1. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    To Clear Something Up

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Crazy Ivan, May 18, 2008.

    Where did the spelling of the word 'villain' as 'villian' come from? I've seen it used repeatedly in otherwise totally professional magazines, books, and other forms of literature. Is it an international thing, like 'maneuver' and 'maneouvre' (I think that's how UKers spell it anyway)? Am I just crazy, and the only one who's noticed it? Answers, please!
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I think it's just one of those words that everyone knows it has an extra vowel, but neither likely place for it seems right.

    Another such word is gauge. Because nobody pronounces it "GAWJ" they think it should be spellled guage, but it's not.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Welcome to the English language ;)

    (It makes no sense!)
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Mostly it does, but every language has its irregular words.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    where have you seen that, ivan?... i have a hard time believing any reputable publisher would allow such a silly misspelling and i've never seen it done on purpose anywhere, other than as a typo or goof by a poor speller in an unpublished ms or whatever...

    it's definitely not an acceptable alternative uk spelling, as far as i know...

    as for why it's spelled the way it is, same thing applies to 'marriage' and many other words with extraneous vowels... some, like those two, are the result of 'old french' words being absorbed into english...
     
  6. Wintermute
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    Wintermute Banned

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    A lot of times the word was mispelled on the printing press and has evolved that way. Shakespeare is infamous for having mispelled words or coinages in his work that were a result of a cursory and careless printer. Such mistakes have subsequently become neologisms themselves.

    Take Iago's comment on Michael Cassio for example, "A man almost damned in a fair wife." What the hell does that mean? Wide speculation suggests that it was a printing mistake. Misspellings often follow the same pattern.
     

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