Oxford Dictionaries Online), for example 'dance the flamingo' instead of 'dance the flamenco' (although that wouldn't actually be so bad, seeing flamenco is Spanish for flamingo).
July 13, 2008, 3:36am
Wow, reached you guys by accident, and I love this site!Was looking for the etymology of the word "hi", but I'm not still happy with what I have found so far.
I began to laugh when I read Patricia's reaction and comment about geek 1 and 2 (we all know there's only one child with multiple, yet identical personalities)."They" would be scratching their heads if they read the "post-coital" comment. See...it pays to know a few words geek.
February 24, 2011, 1:37pm
It's called a spelling error.
April 17, 2008, 12:02pm
Jeez, Patricia ~ what is it your love-making that leads you to PITE afterward? Too muh verbalization? Or not enough? ;->
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