Grammar Girl? “Dipthong”? Can we revoke her license?
While browsing on the Web the other day, I came across across a “Grammar Girl” post on “w” being used as a vowel. This is always a fun topic to me, since words such as “cwm” that entered English through Welsh use “w” as a vowel.
Unfortunately, this particular “Grammar Girl” post (which was guest written by Sal Glynn, who has a biography posted identifying him as an editor at Ten Speed Press”) was full of fundamental errors in linguistics. Even worse, it was hardly grammatical. Among the most painful of errors was the repeated misspelling of “diphthong” (with two “h” characters) as “dipthong” (with one “h” – as if was was about to take a dip in a thong). This misspelling occurred once in a section heading:
What Is a Dipthong?
The worst thing about spelling “diphthong” as d-i-p-t-h-o-n-g is that when one spells it with only one “h,” it almost always indicates a mispronunciation. “Diphthong” is pronounced, according to the OED, as /ˈdɪfθɒŋ/ in IPA. As is usual in American pronunciation, /ɔ/can be substituted for /ɒ/, so /ˈdɪfθɔŋ/ is also an acceptable pronunciation. But someone who spells the word as “dipthong” is probably mispronouncing it as /ˈdɪpθɔŋ/. (In you do not read IPA, think [dif-thawng] and [dip-thawng].)
Now all of this is normally forgivable (everyone misspells and mispronounces words from time to time), but this was supposed to be an expert. How can we tak seriously a “Grammar Girl” post when it (a) is not grammatical; and (b) is not written by a girl?
I wish grammarians were licensed by the state so we could revoke “Grammar Girl’s” license.