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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2008-02-11 18:06
Subject: [language] Department of permanently embedded speech errors
Security: Public
Location:Peet's Coffee on SE Hawthorne
Mood:busy
Music:coffee house music
Tags:language, personal, writing
Working on this story, I confront a tic of mine. I use "til" to mean "until" or "till". Apparently, I am wrong. Apparently my generally excellent English language parser (native speaker edition, college and author upgrades) simply won't let go of this. That usage runs through all my novels as well.

Likewise, "problematic" to me means "trivially troublesome", as opposed to the common meaning of "significantly troublesome."

Got any of those little tics your own self?

Meanwhile, back to work, me.
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User: ecbatan
Date: 2008-02-12 02:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I do the same thing with til though I often spell it 'til.

(I read problematic as "significantly" troublesome, mind you.)

My main tics are not necessarily errors but turns of phrase that I find myself using far too often.
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russ: quo vadis
User: goulo
Date: 2008-02-12 06:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:quo vadis
"Til" is bogus, but writing "'til" should be fine as a contraction of "until".

I have a friend who writes "'later" instead of just "later" to sign an email, even though he knows the apostrophe is wrong. I don't know why he does that. :)
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User: ex_chrisbil
Date: 2008-02-12 02:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:agh!
I am actually bloody awful at English (extra-native speaker, no college upgrade, debatable writer influence...) having not been a university student, and having concentrated in just the most basic way during A-Levels (non of which were in English anyway). I guess I both talk and type a decent jib, in comparison to half the morons in the world this day at least, but I couldn't define a verb, noun, adjective or (until this weak) interjection with any confidence until I confessed this all to Michael Hiebert this week, and he introduced me to the joys of Schoolhouse Rock! May my English education reboot now...
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User: ex_chrisbil
Date: 2008-02-12 02:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:huh?
n' hey, I used 'weak' not 'week'. That is a product of it being 3:00am, not me being a fuckwit!
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robvagle
User: robvagle
Date: 2008-02-12 05:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
To me, 'til or til means "until". I can't imagine deliberately using it to mean "till" which (I believe) means the thing Republican financiers have their finger in.

What do you think "till" means?

And, speaking as a certified (Brandeis University, 1994) Linguist, who cares? Language CHANGES, baby.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-02-12 13:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oddly, just yesterday I said "language is change" on a comment thread elsewhere.

We rock!
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Hal
User: hal_obrien
Date: 2008-02-12 06:02 (UTC)
Subject: Oh?
"Apparently, I am wrong."

Apparently according to whom?
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russ: romanes eunt domus
User: goulo
Date: 2008-02-12 06:49 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Oh?
Keyword:romanes eunt domus
Dictionaries and other language authorities... "til" with no apostrophe is some obscure word for "sesame". Now "'til" with apostrophe, that's a contraction for "until"...
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Hal
User: hal_obrien
Date: 2008-02-12 18:37 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Oh?
The OED backs this up (though you missed another plant, "A lauraceous tree, Oreodaphne fetens, of the Canary Islands and Madeira; also its wood, which has a fetid smell.")... However, I can say from personal experience (said the man named O'Brien) that apostrophes appear to be on the way out. Googling confirms this in an odd way -- searching for "til" brings up uses with the apostrophe in front.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-02-12 13:19 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Oh?
Well, the dictionary definitions don't carry the implication of triviality that I have in my head.
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Hal
User: hal_obrien
Date: 2008-02-12 18:39 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Oh?
Clearly dictionary definitions of "problematic" need to include the scandasotan/scientific/geekish nuance of understatement.
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desperance
User: desperance
Date: 2008-02-12 10:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Like you, I seem to have developed til as a usage; like others above, I solved this as a problem by adopting 'til (though I barely use it now; it's like nicotine chewing-gum, a way to wean yourself. The apostrophe acts as a reminder, that really it should be until or till...).

Re problematic, this may be a transAtlantic difference, but over here it doesn't actually mean troublesome; it's one of those words that works against its root, and actually means questionable or doubtful. Of course people do say "That's problematic" when they mean "That's a problem", but they oughtn't.
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manmela
User: manmela
Date: 2008-02-12 13:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
whilst I have plenty of writing tics (I claim ignorance), I have a particularly annoying typing tic.

For some reason over the past few years, I keep missing the apostrophe key and hitting a semi-colon instead. I'm not a professional typist, but am pretty fast with 4 fingers so I type a big long passage look up and see it littered with unwanted semi-colons. It was never a problem until a couple of years ago, and now it's constantly no matter what keyboard I'm on. I wonder if my fingers are getting shorter? (perhaps I have worn them down through continual use)
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J.K.Richárd: Coffee!
User: neutronjockey
Date: 2008-02-12 14:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Coffee!
I have a better grasp of Spanish grammar than English and grew up using British styling on punctuation.

My tics are many.

Writing in good'ol Murikan English takes a lot of thought.
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ericjamesstone
User: ericjamesstone
Date: 2008-02-12 16:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
For some reason, the word occurred always looks wrong to me, and when writing it in a non-spellcheck environment, I have to think it through to confirm its spelling.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-02-12 16:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Actually, I have exactly that same problem with "occurrence"
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ericjamesstone
User: ericjamesstone
Date: 2008-02-12 16:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, yes, that too.

If I'm just writing occur, I don't seem to have a problem. It's the double c and double r that for some reason look wrong to me, and my instinct is to take out one of the cs.

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User: mmegaera
Date: 2008-02-13 01:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Isn't the "find" function an absolutely wonderful thing?
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