Autocorrect, or not

12 01 2012

Lovely article by Emma Jane (of The Australian)  in today’s online Punch

I recall the problem (if we can call it that – maybe closer to a “nuisance” or a “bother” – it’s important to classify and rank one’s hassles, on a daily basis)  that can happen when you have a hiccup in your spelling and you get a ridiculous autocorrect. Nicely represented in Jane’s title: The joy of autosexd I mean autolicks I mean autocorrect.

When I was writing  Language Most Foul. A Good Look at Bad Language (Allen&Unwin, 2004), my spelling (in these cases correct) of the notorious 4-letter swear words in English brought up the most delightful (and wrong) options for the c-word, the f-word, and other such items in that same family. Either Word and Google have got with the times, or I’ve successfully learned how to “add” to my own idio-dictionary (my word), and now all the words I need are there, where they should be.

I like Jane’s article for a linguist’s reasons: because it manages to hold still in a freeze-frame a snippet of language occurrence that is essentially ephemeral (here and gone in a nanosecond) but now lends itself to analysis. To give you a further idea, I quote her here:

Particularly embarrassing autoincorrects are achieving viral status on the internet, and are responsible for the success of highly entertaining web sites such as  eg … the case of young Michelle who sends an SMS to her Aunt Liz to see if they’re still on for a movie date.

“Yes!” Aunt Liz texts back. “I’m just heating up some ladybits for your father.” The disappointing news for dad is that Aunt Liz actually meant “leftovers”.

Damn You Autocorrect also offers iPhone screen shots of:  AN ANNOUNCEMENT that someone’s mum is about to receive the “Touched by an Asian” (instead of the “Touched by an Angel”) box set; and AN ATTEMPT to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson which reads: “It’s not the journey but the dusty jockitch that counts”.

The possibilities, of course, are endless. Enjoy.