If you could change the spelling of just one word... | Michigan Radio
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If you could change the spelling of just one word...

Nov 4, 2018

Once you start thinking about words that merit spelling reform, it can be hard to stop.

Each year, Professor Anne Curzan asks students in her introductory linguistics classes to decide on one word that should be reformed in terms of spelling.

The students have tournaments and eliminate words until they're left with a winner.

The first winner this year is "bologna."

The student who came up with this one made a convincing argument that the spelling "baloney" should be used for both the lunch meat and the nonsense word -- e.g. "Everything he said was a bunch of baloney."

The winner in Curzan's other class was "minute."

To distinguish the “minute” that means 60 seconds from the “minute” that means very small, Curzan's student argued that the former should be spelled "minit."

Curzan's students came up with some other words that definitely merit discussion, including "epitome," "surprise," and "berserk." If you could change the spelling of one word, what would it be?