Writing wrongs

Taking a break from the political meltdown here in Jamaica, I got a tip-off from a fellow editor in Rome about a new term for spellcheck mis-corrections: The Cupertino Effect.

The origin of the term, coined at the Language Log, is from the the common mistyping of “cooperation” as “cooperatino”. Bizarrely, certain spellcheckers offer “Cupertino” as a correction. Editors, being the lazy bums we are, don’t always re-read what we’ve edited, resulting in gibberish such as,

Could you tell us how far such policy can go under the euro zone, and specifically where the limits of this Cupertino would be? (European Central Bank press conference, 3 Nov. 1998)

Even more bizarre, and amusing, is the misspelling of “cumulation” as “comulation”, mis-corrected by spellcheck to … “copulation”. You can imagine the result …

The Western Balkan countries confirmed their intention to further liberalise trade amongst each other. They requested that they be included in the pan-european system of diagonal copulation, which would benefit trade and economic development. (International Organization for Migration, Foreign Ministers Meeting, 22 Nov. 2004)

[Read more, much more, at the Language Log]


On second thoughts, I’m going to get in a quick rant about the incompetents in office here: we had three power outages in the space of twelve hours today – I was cooking by the light of a hurricane lamp this evening. Why is it not possible to maintain a reliable electricity supply? I lived in Abidjan (you know the name from recent news) for a few years and never experienced such ramshackle management of public services.

And yes, I count myself lucky even with brown water coming out my taps most days. Can you believe that there are people in Jamaica who have not had any running water since the supply infrastructure was damaged by Hurricane (wait for it …) Gilbert … in 1988! There are children, now grown with their own children, who have never seen water running from their taps! [Read more …]

It’s obvious people are fed up with the rotten state of affairs, but will the discontent evident in newspapers and radio call-in shows be transformed into something more concrete?

3 thoughts on “Writing wrongs”

  1. I write a lot of technical document these days, and I’ve run into some issues with auto-correction before, altho nothing so funny.

    The one time we submited my work to a technical writer for review, her main gripe was my tendency to use British spellings (colour for color), and she suggested I set my word processor to US language.

    In retrospect, a few well-placed copulations might have been welcome, just to tweak her a little.

  2. >> It’s obvious people are fed up with the rotten state of affairs, but will the
    >> discontent evident in newspapers and radio call-in shows be transformed
    >> into something more concrete?

    Probably not. Pitty, innit?

Comments are closed.