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One Man's Spelling Is Another Man's Blunder - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
One Man's Spelling Is Another Man's Blunder
While reading a news feature on Pitchfork this morning, I came across a word that I've rarely seen in print over the last twenty-five years:
An A-Z of Franz Ferdinand is Helen Chase's searing exposé of the seamy underbelly of the Scottish angle-rockers, a Kitty Kelly-style autobiography that digs up every last speck of dirt on the perpetually scandal-ridden, drug-addled renegades.

Sike! Remember, folks, this is a band whose frontman wrote a book about food. Still, there's plenty to learn about Alex and the lads from the tome. According to NME.com, Chase's A-Z features a series of thematic vignettes and never-before-seen photos, which should school even the biggest Franz Ferdi-fan (yep, went there). Chase conducted a series of lengthy interviews and did extensive research for A-Z, which seeks to serve as a definitive guide to the band's first five years. And beyond, apparently: the author dishes with the dudes about their elusive forthcoming third LP.
Or, rather, I came across what I take to be a word I've rarely seen in print over the last twenty-five years. Given the context, I'm assuming that the writer Paul Thompson means the idiomatic expression that my African-American friends taught me in my fish-out-of-pond purgatory in the sixth grade at Kettering Elementary. But whenever any of us wrote it, we always spelled it -- or at least tried to spell it -- with the letter P: "Psych!" That derivation made sense to me at the time and still makes sense to me today, because it indicates a relationship with all the words with a "psych-" prefix and therefore suggests that the speaker has been messing with the mind of his addressee. For the life of me, I can't think of an equivalent justification for "Sike!", but perhaps I'm just short on ingenuity at the present moment.

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Comments
xxxpunkxgrrlxxx From: xxxpunkxgrrlxxx Date: November 5th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
i admit to spelling that word both ways.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 5th, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Hmmmm. I'd never seen it as "Sike!" Maybe it's a generational thing.
xxxpunkxgrrlxxx From: xxxpunkxgrrlxxx Date: November 5th, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
probably. dumbing down, and all... :/
duccio From: duccio Date: November 5th, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

I checked out OneLook.com for you:

http://www.onelook.com/?w=Sike&ls=a

Slang (2 matching dictionaries)

12. sike : English slang and colloquialisms used in the United Kingdom
13. Sike : Totally Unofficial Rap
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 5th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: I checked out OneLook.com for you:

Strange. It would be weird if we were spelling it wrong for the right reasons!
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: November 5th, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
urbandictionary.com includes both but indicates "sike" is a misspelling of "psych." I don't remember if I've ever seen "sike" before now but my memory's already failing me. I'm old.

I also can't remember the url for the other urban dictionary I liked. wordspy.com? I'm not sure...
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 6th, 2007 06:31 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'm so behind the times. It never even occurred to me to look it up in one of those sources. It's OED or bust in my world!

I'm trying to think of this other example of an egregiously misspelled word in English that ended up becoming the standard. Something pretty obvious.
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: November 7th, 2007 12:19 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Someone turned me on to wordspy right after I got to grad school, when apparently the site was chronicling all sorts of silly pseudo-academic jabber. Metrosexual, pomosexual, etc.

I love the OED. For some reason I can't fathom, my students hardly ever want to become converts but I love it. I love that it's online. But secretly, I still covet the printed form they have in libraries. All those words! Today I made a picture dictionary of words for a five year-old at tutoring. We'll see if she latches onto it--so I can stop writing "cat" and "castle" and "princess" seven thousand times a Tuesday...
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 5th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Newsflash!

Youngsters also spell swap out the letter 'Z' for the 'S' that arrives at the end of most plural nouns!

I have also noticed the quaint practice of creating bizarre acronymic letter combinations for some phrases. Heaven forfend, I must swear to you that one youngster wrote "LOL" when he indeed meant "Laughing Out Loud!"

Oh my, that one took me back!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 6th, 2007 06:31 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: Newsflash!

Shit. I always thought "LOL" meant "Lots of love." I guess I'm getting less loving than I had previously imagined. Sigh.
tpratt From: tpratt Date: November 6th, 2007 01:23 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Writing SIKE instead of PSYCH is wrong. It's like writing HEAR HERE instead of HEAR HEAR, HELL OF instead of HELLA, BITCHEN instead of BITCHIN. To anyone guilty of the above-listed infractions, all I can say is YOUR DUMB
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 6th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Scuse me?

This guy's response gets approved and mine doesn't?? WHAT THE HELLL?? Maybe I will start a Live Journal to get around this. But then you would know which colleague was reading your website!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 6th, 2007 06:25 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: Scuse me?

I have to unscreen anonymous comments, as you know. Sometimes I just fail to see them or forget to unscreen them when I do.

To which anonymous comment were you referring, BTW?

cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 6th, 2007 06:30 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: Scuse me?

Oh, I see. You meant the previous anonymous comment on this entry. I had seen that one and meant to reply -- at which point it would get unscreened -- but hadn't gotten around to it. I'll do that in a minute.

I should also clarify what I stated in my previous reply to this comment. If memory serves, the IP address from which your comment comes appeared a few weeks ago. I think it was in response to something I'd written about my daughter. And I consciously decided not to unscreen it because it seemed mean-spirited. But I'm not averse to having edgy comments, provided they don't detour into personal attacks.
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