Friday, November 16, 2007

November 16, 2007 - Willl* (for Willa, William, etc.)

I know a girl named Willa who is so nice you want to spell her name twice. Or perhaps even thrice. The letter L appears three tangential times in today's typo, which itself is found 63 times in OhioLINK, for names beginning with Will. Bear in mind, though, that while many Willas, Willems, and Williams, for example, do come from Germany, there are other German words that legitimately have three letters lined up in a row. This is due to a recent spelling reform concerning compound nouns in which the first element ends in a double letter and the second one starts with the same letter. (Prior to the reform, one of those double letters would have been omitted.) An acceptable variant allows for inclusion of a hyphen, especially in the case of vowels. So you will have to be vigilant when searching for triple-letter typos, but where there's a will, there's a way, and when it comes to names with the letter L, zwei ist company und drei ist ein crowd. (Picture of Willa Cather on the Burlington Railroad.)

Carol Reid

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