Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Robet* + Robert* (for Robert* or Robet*)

Today's typo reminds me of sherbet. By which I don't mean, of course, that people named Robert are like sherbet. (Though you might know a Bob or a Rob who's both fruity and icy, as well as virtually lactose-free. That really wouldn't surprise me.) I just meant that many folks tend to mispronounce sherbet as "sher-bert." Perhaps it has something to do with the way the two syllables rhyme (sort of). Or maybe it's the unconscious association with the word brrr. Some dictionaries have even caved at this point and agreed to allow sherbert as an acceptable or variant spelling. However, please note that acceptable does not mean standard or preferred. But getting back to Robert* + Robet*. There were 56 hits on this one in OhioLINK, and 678 in WorldCat. Although, as with virtually all combined searches of this sort, some of the results do not contain typos, just cases of two different (but correctly spelled) words. In this case, the biggest spoiler is one Robertus Robet. Just ignore him! And place your bet on -bert.

(A glass dessert cup of raspberry sherbet, 1994, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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