Graham Wegner is annoyed that the rest of the world doesn’t share the same opinion about the spelling of “Celsius.”
In truth, Mr. Wignar, there’s only one way to spell it: Celsius. It isn’t “celcius” today and it won’t be tomorrow. That’s because astronomer Anders Celsius was the first to create a temperature scale with 0 as the freezing point for water and 100 as the boiling point. We pay homage by invoking his name for that system. And, as I’m sure we’d all agree, names aren’t a matter of opinion.
The Fahrenheit system is also named after a guy. We capitalize both Fahrenheit [F] and Celsius [C] because they are names.
Gramm spits some snark toward the oppressive masses that make up Wikipedia:
“I pride myself on my spelling ability. So much that I can get indignant when confronted with the accusation that my lifelong memory of a word is actually incorrect. But who can argue when the Wikipedic wisdom of crowds defines the right spelling for meâ€¦”
Well, Grehim, I’m not accusing you, I’m just telling you that you’re 110% wrong and that there’s absolutely no basis for your objection. You could’ve read all the way to the third [!] sentence of the Wikipedia entry on “Celsius” and seen this:
â€œCelsiusâ€ is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius (1701 â€“ 1744), who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death.
But you didn’t. You made a cartoon and wrote a blog post instead.
Worghner wraps up with this:
“Luckily for me, perhaps Iâ€™m merely contributing to the evolution of the English languageâ€¦”
Haha! Oh, Grimm, you charming little scamp. That quip is almost as predictable and banal as me spelling your name wrong 5 times in this blog post.
What bothers me most about the post isn’t Wegner’s attempt at the lighthearted/humorous – I’m sure most of his readers chuckled. It’s the 7 comments to his blog post that really concern me.
I’ll summarize them:
- Love the hat!
- Paragraph citing irrelevant research that has become a pop culture meme
- Your hat looks like a pith helmet
- I can’t spell accommodation***
- Wegner explains that he’s wearing a bucket hat
- Commenter mentions something about a surname
- Someone posts the full lyrics to “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”
The usual drivel – nothing remarkable here. Except for Comment #6, that surname bit, which suggests gently that:
“Well, since itâ€™s a guyâ€™s surname, perhaps we should try to get it right.”
Unfortunately for Commenter Karyn [whose blog is a good read, by the way], no one noticed or cared.
Oh, the Read-Write/Web 2.0 at its finest. It’s not what you publish, it’s just that you participate. Gold stars and hugs for all!
The rest – like the last names of seminal scientists or conceptual/historical links between our everyday term and a man 3 centuries gone – are just pesky details that, as Wegner foreshadows, probably will be lost over time. I just won’t call it “evolution.”
*** There’s a trick for spelling accommodate and its sisters. Say to yourself, “Accommodate is a large enough word to accommodate two Cs and two Ms.” You won’t spell it wrong again.
34 Responses to “Spelling Isn’t a Matter of Opinion”
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