June 5, 2005

Calling Webster

Lax Western education, worldwide ESL courses and the ubiquity of the modern keyboard have resulted in some very interesting mistakes being made; many are in blogs and messenger windows, but the sad truth is an increasing number are found in business correspondence, building signage and even text books.

I've decided that the "harmless" typo is no longer something to be ignored. I consider myself to be the research scientist going after the cure for the common cold. How many millions of dollars in corporate resources, consumer budgets and even sufferers' lives are wasted on coughing, sneezing and snot production? I suggest that typos are, indeed, the common cold of communication, and the sooner we eradicate them the better.

My solution? I'm going to come up with definitions for words my friends, coworkers and colleagues accidentally slip into conversation, chats or communiqu├ęs. To wit, fifference.

fifference: (adjective) -- unable to play music at the same speed or pitch as others in an organised group of musicians; when able to play at the same pitch or speed, unable to begin playing at the proper time.

He looks good with that cello, but he's so fifferent from the rest of the orchestra he'll be asked to leave by the conductor.

related words: fiffer (verb: to be fifferent); fifference (noun: the quality of being fifferent), infifferent (adjective: without care regarding the presence or absence of fifference), infifference (noun: the quality of feeling infifferent).

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