I have a confession to make. Well, is it a confession? I guess it’s something you didn’t know that you will in a few seconds.
I hate misspelling, mispronunciation (with caveats), and bad grammar.
What I particularly hate is that no one seems to even care about misspelling, mispronunciation, and bad grammar. To the point where it’s to be found quite regularly in YouTube thumbnails and ad copy. It’s like no one bothers to do proofreading anymore.
In fact, one time I had the absolute temerity to correct someone’s Japanese pronunciation (he used a long “I” in Hitachi) and someone else accused me of being a “gamma” personality (whatever that means) and condescendingly apologized for causing me pain. I had to look up what that meant. Just another way of categorizing people in order to demean them.
Mistakes happen. In fact, I posted a long time ago about how I don’t often correct mistakes that slip through my proofreading on this very blog. And sometimes I don’t. But I still do my due diligence. It seems these days that people don’t even bother with that. They just spout any old thing and no one cares. I think that’s the worst thing. No one cares, and not only that, they call people who call errors like that out “grammar nazis”. Really.
But here’s the thing. I’m just a little bit of a hypocrite, because there are some mistakes that aren’t mistakes. I make them deliberately. Because I’m stubborn. For example, most people pronounce “integer” with a soft “g”, sounding like “j” in “jif”. I pronounce it with a hard “g”, like “get”. I know this is probably wrong, but I do it anyway. But even there, there’s a difference. I know what the “correct” pronunciation is, and I just choose not to use it. You have to know the rules before you can break them.
What really frosts my cookies is when people mispronounce Japanese. I don’t know why. It’s not even fair of me. Most people haven’t taken Japanese pronunciation lessons, and most people have no real interest in taking Japanese pronunciation lessons. Because, in fairness, most people don’t encounter enough Japanese in their everyday life to bother. So, in one sense, mispronouncing Japanese is to be expected, and it’s not really fair of me to expect people to come even close to pronouncing it correctly. On the other hand, it feels like ignorance to me. It’s like, if you want to use a word like “shinkansen”, at least make the least little bit of effort to know how it’s supposed to sound. So I almost always correct it, because, you know, “the more you know”, right? That’s often not appreciated.
But then, I’m kind of a hypocrite again. Because I don’t do that with Spanish. I don’t really know how to pronounce Spanish words, and for much the same reason as people don’t know how to pronounce Japanese words. It doesn’t really interest me. I probably could, I just don’t.
So, I guess the crux of this is, it comes down to respect, and people mispronounce what they don’t respect. People don’t really respect Japanese. I don’t really respect Spanish. Most people don’t respect proper English. People don’t pay attention to detail for things they don’t respect. Is that a huge problem? Or is just a matter of freedom?
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure. Maybe it’s both.