Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gingko* (for Ginkgo*)

Ironically, ginkgo is supposed to improve one's memory; I've taken it myself and yet I have a hard time remembering how it's spelled. Apparently, however, I'm not the only one. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever come across a case quite like this before: there were more hits in OhioLINK for the word incorrectly spelled (213) than correctly spelled (204). This is probably because the former accords slightly more with the way most people pronounce it; also, the internal G and K sounds are very similar. Ginkgo biloba is a wonderful tree (though not all would agree), as well as being a very old one. In fact, it's a "living fossil" with a footprint going all the way back to the Early Jurassic Age. Do your part to keep its lineage alive by correcting this all too common misspelling of its name. (Note: both American Heritage and Merriam Webster currently list gingko as a "variant," so if you do find any seeming typos here, be certain to check the source. Also be aware that it's sometimes spelled ginko.)

(Ginkgo leaves shown in their fall color, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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