Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wile E. Coyote, Super Grammar Nazi

At least the coyote, in his enunciation, pronounces genius correctly. And I’ll bet he can spell it right as well, though it’s got to be tempting to spell it with a Y instead of an I.

Phonics, I think, is killing the word “genius.” Or an odd penchant on the part of people to pronounce it with three syllables – gen/ee/ous – rather than the correct two – gen/yuss. Because no matter how many times you look at this word in the dictionary, it’s not spelled with an O, adding that third syllable, as in “genious.”

Albert Einstein was not a genious.

That YouTube trailer you saw for “Helvetica” is not genious. Nor is the font.

He may be a genius. And the trailer may be genius. I’m not going to quibble over the use of genius, a noun, as an adjective, describing either Einstein or the Helvetia trailer. Or describing anything else for that matter. The language does not control us; we control the language. So use it as an adjective all you want. Jut spell and pronounce it correctly. That our language changes with the times means we can find new uses for words, not that we should be sloppy in spelling and saying them.

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