No, I don’t have a cold. Nor am I throwing dialect from other countries into my paragraphs. I’m not that smart. I took one Spanish class in college. I started to learn Russian through an on-line learning program. Neither went much beyond the basics.
The trouble is that my “N” key only works when seriously plunked on. If I am just typing away, without giving the “N” the attention it needs, my works fall apart. When “and” becomes “ad,” the sentence is still readable, but it sounds like I am suffering from a stuffy nose. Longer words take on a decidedly foreign appearance. “Enough” comes out “eough,” “anniversary” turns into “aiversary,” (“turns” becomes “turs” even as I write this!) and all “ing”s take on a decidedly east-European sounding “ig.”
On top of that, the “K” key goes on strike, too…but only occasionally, to surprise me. Then “like” becomes “lie” and “know” becomes “now” – or even “ow” if I forget to hit the “N” hard enough. These are not things that the spell checker picks up on! That means it’s up to me.
I’m a pretty good writer. I tell myself that I write like I talk, but it’s more true that I write like I would like to talk. When I’m in an actual speaking situation, I stammer and fumble for words. Things don’t always come out the way I’d like them to. I sound sarcastic or angry when I am neither; I sometimes sound much more agreeable than I feel. When I’m writing, though, I can fine tune all of those issues, so that – mostly – humor, sarcasm, anger and sadness come through only as I intend them to. I rearrange words and sentences as I plunk away, to get the best effect.
“Plunk away” is an apt description, because I am not a good typist. I managed, in 10th grade Typing 101 with Mr Perkins, to work up to fifty words per minute with no errors and no peeking at the keys. Back in 1967, working on manual (non-electric!) typewriters, that was quite an accomplishment, and earned me an “A” in the class. Today, with word processors, that would be considered dreadfully slow typing. Even so, I’ve since lost the ability to type without looking at the keys, and I usually use no more than two or three fingers to press the keys.
If I try to type “properly,” my errors skyrocket. When trying to copy a paragraph from a book (thus looking at the book, not the keys), I often look up to see that the screen is filled with gibberish, with almost every word (or non-word) underlined in red by my spell-check program. Errors frustrate me, because I am not a good editor, either. If it is underlined in red (as “jibberish” was just a moment ago) I will – most often, but not always – investigate (ah, it’s “gibberish”) and make corrections. Words that slide through the system, however, often get by me, too.
So, if you see a sentence that reads, “My freids ad I really lied the etertaimet ad I ow the others did too,” don’t worry. I don’t have a cold. Eventually, I’ll notice, and make the corrections.