Tuesday, July 13, 2004

People that want to make me screech my nails on the blackboard...

I'm not the world's best typist, I know. I'm not even a master grammarian. (Although I do appreciate the occasional punctuation joke.) But I'm constantly amazed at the inability of many native-born speakers in this country to handle even some of the simplest aspects of the English language.

Case in point: there's one guy that comes into the local gay.com chatroom (a place in which I hang out far too often) that has a nautical-themed screen name. I'll refrain from naming names. Oh what the hell, he's SailorHere. Now, you'd think with a nickname like that he might know a little bit about sailing. Or even just read something about it. The thing that bugs me is that he's constantly greeting the room with, "AHOY MATTIES." It's even in his bio line.

I don't want to get snippy about the shouting or the lack of a comma because, well, that would be anal. This is a chatroom, after all, and the regular rules of formal language are a bit relaxed. OK, limper than an overcooked noodle. I'm willing to be tolerant of that and the more-than-occasional misspelling; this is conversation, not publication. But it's not a typo, it's always mispelled as "matties," never, not once, as "maties." It doesn't appear to be intentional, he just doesn't know how to spell it.

Is it really unreasonable of me to expect that someone should want to put up a public persona that makes them look like they have more than a fourth-grade education?


Jon said...

Interesting little sidenote, I think. If you look up "matey" in a regular dictionary (for example, Webster's Colleigate), the word is an adjective. It means friendly, and has no actual plural since it is merely an adjective. And how many times have we heard "Ahoy, Matey(s)?" The word "maties" does not exist, nor does any variation of it.

Narc said...

OK, to be fair, I took the word as intended to be an affectionate diminutive of the word "mate," which is appropriate in a nautical context. Much like "sweetie." And it looks like the correct spelling of that would be "matey," according to the OED. "Matie" is actually a word, and means an immature herring. God, I really am a grammar nazi.

Jon said...

Either way- it's funny to realize how out of context this word has gone. Makes you wonder what else we say wrong.. in fact, have you seen: http://www.yourdictionary.com/library/mispron.html

Its a list of most often mispronounced words.. kind of funny, kind of sad.