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Firefox vs. Mefi spellcheck, irregardless, and y6y6y6 trolling
November 28, 2006 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Hey, can we have the spelling "judgement" added to the spell checker? Cripes, of all the words we'd ever need on MeFi.

Okay, I know that this qualifies as a "small, specific, and/or immediate problem" but it seemed like a cosmically (comically?) significant (or at least very mildly interesting) omission to me.
posted by XMLicious to Feature Requests at 9:54 AM (156 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Yeah, I know it's an accepted spelling, but 'judgment' reads as "jugged ment" to me.
posted by Eideteker at 9:57 AM on November 28, 2006


I thought the spellchecker had been removed?
posted by matthewr at 9:58 AM on November 28, 2006


Both "judgement" and "judgment" are acceptable. In fact, my dictionary indicates that "judgement" is a noun-variant spelling, which seems to imply that it's not the preferred spelling of the word. Paging languagehat....
posted by aberrant at 10:00 AM on November 28, 2006


I assume you're American, and therefore believe that there is a right way and a wrong way to spell that word. However, in many other countries either spelling is acceptable.
posted by amro at 10:03 AM on November 28, 2006


Most in the legal profession would argue that judgment is the correct spelling and that judgement is an "accepted" spelling. In fact the spelling checker I have installed in Firefox indicates judgement as a misspelling. There is a spelling note in this wiki article.
posted by Carbolic at 10:03 AM on November 28, 2006


Also (from the "Oxford American Dictionaries" widget under OSX):

"In British English, the normal spelling in general contexts is judgement. However, the spelling judgment is conventional in legal texts, and standard in North American English."
posted by aberrant at 10:03 AM on November 28, 2006


Black's Law Dictionary (at least my well-worn fifth edition) only includes "judgment" as an acceptable spelling.
posted by yhbc at 10:03 AM on November 28, 2006


aberrant, how dare you pass judgment on judgement!
posted by XMLicious at 10:03 AM on November 28, 2006


Here's what Wikipedia has to say on the topic.
posted by amro at 10:04 AM on November 28, 2006


WHAT SPELL CHECKER?
posted by quonsar at 10:06 AM on November 28, 2006


Where did all the e's go? It's like asking, "Where did all the donut holes go?" Doughnut! Doughnut! ARRGH!

Wait... the spell-checker seriously thinks that "donut" is right and "doughnut" is wrong? I was actually kidding about that, Mr. Spell-checker, who you won't let me spell your name without a hyphen.

BEGONE, DEMON OF SPELLCHECKING! GET THE BEHIND ME!
posted by XMLicious at 10:16 AM on November 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Hmm, I did not know that judgment was the preferred spelling in the US. In fact I did not realise that it was an accepted spelling anywhere. The things you learn.

Actually I probably have seen it spelled judgment plenty of times and have simply never noticed that there wasn't an 'e' in there
posted by TwoWordReview at 10:24 AM on November 28, 2006


Am I alone in having no idea what everyone is talking about here? The Metafilter spellchecker is no more, at least on my internets, so what spellchecker are we referring to?
— Confused, Tunbridge Wells.
posted by matthewr at 10:29 AM on November 28, 2006


Are you using firefox 2.0 and confusing the built-in spellchecker with something on the website? Because I removed the spellchecker ages ago.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:35 AM on November 28, 2006


Id lick too take his moment to suggest hat spell checkers hove head an net negligent affect on modern writing land gauges.
posted by freebird at 10:35 AM on November 28, 2006


Burn
posted by prostyle at 10:35 AM on November 28, 2006


I'm similarly confused, matthewr.
posted by jack_mo at 10:37 AM on November 28, 2006


Oops, yeah, just upgraded to FF2.0, you must be right. I so habitually ignore spellcheckers that I thought I just hadn't noticed it before.

Wow, it really was a demon.
posted by XMLicious at 10:40 AM on November 28, 2006


To add the word "judgement" to Firefox's spellchecker, type the word in a field, make sure it's got the dotted red line under it, and right-click and select "Add to dictionary".
posted by matthewr at 10:44 AM on November 28, 2006


Heh heh, I was thinking, "Wow, mathowie, that's some pretty slick cache-buffered AJAX."
posted by XMLicious at 10:44 AM on November 28, 2006


Well, then, the good news is that in FF2.0, you can right click on a misspelled or flagged-as-misspelled-but-really-that's-spelled-right word and "Add to Dictionary".
posted by Bugbread at 10:46 AM on November 28, 2006


I actually lost my junior-high spelling bee due to spelling it "judgment". Bastards.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:01 AM on November 28, 2006


Mornington Crescent!
posted by cortex at 11:05 AM on November 28, 2006


This is nice work all around. Especially this: BEGONE, DEMON OF SPELLCHECKING! GET THE BEHIND ME!

I lolled.
posted by Mister_A at 11:11 AM on November 28, 2006


I blame XMLicious' mistake on his having a higher user number than me.
posted by Eideteker at 11:21 AM on November 28, 2006


Wutz a spel chegger?
posted by blue_beetle at 11:30 AM on November 28, 2006


"Spell checker" is an abomination. It doesn't check spell, it checks spelling. Spelling checker. Thank you.
posted by kindall at 12:00 PM on November 28, 2006


cortex, you're forgetting that the Circle line doesn't stop at Paddington on the last Tuesday of the month, so a direct move to Mornington Crescent is illegal. An acceptable move would be King's Cross, but Baker Street would probably be ideal.
posted by Kwine at 12:13 PM on November 28, 2006


That'd be a perfectly good point, Kwine, excepting that it being a leap-year soltice and Pat'nbury Day besides, they've close King's Cross for the day to accommodate the parade and are running detour service on the Circle after all. Also, I have a gun.
posted by cortex at 12:34 PM on November 28, 2006


Judgment is the preferred form in AmE and seems to be preferred in British legal texts, even as far back as the 19th century. Judgement is prevalent in British nonlegal texts, and was thought by Fowler to be the better form; Glanville Williams states that in BrE, "judgement should really be the preferred spelling." Learning the Law 153 (11th ed. 1982).

Brian A. Garner, A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage (2nd ed. 1995) 481.
posted by dios at 12:42 PM on November 28, 2006


blue_beetle'z in my baze spel chegging my werdz
posted by quin at 12:52 PM on November 28, 2006


Well, MeFi is definitely a legal text as far as I'm concerned. Why, in my state, I have to register some of my posts as deadly weapons.
posted by XMLicious at 1:01 PM on November 28, 2006


Hey, dios, Bryan's name's spelt (heh) with a Y.
posted by cgc373 at 1:24 PM on November 28, 2006


Misspelling 'dead' isn't fooling anyone.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:29 PM on November 28, 2006


The British English spelling-chequer in Firefox spells it "judgement".

It also considers the word "Firefox" to be a misspelling.
posted by Bugbread at 1:40 PM on November 28, 2006


While we're here, can Matt please add "irregardless" to the Firefox spell checker? Its in most spell checkers, not sure way it isn't in ours.
posted by WoWgmr72 at 1:52 PM on November 28, 2006


Cuz it ain't a word. Irregardless I mean, not "it".
posted by Mister_A at 1:58 PM on November 28, 2006


I really hope WoWgmr72 was joking. I just can't tell with some of these posts and comments today. The first sentence made me laugh, but then the second sentence made me wonder...
posted by Iamtherealme at 2:13 PM on November 28, 2006


Its a word. I know that makes you a sad panda. But its a word.
posted by WoWgmr72 at 2:13 PM on November 28, 2006


Also, I have a gun.

Looking at my copy of Stovold’s Mornington Crescent: Rules and Origins, an armed player is - assuming a straight rules game - forbidden from making an inverse transfer which, combined with the closure of King's Cross, means that, not having passed through Aldgate East, and not having made a lateral shunt, you're almost certainly in Spoon. (Of course, if you're playing Finsbury Rules, the point is moot, though your practically begging to get caught in the Dollis Hill loop.)

With all that in mind: Knightsbrige. (Risky, I know!)
posted by jack_mo at 2:21 PM on November 28, 2006


makes popcorn, awaits shootout
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:05 PM on November 28, 2006


I'm pretty sure WoWgmr72 is taking the piss.
posted by Bugbread at 3:33 PM on November 28, 2006


As much as I hate a language pedantfest (and I'm being sincere), I'm curious as to why a question concerning a feature that doesn't even exist is still open. I mean, it's not like we have gifs anymore.
posted by absalom at 3:41 PM on November 28, 2006


Well, then jack_mo - Ongar. Crescent in 3?

(Though, I believe cortex may have breached rules of conduct. After all, he did call Mornington Crescent in the opening move, did he not? This is rather frowned upon, so I believe a donation to the Elevator Fund is in order)
posted by niles at 4:11 PM on November 28, 2006


XML, you're so right on this :-)
posted by Anything at 4:20 PM on November 28, 2006


Duh. On closer reading.. yeah I got tricked by firefox 2 as well.
posted by Anything at 4:22 PM on November 28, 2006


I'm pretty sure WoWgmr72 is not taking the piss.
posted by Kwine at 4:45 PM on November 28, 2006


With all that in mind: Knightsbrige

Bucket of Cockfosters.
posted by grouse at 4:46 PM on November 28, 2006


Its a word. I know that makes you a sad panda. But its a word.

I love you and I hate you all at the same time.

Also, dios made a post I liked. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON PEOPLE?
posted by dame at 5:03 PM on November 28, 2006


Install the British language dictionary for Firefox and Thunderbird etc. [Tools/Options/Advanced] Problem solved.

I can't believe that the default is just called "english". Not even Microsoft are that arrogant.
posted by wilful at 5:18 PM on November 28, 2006


(Though, I believe cortex may have breached rules of conduct. After all, he did call Mornington Crescent in the opening move, did he not? This is rather frowned upon, so I believe a donation to the Elevator Fund is in order)

I believe there have been one or two published examples of immediate victory, but yes, it is rather uncouth (I'm assuming he's operating under the American Ruleset).

Ongar. Crescent in 3?

Hah, nice one. I'll avoid the trap you're trying to set - I've been caught out by the Reverse Bilateral Rule before - by opting to make a lateral shift to break your vertical approach. So, with apologies, I'm afraid I must attempt a driveback:

Acton Town

(Needless to say, that's a move in accordance with the Schaubaum Convention, though one that certainly pokes a few holes in Maxwell's Transverse Motion Theorem!)
posted by jack_mo at 5:49 PM on November 28, 2006


At least with the American ruleset, a driveback must be accompanied by a right-facing diagonalization, unless the Gancy Maneuver has succeeded. Needless to say, Acton Town faces left, and Gancy couldn't have been completed because we haven't yet stopped in Leyton.

So the only move is a Brent Cross-Hempstead switchback pickle, but it's so easily countered that I fear you'll be taking the bus to Mornington Crescent, friend.
posted by Kwine at 5:57 PM on November 28, 2006


It is my sincere belief that irregardless is a standard English word. The only reason that it isn't considered such in *all* dictionaries is the crusade by a core of editors and word nuts. Silly arguments about it being a bastardization or a double negative fall apart since many bastardizations and double negative words are universally accepted. Their argument ends up devolving to, "It isn't. It just isn't." They'd pout over it if they weren't so focused on remaining pompous.

The *only* reason all authorities don't acknowledge this as a standard word is that this core group has conspired to deny the obvious. While the commonly used "irregardless" has been blacklisted by linguists, much less known words have been whisked into the set labeled "standard".

Irregardless is a word. Pedantic word Nazis clinging to their only shred of authority can't change that.
posted by WoWgmr72 at 6:03 PM on November 28, 2006


I win! WoWgmr72 is not taking the piss.

You know who else is a pedantic word Nazi?

...

Mornington Crescent.
posted by Kwine at 6:09 PM on November 28, 2006


Well, let's make things interesting then. In accordance with the Pinchbeck Supposition, I'll retract Acton Town and, since the American Ruleset is effectively a subset of the Argyll Street Parabola, I think I'm right in saying I can make a two-nudge switch.

That's right: Swiss Cottage.

(Before you say anything, may I remind you that under Mortimer's, that counts treble.)
posted by jack_mo at 6:13 PM on November 28, 2006


Oh great, I leave the thread for five minutes and you dump a Godwin's Imperative on me. Charming. I could've had you with Swiss Cottage as well (especially if you'd done the obvious reverse and gone for Hither Green).
posted by jack_mo at 6:15 PM on November 28, 2006


WoWgmr72: Its a word. I know that makes you a sad panda. But its a word.

Yes, it is definitely a word. As are heretofore and inasmuch. Nevertheless, making pandas sad is ~bad~. Bad, bad, BAD.
posted by Meep! Eek! at 6:21 PM on November 28, 2006


OMFG I cannot believe I am still so easily trolled but it's late in the day, I'm all coffeed up, and ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN WORKING ON NANOWRIMO

Irregardless is crap because it's a double negative. If you want to use it mean that something is in fact being regarded, go right ahead.
posted by freebird at 6:30 PM on November 28, 2006


Playing with the American Ruleset was an unfair advantage for me, and Godwin's Imperative is technically out of bounds in light of the Hawley Recursion of '64. Though we could debate the merits of Hawley all night--lord knows I've done--let's call it a draw.

Of course Hither Green is too obvious. I'd just snatch the paddle, dust off Alice's Golden Pitchback, and dot the T's. Negating your treble and bouncing high-low in one swoop, I'd land safe and sound in Sudbury Town.
posted by Kwine at 6:34 PM on November 28, 2006


That settles it, WoWgmr72. I am a proud word Nazi. In fact every morning I get up early to shine my semicolon-swastika and then en dash–step to my desk, where I gleefully—gleefully!—prevent ugly words from even looking at the dictionary. Using Garner's Modern American Usage and the Chicago Manual of style, I corral herds of irregardlesses for transport to the paper-lined circular concentration camp, chortling all the while. I have a fucking ampersand tattoo and write etc., &c. I majored in pomposity.

But I love you. Can we make it work?

PS: I am in fact a panda.
posted by dame at 6:41 PM on November 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Uncouth --> American Ruleset? I'm using the good old American Book (Volume 3, natch) as well. I guess I shouldn't be suprised at the disregard for the US version though, in light of the Chicago Incident of naugh-five.
--
Assuming Sudbury Town, leads me to believe we're going towards Bexley Borough. Watch the tram, and mind the gap.
posted by niles at 6:58 PM on November 28, 2006


What will Bexley Borough be like in 2021?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:14 PM on November 28, 2006


Irregardless is crap because it's a double negative."

Riiiiiiight........ and debone (a perfectly standard word) means to put bones back into a boned piece of meat.
posted by WoWgmr72 at 7:17 PM on November 28, 2006


You've obviously never actually seen anyone boning a piece of meat.



by "meat" I of course mean "chicken carcass"
posted by oneirodynia at 7:44 PM on November 28, 2006


I could care less about "irregardless." And I really wish I did.
posted by Iamtherealme at 8:35 PM on November 28, 2006


While we are on the subject, why the hell is it a 'refrigerator?' When food is made cold the first time is it being frigerated?

Because in my world, that would be the case.
posted by quin at 8:36 PM on November 28, 2006


When I said WoWgmr72 was taking the piss, I was thinking less of the "irregardless" bit, and more of this bit:

WoWgmr72 writes "can Matt please add 'irregardless' to the Firefox spell checker?"

Sure, he can add it to the Firefox spellchecker. His Firefox spell checker. But that won't be reflected in your Firefox spellchecker. If you mean "Can't he edit the master Firefox spellchecker", well, keep in mind that he has absolutely nothing to do with Firefox, so you may as well ask Michael Jackson or David Beckham to add "irregardless" to the Firefox spellchecker.
posted by Bugbread at 8:41 PM on November 28, 2006


But I do confess that I'm mighty tickled that the reason that the authorities don't consider irregardless to be a real word is that the core group conspired to deny the obvious. Conspiracies just aren't what they were in the days of faking lunar landings and assassinating Kennedys.
posted by Bugbread at 8:44 PM on November 28, 2006


This thread was much more fun than I had expected.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:43 PM on November 28, 2006


It ain't over yet, stavrosthewonderchicken. We needs us a fat lady, somewhere hereabouts, inasmuch as this thread needs an end, irregardless of any other concerns, rules-wise, or Crescent-wise.
posted by cgc373 at 11:26 PM on November 28, 2006


"Irregardless is crap because it's a double negative. If you want to use it mean that something is in fact being regarded, go right ahead."

Language isn't math. Double negatives as intensifiers are common in many/most languages. There's nothing wrong with them.

My objection to irregardless is that it's wholly unnecessary. If it had a subtly-but-usefully different meaning than regardless, then I'd think it were fine. But it doesn't. It indicates exactly the same thing in every usage context I can imagine, and with two added letters. The double negative doesn't intensify it. It doesn't do anything. That makes it sort of dumb.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:43 PM on November 28, 2006


Y'know, that's the same thing I've always said about antidisestablishmentarianism.
posted by XMLicious at 12:22 AM on November 29, 2006


This great evil. 'Irregardless'. Where does it come from? How'd it steal into the world? What seed, what root did it grow from? Who's doin' this? Who's killin' us? Robbing us of life and light. Mockin' us with the sight of what we might've known. Does our ruin benefit the earth? Does it help the grass to grow, the sun to shine? Is this darkness in you, too? Have you passed to this night?
posted by slimepuppy at 1:48 AM on November 29, 2006


I love the word 'irregardless'. When someone uses it without irony it immediately marks them as pompous (for using long words that they don't understand in the hope of sounding smarter) as well as ignorant (for failing to realise that they want 'regardless' or 'irrespective', but not both).

Once I had a job interview where one of the panel used 'irregardless'. I think the mild contempt I displayed for the rest of the interview was one of the reasons I didn't get it.

That's right, descriptivists: it is a word, and it means 'I am a buffoon'.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:31 AM on November 29, 2006


While the commonly used "irregardless" has been blacklisted by linguists

Before you start pontificating about words, you might want to learn what "linguist" means.
posted by languagehat at 5:12 AM on November 29, 2006


Uh-oh, languagehat is going against a descriptivist! This will be interesting.
posted by Bugbread at 6:21 AM on November 29, 2006


"Before you start pontificating about words, you might want to learn what "linguist" means."

This sort of minor quibble is at the heart of the problem. It's irrelevant. I *will* pontificate about the word irregardless until linguists, editors, languagehaters, etc stop claiming it isn't standard English. And of course I don't expect to get anything but contempt from those who see it as their mission in life to protect people from words they use every day.

"I think the mild contempt I displayed for the rest of the interview was one of the reasons I didn't get it."

This is not something to be proud of. This is a personality disorder. You need to get some counseling.
posted by WoWgmr72 at 7:08 AM on November 29, 2006


Ok, now WoWgmr72 is accusing languagehat of being a prescriptivist?! This is getting even better!
posted by Bugbread at 7:15 AM on November 29, 2006


"It's irrelevant. I *will* pontificate about the word irregardless until linguists, editors, languagehaters, etc stop claiming it isn't standard English."

How come there's no sockpuppet "languagehate"?

(And it's standard retard English, but I'm being trolled).
posted by klangklangston at 7:52 AM on November 29, 2006


Haha languagehater! It's like languagehat gone bad. languagehate. #1 should register "languagehate" for the hat to use as his evil alter ego, like when everyone on Star Trek had to contend with those alternate-universe bearded versions of themselves.

Wait where was I going with this? Oh yea. WoWgmr72, do you pronounce the "t" in often? Just wondering.

Also, "fucktard" is a word, but, like irregardless, I would never use it in front of my mom.
posted by Mister_A at 7:53 AM on November 29, 2006


OMG klang ruined my post. LOL fucktards.
posted by Mister_A at 7:54 AM on November 29, 2006


Uh-oh, languagehat is going against a descriptivist!

No, languagehat is going against someone who is spewing nonsense in public and doesn't know what he's talking about. Note: "descriptivism" does not equal "hey, there's no such thing as truth so it's all good and space aliens killed Kennedy." Just thought I'd clear that up.

And of course I don't expect to get anything but contempt

That's good. I guess you must enjoy it.

    —languagehater
posted by languagehat at 8:33 AM on November 29, 2006


Don't go pulling a "true Scotsman" on me, lh. I don't think one of the conditions of being a prescriptivist or a descriptivist is "knowing what you're talking about". It's just based on how much relative importance you place on rules, and how much you place on actual usage. It seems clear that WoWgmr72 is a descriptivist. He just happens to be, as you point out, a descriptivist who doesn't know what he's talking about. You're a descriptivist who does know what he's talking about. I'm just used to seeing the battle-lines with you drawn between the descriptivist and prescriptivist camps, so it was kinda interesting seeing them drawn this time between the educated-descriptivist and the ignorant-descriptivist camps.
posted by Bugbread at 8:42 AM on November 29, 2006


Fair enough. And if we had more ignorant descriptivists around here, you'd be seein' the prescriptivist side of me a tarnation more, podner!
posted by languagehat at 8:51 AM on November 29, 2006


But, languagehat, you haven't actually said where you stand on the irregardless debate. You've said in the past that one of your main objections to prescriptivism is its use as a tool to enforce classist divisions. It seems to me that many of the above comments indicate exactly such a use. I made an argument why irregardless is a "bad" word, and perhaps you agree with it, but we both know that by those same terms there's a large number of other words which could be labeled "bad", as well. Therefore, I think that by far the greatest significance that irregardless has is that it differentiates between social classes primarily distinguished by levels of education completed. It's mostly a snob test. By your past stated beliefs and feelings on the subject, I'd expect that to offend your sensibilities.

On the other hand, bugbread, you seem to be forgetting that languagehat also has training and experience as a professional editor. He's by no means a pure descriptivist; he has his strong prescriptivist leanings, as well.

As for how I feel about this, you could probably say that I'm a pragmatic descriptivist. The pragmatic part of my point of view is that I believe that prescriptivist rules of usage serve, often but not always, a useful social function. It is also pragmatism that serves as my guide for usage independent of social context (or, rather, any context): if I think some usage has relative utility compared to some other, then I think on its own terms it's acceptable. That doesn't mean it's acceptable, or rather particularly useful, in every given social context. In the case of irregardless, I don't see much inherent utility to the term at all. In many social contexts it's neutral compared to alternatives, but in some it has negative utility compared to others. So I see no reason to prefer it and reasons to avoid it. One could still use it freely in the social contexts in which there's no penalty for its use, but that would require a bit more modulation of language usage than is worth it. It's more than enough trouble to modulate use where in one context it has positive utility and another where it has negative. Why make extra work and retain a use that has, at best, only neutral relative utility? There's no good reason to use the word.

Well, with one exception. And that exception is if one finds social stratification enforcement via language usage to be particularly irksome. In that case one might use the word in an inappropriate mileau as a sort of weapon. The person doing so will do so either as an insider or as an outsider. If asserting themselves as an insider, they must do so convincingly. One would need to—just to take a random example—be aware that linguists are notorious descriptivists and the least likely class to be language nazis. If one is revealed to be a pretender to insider status while challenging the local language use custom, then one will have done more harm than good to the cause. If one challenges as an outsider, then there probably ought to be some critique more persuasive than "you have a bunch of arbitrary rules I don't like".
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:24 AM on November 29, 2006


I knew that comment was by EB before I scrolled to the bottom of it.
posted by Eideteker at 9:28 AM on November 29, 2006


EB, correct me if I misapprehend, but you are suggesting that use of "irregardless" is more common among less-educated people than among those with a bachelor's or beyond, correct?

In my experience (I know, anecdote filter), "irregardless" has most often come out of the mouths of people who have a fair amount of education (college degree) and are in a white-collar field. I have found that people who use irregardless tend to be biz-speak / marketing-speak knuckleheads who always prefer longer words to shorter ones. The blue collar people that I know are far more likely to say something like "well, anyway" instead of regardless or irregardless.

Sorry for the broad class generalizations here, but my point is that "irregardless" is often used by educated jargon junkies who will always select the longer word over the shorter.
posted by Mister_A at 9:37 AM on November 29, 2006


I think it's in the middle: in my experience, "irregardless" is used by people who know just enough to try to use jargon, but don't know enough to use it correctly.
posted by Bugbread at 9:50 AM on November 29, 2006


"EB, correct me if I misapprehend, but you are suggesting that use of 'irregardless' is more common among less-educated people than among those with a bachelor's or beyond, correct?"

I didn't specify where the distinction occurs. Most likely, you and bugbread are right. It's probably a somewhat educated/highly educated and (less and less so in the US, I'd imagine) middle class/upper class sort of distinction. It's most often probably the mark of a somewhat hapless aspiring upward-climber.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:57 AM on November 29, 2006


If using irregardless is wrong, I don't want to be right.

No, wait, actually I do want to be right. Irregardless sucks.
posted by grouse at 10:10 AM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


I still loathe "irregardless", but I think EB's double-negative-as-emphasis stuff sounded OK so my reason may not be valid (I'd like to see some examples though, I can't think of any offhand). So I suppose I will fall back on elitist snobbery as my reason for hating the word.

It really begs the question of what makes a word valid, doesn't it? But I'd hate to ferment unrest, which grows like top seed around here. Don't get your dandruff up, languagehaters!

Having said all that - for which let me apologize forthwith - I agree with as much of EBs penultimate comment as I could read, in that I'd have expected languagehat to take the other side of the "irregardless" issue, and was actually looking forward to some debate. I often disagree with him, at least initially, but always learn something and enjoy the conversation, which thus far I am afraid I cannot say for our WoWPlayer.

Dude - spend some talent points next time you level up on something besides "Dogged Insistance" and "Self-Righteous Smugness". I hear they're getting nerfed with the next patch anyhow, and they're useless for real PvP.
posted by freebird at 10:11 AM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


Freebird, if you search on double negatives, linguistics, and emphatic, you'll find many discussions of this. A linguistics paper in American Speech on double-negatives in standard modern English is available on jstor. Some of the discussions about the ubiquity of double-negatives mention that that they are common and necessary in both Spanish and Greek, as two examples.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:29 AM on November 29, 2006


The constructions I'm aware of in spanish are at the level of the sentence, rather than that of word-construction, and I consider those fundamentally different. Similarly with the American Speech paper and most of the search results.

Your point is nonetheless well-taken - but would you agree that sentences have different rules than do individual words? It seems reasonable that one would be "allowed" to do things in arranging words that don't make sense when building new ones...
posted by freebird at 10:44 AM on November 29, 2006


freebird, do you use "unthaw?"
posted by smorange at 10:54 AM on November 29, 2006


Nope, I use "unfreeze" and "thaw" - is "unthaw" a synonym? Blech, IMHO, but for different reasons.
posted by freebird at 11:20 AM on November 29, 2006


"The constructions I'm aware of in spanish are at the level of the sentence, rather than that of word-construction, and I consider those fundamentally different."

Which I suppose is reasonable. I don't see why the distinction would matter very much and I also notice that the common prescriptivist complaint against the double-negative occurs within the domain of the phrase, not the word. Even so, if you can make a plausible case for why it would be acceptable in one and not the other and demonstrate that it's not the case that world-level double-negatives are often acceptable in many languages, then you'd be going places. Right now, though, I'm more persusaded by the idea that many varieties of double-negatives are more naturally parsed by humans as emphatics and not logically. There's a whole overlapping branch of analytic philosophy and linguistics that shows how natural language deviates from formal logical statements.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:22 AM on November 29, 2006


"Unthaw" is a synonym for "thaw," yes. At least around here, everyone uses the former in place of the latter. I think it parallels the case of irregardless/regardless quite nicely, since each member of the pair means the same thing as the other, making the negation form redundant. In fact, for me, the example of unthaw/thaw defeats EB's argument about pragmatism. That is, if you're one of the many people using "unthaw," then you shouldn't object to irregardless. Admittedly, I use unthaw and I squirm a bit when I hear irregardless, but I recognize that this is simple inconsistency on my part. I've no doubt that it's because unthaw is more widely used than irregardless, and because I never much used thaw, whereas I have always used regardless instead of its negation.
posted by smorange at 11:38 AM on November 29, 2006


But, languagehat, you haven't actually said where you stand on the irregardless debate.

I find it amusing, basically. Linguistically, irregardless is a word like any other (I won't get into the "double negative" thing, which is very silly in its own right), but for whatever reason it attracted severe criticism from the usual crew of language Nazis shortly after it was first recorded (in 1912, in western Indiana, according to the American Dialect Dictionary; Ring Lardner was using it not long thereafter), and as The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage (for which I will put in my usual plug as the only usage manual worth consulting) says, "its bad reputation has not improved with the years." My advice is the same as theirs: "Use regardless instead." Not because irregardless is a bad, evil word sprung from the bowels of Satan (much less because it's "not a word"), but because using it marks you as an oaf in many people's eyes, and who wants to be marked as an oaf?

When television first started being used (a century ago), some people objected to it because it was a bastard word formation, half Latin and half Greek. If their objections had been taken more seriously and the language mavens had jumped on the bandwagon, all of you who hate irregardless would hate it just as much. Think about that next time you turn on the boob tube.
posted by languagehat at 11:46 AM on November 29, 2006


I squirm a bit when I hear irregardless, but I recognize that this is simple inconsistency on my part.

I applaud you, and I wish more people took your attitude. Too many people mistake their own reactions for the Objective Truth.
posted by languagehat at 11:47 AM on November 29, 2006


"In fact, for me, the example of unthaw/thaw defeats EB's argument about pragmatism. That is, if you're one of the many people using 'unthaw,' then you shouldn't object to irregardless."

Actually, my pragmatic argument would be to ask whether there's any relative benefit or cost for using unthaw instead of thaw independently of how you answer that question for irregardless. However, it seems to me that the answers are the same: both usages are at best neutral and in some cases negative. My sense is that this is less true with unthaw and that's it's a dialect variation that outsiders will more likely think peculiar than indicating ignorance. But they may well think it indicates ignorance and even within the population where this usage is common it may be the case that the most educated drop the usage in favor of thaw. I would.

In short, my pragmatic analysis isn't about consistency according to some arbitrary rule, but to look at utility, both descriptive and social, on a case-by-case basis.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:51 AM on November 29, 2006


I agree with most of that EB and LH, but I'm now interested in this level-of-structure stuff. Let's take it as read that language doesn't need to parse logically (rather, that the logic is elsewhere, but that's another discussion). There is nonetheless structure and pattern to be discerned, right?

If you can make a plausible case for why it would be acceptable in one and not the other and demonstrate that it's not the case that world-level double-negatives are often acceptable in many languages

It seems to me that you can combine elements in different ways at different levels of structure in many domains. Forgive some really horrible metaphors: I can cook ingredients together in many ways with many results, but I expect a certain consistency in the contents and preparation of the individual ingredients. Houses can vary widely, but we expect lumber to be provided in standard dimensions. It seems reasonable to me that we'd construct new words less frequently and with more structure than new phrases.

Consider repetition - it's a very very very normal construction to repeat words for emphasis. Yet we don't (usually) rererepeat prefixes - unless we mean for the suffix to apply multiple times: un-undo = redo, etc. So it seems entirely valid to object to semantically meaningless double-negation with prefixes and suffices, while accepting and even savoring double negation as a phrase construction.

So I hope that makes the case for scale mattering.

Does it in practice? I cannot fake expertise here, and withdraw from the field. But all the examples of emphatic double-negation I saw in your links, and all the ones I could think of, were at the sentence level rather than the word. I'm certain there are counter-examples, but I throw the burden of prood back on you, because all the word level examples I can think of are ones that I consider "wrong", like "irregardless".

I don't think "unthaw" is in that camp, but I do think it sucks, nothing personal.
posted by freebird at 11:59 AM on November 29, 2006


In short - what's the point of having things like prefixes if they don't mean anything consistent?
posted by freebird at 12:00 PM on November 29, 2006


In short - what's the point of having things like prefixes if they don't mean anything consistent?

An inconsistent prefix could be seen as multiple self-consistent prefixes with the same superficial form, for one thing. For another, prefixes serve as a useful way to extend existing vocabularly while expressing some sort of semantic relationship, even if the logic of that relationship is inconsistent.

...he mumbles from his armchair.
posted by cortex at 12:06 PM on November 29, 2006


"So I hope that makes the case for scale mattering."

It does and you make a good and strong argument. And I, too, will be mostly forced to leave it here to the one person with real expertise.

Hmm. I can guess, though, that sometimes an added negative prefix can act as an intensifier where the word has some other negative prefix or suffix when that word, with its prefix or suffix, is ubiquitously used in such a way that its quality is ambiguous. I don't know if this is arguably the case with regardless. Anyway, isn't irregardless more plausibly a, um, "cross-pollination" from irrespective?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:17 PM on November 29, 2006


True enough cortex, and there are all kinds of important things prefixes can do with the sound and scan of language which have nothing to do with meaning - as usual, I overstate my case.

I guess all I'm really saying is that I LOVE the way you can put word-parts together in ways that people will understand. If you know what to "FREEBIRD" means, you can guess what to "UN-FREEBIRD" would mean (to clarify, perhaps? To remove over-generalizations?). If we all start using "UN-" to mean, say, a negation and an emphasis, it's no longer easy or even possible to understand what a new construction might mean. If we use "Super-" to mean either above- or below-, it becomes less useful as a positional modifier.

I understand there will be exceptions, that's part of what makes natural language so powerful and cool. But we ought to save them for when they really do something for us. This is close to EB's utility argument, but I'd go further:

If someone wanted to use "floomba-regardless" to mean the same thing as "regardless" I'd think they were wierd - but I'd object less than to the repurposing of a prefix which has existing meaning. Because the latter costs us a little, and we get nothing back for it.

re: "irrespective" - yes, I think that's the source, hence all the "eggcorns" in my earlier comment.
posted by freebird at 12:24 PM on November 29, 2006


The OED says that irregardless is "[Prob. blend of irrespective and regardless.]" and describes it as " In non-standard or humorous use." Amusing that out of the first four quotations, three of them question the correctness of its use.
posted by grouse at 12:27 PM on November 29, 2006


"but because using it marks you as an oaf in many people's eyes, and who wants to be marked as an oaf?"

Bored, mischievous strangers on the Internet?

1) One would think any user who spent $5 to call themselves "WoWGmr72", and then engaged in an otherwise intelligent debate about language, would immediately be assumed a troll. I guess not. But then MeFi is a big place and silly names abound.

But really. Can Matt please add "irregardless" to the Firefox spell checker. ??? Really?

I suppose the best trolls are those where the trollees know their chain is being yanked, but they can't help themselves.

2) It's been great fun. And I think you all. It's my sincere hope that you got/get some amusement out of the whole thing. And yes, I'm probably inflating the case for what a good troll this was. But there it is. I hope we all got some amusement out of it.

3) It is my sincere belief that "irregardless" is a word. My feelings about the word are almost exactly this. But, as languagehat pointed out, I really don't know what I'm talking about. Even though I have read perhaps half a dozen articles about the word's status. And since I go out of my way to use the word on a regular basis, I've had this debate, and hear d these arguments, countless times. Still, I'm a programmer and photog, not a wordsmith.

4) For the record, I meant "languagehater" to be parsed as languagehat-er, rather than language-hater. But of course I knew people would read it the other way. That was just my own little joke with myself. No disrespect intended.
posted by WoWgmr72 at 12:29 PM on November 29, 2006


The furor in this thread is a reminder that despite overall harmony, words have the potential to be an inflammable issue at Metafilter.

Discuss.

This thread has been a ray of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day.
posted by Otis at 12:30 PM on November 29, 2006


I've been thinking of that example as this discussion has continued and had thought about mentioning it as an example where the two forms have arguably distinct meanings.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:34 PM on November 29, 2006


The matt/firefox thing was funny - but I'd argue the best trolls spur fun discussion, and this qualifies in that regard for me. And didn't you like the rhetorical talent tree? "Time to respec for Dialectic Exposition!"
posted by freebird at 12:41 PM on November 29, 2006


Nerf Descriptivists!
posted by freebird at 12:42 PM on November 29, 2006


language doesn't need to parse logically (rather, that the logic is elsewhere

Bingo. The logic of language is totally unlike the logic of logic, and attempts to jam the two together are doomed to failure.

In short - what's the point of having things like prefixes if they don't mean anything consistent?


Case in point. Prefixes are an excellent example of the subtleness and flexibility of language; they tend to be used in a variety of ways that don't "make sense" at first glance but are consistent in terms of the categories of the language. Anyone who's tried to learn a Slavic language (perfective verb prefixes) or a Bantu language (noun-class prefixes) will know what I mean. Same goes for prepositions in English, particles in Greek and Chinese, and "little" words and parts of words in general.
posted by languagehat at 12:44 PM on November 29, 2006


I don't think "unthaw" is in that camp, but I do think it sucks, nothing personal.

None taken! I'd imagine you'd look at my funny if I said "bunnyhug," too. It's all part of the dialect.

posted by smorange at 1:05 PM on November 29, 2006


Crap no flame-out. Well played everyone, irrespective of your perspective on irregardless.
posted by Mister_A at 1:07 PM on November 29, 2006


One would think any user who spent $5 to call themselves "WoWGmr72", and then engaged in an otherwise intelligent debate about language, would immediately be assumed a troll.

Charitable people might, instead, give the user the benefit of the doubt and presume that "WoWGmr72" was just an inelegant choice of usernames. But if you're trying to establish that your intentions were, in fact, malicious, I will thank you for your newfound forthrightness and invite you to fuck off.
posted by cortex at 1:14 PM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


"and invite you to fuck off"

Fine, asshole. I'll fuck off then. I try to interject some fun back-and-forth, stimulating a robust and intelligent discussion in the process, and I'm told to "fuck off".

Nice. Really nice. Shame on me for such a vicious attack on "charitable people" such as Mr cortex. I can see that "malicious" folk such as myself aren't welcome. So I'll FUCK OFF. You've seen the last of me.

Is that good enough for you Mr cortex? Or must I beat myself in the head with a board till I'm bloody as well? Will bloody penance satisfy your need to condemn others who dare to try something different? Perhaps you'd be happier if you could just drag me into the ally and beat me to death with your epeen. Oh, I forgot, you're charitable.

And reading the other comments on this site, I can certainly see how what I've said here justifies the f-bomb. Sorry for sullying the sanctity of your pristine forum.

Fucking off now. Adios dickhead.
posted by WoWgmr72 at 1:51 PM on November 29, 2006


I think cortex wants to invite you to his pants party, WoWgmr72. The party. Party...with the pants. Party with Pants? Anyway, you're invited.
posted by Kwine at 1:58 PM on November 29, 2006


Did that just happen?
posted by cortex at 2:11 PM on November 29, 2006


FLAME ON BABY!
posted by Mister_A at 2:15 PM on November 29, 2006


Oh yeah! At last some flameout action! Who's got the ballpark franks?
posted by languagehat at 2:27 PM on November 29, 2006


MetaFilter: "malicious" folk such as myself aren't welcome.
posted by Mister_A at 2:35 PM on November 29, 2006


Sweet holy . . . I was gonna make a comment in semi-snark mode, encouraging WoWgmr72 to lose his shit and FLAME ON, kind of a wink-wink, make it so, WoWzzR thing, but I bethought better of the impulse and refrained. It was going to read something like "Bring it, cortex!" Along those lines, anyway.

And, given WoWgmr72's admission to trolling, above, I hope—for reals—this outburst is an in-character huff, a part played, another costume, a troll, FFS. I hope it's a way to FLAME OUT in play, and not a real grievance, because, WoW, cortex didn't speak from anger about anything except the impulse to troll, which he—and I—find questionable, at best. Your results were entertaining, but the principle of the thing remains: Troll Bad. All cortex was saying in the fuck-off was that. I think. amirite, cortex?
posted by cgc373 at 3:18 PM on November 29, 2006


Something like that, cgc373. I'm hesitent to even re-engage—the catch-22 of willful trolling: how do you determine it's actually ceased?—but, fuck it, if it's benefit of the doubt it's benefit of the doubt all the way. So, then:

Wowgmr72, it's possible that you and I attach fundamentally different connotations to the word "troll", and that your motivations here were genuinely community-minded. The "fuck off" line, while in my eyes absolutely deserved if you were in fact engaged in self-serving disingenous trolling, may read as a genuine slap in the face if you had only good community intentions.

It's an issue on which I'm pretty torn, because I generally don't like behaving unkindly, but I have little tolerance for genuine assholery. You've managed to, intentionally or not, navigate a fairly tight line between the two. I'm going to try and err on the side of credulity here and say that I'm sorry for hurting your feelings. Mea culpa, man.

Please understand that it's pretty much impossible for me to entirely dismiss the possibility that this kind of response is precisely what the menacing, goateed evil-universe version of you was fishing for. Assholes abound in the world, and I don't like them very much.
posted by cortex at 3:55 PM on November 29, 2006


Oh.

Who keeps track of the sockpuppets? Is it crunchland?

WoWgmr72's first post to MetaTalk leads me ineluctably to a user absent from the site for some months.

So, if the user's feelings were hurt, I wanna hold out an olive branch, but I want to whack you with it for using a sockpuppet and trolling us, too. I'm not sure which I want to do more.
posted by cgc373 at 4:00 PM on November 29, 2006


Oh, you've gotta be fucking kidding me. This is where credulity gets me, I guess.

Go play in traffic, y6y6y6.
posted by cortex at 4:06 PM on November 29, 2006


Swiss Cottage counts not treble but quadruple because it's the only station whose name includes two kinds of cheese.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 4:14 PM on November 29, 2006


I totally thought it was your puppet cortex, and was really appreciating the effort you were putting in.

On a less wierd note - I agree with your ambiguous feelings about "trolling". I think the role of "devil's advocate" is a crucial one, and that well-intentioned poking at a community's ticklish spots is a valuable service. Done with bad intent or too much effort, it can destroy a conversation - also, when it becomes common, people stop taking any strongly stated position seriously. Again, this can be good in that it discourages extreme positions, but taken too far can destroy any hope of good discussion.

I thought this went some interesting places, and the troll was played quite well - just enough to wind us up, not enough to stop us talking about interesting things. This being the case, I prefer to think it was well-intentioned and that last bit was also for fun.
posted by freebird at 4:18 PM on November 29, 2006


*proceeds to spank y6 for trolling*

Not that this will accomplish anything.
posted by batgrlHG at 4:19 PM on November 29, 2006


You've forgotten Cheddar Muenster, AmbroseChapel, and Dairy Federation Rules require a declared nonsense station whose name contains any cheese costs whoever declared it half the points they gained, but they also have to move two stops back. I claim a tertiary followup, too, due to the Hogdkins Clause. Vintner's Crossing, naturally.
posted by cgc373 at 4:19 PM on November 29, 2006


This is where credulity gets me, I guess.

It wasn't your credulity, cortex, it was your charity. And science has determined that people who prey on the charity of others make pandas sad.
posted by psmith at 4:37 PM on November 29, 2006


Brilliant, WoW's first post to MeTa contains the word "irregardless".

Yes, it's personal.
posted by Wolof at 5:10 PM on November 29, 2006


I would just like to thank you fuckers for providing that much distraction from nanowrimo. Damn.

echo "metafilter.com\t127.0.0.1\n" >> ~/hosts.txt
posted by freebird at 8:07 PM on November 29, 2006


Who keeps track of the sockpuppets? Is it crunchland?

Yeah, I noticed this a while ago, but wasn't sure enough to call it out. Nice to find out I was right about something for a change.
posted by dg at 9:12 PM on November 29, 2006


Like it's a crime that's been uncovered! "Please hope me, can you set the Firefox spellchecker to accept 'irregardless'?" That shit is funny!
posted by freebird at 9:30 PM on November 29, 2006


I haven't got a goddamn clue what's going on -- someone want to Cole Notes me?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:58 PM on November 29, 2006


Couple different threads, stavros&c. Thread one was, can we add a word to the spellcheck thinger? Everybody says, Uh, dude, there ain't no spellcheck thinger, and that thinger would be called a spelling checker if it was called anything, but you're using Firefox and mathowie don't play that. Next thread was, WoWgmr72 asks in a provocatively mis-grammerracally wrong way if irregardless can go in the spelling thinger [that we already know doesn't exist here]. Everybody piles on and says "Irregardless" Double Negative intensifiers in other languages makes sense sometimes is a word is not is so fine whatever doesn't make a pot of difference anyway before WoWgmr72 admits the question was a troll. cortex he no like troll, so he say, Fuck Off Mr. WoWgmr72. But the latter say, Why you say FUCK OFF to me? I add fun to site! And I say, who is this guy, anyway? And it turns out WoWgmr72 is y6y6y6. But what is going on beyond that?

Dunno.
posted by cgc373 at 10:05 PM on November 29, 2006


What he said. And anyway, I'm going to start using "respective" as a synonym for "irregardless", just to keep things hopping.
posted by cortex at 10:21 PM on November 29, 2006


It's pretty much about the liturgical dialectic as applied to a progressive agenda: sin as differentiation, love as gravity, and God as David Bowie in Labyrinth.
posted by freebird at 10:26 PM on November 29, 2006


Which reminds me of the babe.
posted by cortex at 10:28 PM on November 29, 2006


What babe?
posted by cgc373 at 11:13 PM on November 29, 2006


cgc373, nice. Unfortunately you just became the official Cliffs/ Cole (?) notes correspondent to MeFi.

From this point forward, I fully expect a fully condensed description of every interesting thread.

Sorry bud, you brought this work on yourself.
posted by quin at 12:02 AM on November 30, 2006


I appreciate the compliment, quin, but I bow before Richard Daly, who can really summarize a thread. (It's about fantasy roleplaying games, an argument about whether they can constitute meaningful stories, and it's also inspired by a troll.)
posted by cgc373 at 1:24 AM on November 30, 2006


I really should link the MeTa, too. There's another awesome summary in it.
posted by cgc373 at 1:32 AM on November 30, 2006


The title of this post is increasingly inappropriate to the content.
posted by Mister_A at 6:40 AM on November 30, 2006


Did you know that "gullible" isn't in the dictionary?
posted by JanetLand at 12:26 PM on November 30, 2006


Really?
posted by dg at 2:22 PM on November 30, 2006


Damn, did y6y6y6 intentionally choose the most god awful sockpuppet name ever?
posted by bob sarabia at 3:49 PM on December 3, 2006


I seem to remember y6 joking that all he ever does now is play WoW.
posted by Mid at 5:22 PM on December 3, 2006


Language-Hatfields and language-McCoys.
posted by XMLicious at 11:04 PM on December 4, 2006


XMLicious : Language-Hatfields and language-McCoys.

Which I read as: Language-Hetfields and language-McCoys.

And that is far more amusing in my book.
posted by quin at 11:36 PM on December 4, 2006


Nice title tags, quin. Me like!
posted by cgc373 at 9:56 AM on December 5, 2006


"Damn, did y6y6y6 intentionally choose the most god awful sockpuppet name ever?"

I always subconsciously reduce it to 216y3 in my head. So maybe my next MeFi nickname (when this one is finally banhammered to dust) will be an algebraic expression, and each subsequent SP will be a reduction of the terms until I finally solve for x.
posted by Eideteker at 6:53 PM on December 5, 2006


Really? I always read it as y6•y6•y6, not y•6•y•6•y•6.
posted by klangklangston at 7:00 PM on December 5, 2006


Or maybe y6, like a chemical (does Yttrium even form molecules like that?)
posted by klangklangston at 7:02 PM on December 5, 2006


"does Yttrium even form molecules like that?"

I don't think so, (klang)2ston.

I am, however, solving for y18 = 216y3
   y18 = 216y3
y18/y3 = 216
   y15 = 216
    y = 1.430969
Whee, that was fun!
posted by Eideteker at 7:30 PM on December 5, 2006


Well, Yttrium's a transition metal, right, from the second column... That means two electrons in the outer shell, right?

(After a trip to Wikipedia... That means kinda two electrons in the outer shell, but a half shell prior, and I haven't had a chem class in so long that I couldn't tell you what that means for ions or covalent bonding or whether y6 is ever possible...)
posted by klangklangston at 8:49 PM on December 5, 2006


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