Friday, February 1, 2013

Textural + Textual (For Textual or Textural)

Words have certain textures, formed by the consonants, vowels, syllables, and stresses they comprise, and are used to weave together all sorts of texts. Textiles would seem to have a certain story arc as well: a warp and a weft, a colorful background, a bold beginning, and a tight tying-up of threads at the end. Due perhaps to this similarity in both meaning and sound, the words textual and textural, much like tortuous and torturous, are very often confused. (Wonderfully enough too, in this regard, I just learned that one meaning of the word webster is a woman who weaves!) My sister once needled me for being "tactile defensive" simply because I chafe at stiff collars and pointless cuffs, wasteful waistbands and hawing hems, all fibers unnatural and un-soft, and of course those horrid little name tags that come welded onto practically any new article of clothing you buy. (They're like a literal pain in the neck to me.) When it comes to abrasive fabrics, however, whether worsted or not, wool is the absolute worst, in my admittedly thin-skinned opinion. Sort of like the opposite of The Princess and the Pea: no matter how many layers I pile on beneath it, I can still feel its itchy, scratchy, prickly there-ness up on top. In any case, and regardless of which fibers you might cotton to, don't be sheepish today and shy away from this combined typo, found nine times in OhioLINK and 84 times in WorldCat. (Be especially careful to rule out any false positives—that is, records that contain both words correctly spelled.)

(Textile crafts for sale at Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico, 17 April 2011, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

1 comment:

Private Beach said...

For some reason, those horrible stiff scratchy labels (I hate them too) are mainly found on American clothing brands. Other countries generally prefer softer ones.