“spelt” vs “spelled”

Interesting discussion re “spelt” vs “spelled” at English Language & Usage Stack Exchange, which, incidentally, is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It starts with the question:  

In the following sentence, should I say spelled or spelt:
You spelt/spelled “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis” [!!!] wrong.

See below for apparently authoritative conclusions from grammarist.com.

Farmers Market (no apostrophe, probably)

Associated Press Style tip: “farmers market or farmer’s market? We prefer farmers market as a descriptive, rather than a possessive with an apostrophe”.

No time to ‘research’ British style/grammar sources right now, although here’s an example from Cornwall.

Any comments?

Image source: Northborough Applefest Farmers Market, USA
Source: Savage Chickens

per cent or percent?


Across the board, dictionaries suggest that percent, written as one word, is American English, whereas per cent, written as two words, is British English. The European Commission (Directorate-General for Translation) English Style Guide concurs, although it is not prescriptive and notes that per cent is normally [blog author’s emphasis] written as two words in British English. Wikipedia even goes as far as describing the frequency of use of the two-word form in British English as “sometimes”. In any case, the online free dictionary suggests that the use of the two-word form is diminishing. No evidence is given for this statement, but it would be in line with the (in many case entirely ‘sensible’) trend of compounding. Not to mention the fact that, from a German Prozent perspective, the one-word form simply ‘feels more natural’.

Wort des Tages: Lohnkluft

Laut Google ist der Begriff Lohnkluft ebenso weit verbreitet wie die Lohnkluft-Praxis, und die besagte Kluft ist weiterhin erstaunlich tief bzw. groß oder hoch – siehe z.B. Deutsche Welle-Bericht von 2014 oder aktueller Bericht im Wirtschaftsblatt.

Wird die Lohnkluft-Praxis ‘aussterben’, bevor der Begriff in den Duden übernommen wird?

Quelle: Deutsche Welle

An epidemic of prepositional anarchy?

In his linguistically thought-provoking Guardian article under the heading “Back to prep school“, Andy Bodle reckons that Harry Blamires, the author of The Penguin Guide to Plain English, is far from alone in thinking we are in “an epidemic of prepositional anarchy”.

His bottom-line advice is to “check the dictionary”, although interestingly (and perhaps contradictorily?), he also refers to Google Ngram Viewer as a tool for trying to determine which version can be regarded as ‘more correct’, in cases where several ‘legitimate’ options exist, e.g. bored with/of, obsessed with/by, identical with/to.

Further reading: comprehensive Wikipedia page on prepositions, postpositions, circumpositions and adpositions.