Thursday, June 23, 2011

Philosopy, Phiosophy (for Philosophy)

I was recently asked if I had ever blogged about typos of my own surname, which seemed like a commonsensical suggestion at the time, given that it's often misspelled by others. But it seems that some names are simply too common to make sense of the compound search that works so well with more unusual names. For instance, if I try searching on Reid and/or Reed (or Reede) and/or Read (or Reade), I generally get a bunch of records with all of those names (and sometimes the verb "read") spelled correctly for different entities. I did, however, find eight clear examples of the Reid + Ried typo in the OhioLINK database. Regardless of how it's spelled, the name apparently connotes someone with red hair, as well as one who lives in a wooded clearing, which, oddly enough, both tend to signify my own Scottish paterfamilias. We also found 31 cases of Philosopy and five cases of Phiosophy, which makes sense since it's far commoner to drop an early letter than a later one. The Reverend Thomas Reid was a man of philosophy who lived from 1710 to 1796, was a contemporary of David Hume's, and founded the "Scottish School of Common Sense."

(Portrait of Thomas Reid by Sir Henry Raeburn, 1796, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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