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communication

The Consolation of Etymology: Pugilistic Spell-Checkers

I am engaged in an unrelenting death-match of Greco-Roman wrestling with mobile device spell checkers. I have had some very near-misses on social media.

The spell checker on my phone recently tried to insert Gestapo instead of gestalt and circumcision instead of circumlocution; needless to say – this would have dramatically re-framed the intended meaning of my sentences. (Intended meanings are easily corrupted by over-helpful technological widgets.) It was almost a very bad day for me, indeed.

These annoying little devices make communication resemble trying to shout underwater. Yet, we can’t live without them.

And as for those intermittent, long and Jabberwocky-esque strings of unrepentant gobbledygook that they like to suggest as alternate spellings: battling statistical word-probability algorithms has become an unacknowledged and ubiquitous cultural frustration and necessary obsession.

The predictive text systems commonly in use for personal mobile devices are devoid of anything resembling more than the most remedial and simplistic of semantic comprehension. That is the problem, the essential problem – these machines shuffle rules blindly and without understanding. So many human beings, similarly.

Sculpture: Marek Zyga

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