Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hans Christian Anderson (for Andersen)

The author for whom an international award for children's literature (often called the "Little Nobel Prize") is named was born in Odense, Denmark, on April 2, 1805. According to Wikipedia, most English, German, and French sources use the name Hans Christian Andersen, but in Scandinavia he is generally referred to as H.C. Andersen. In Denmark, Hans Christian is a traditional forename and considered a single unit; it's improper to employ only one of the two parts. In any event, it is always wrong to spell his name with an o rather than an e. There are 102 hits in OhioLINK on Hans Christian Anderson (27 when enclosed in quotation marks). Google shows one misspelling of his surname for about every ten spelled correctly. The reason there are so many typos like this is probably due to the fact that there are more Andersons than Andersens. So don't be like the hoi polloi afraid to point out the emperor's new "close." Instead, be like the princess who could always feel that round little pea where her "ease" should be. (Hans Christian Andersen in the garden of Religheden near Copenhagen in 1869, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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