Thursday, March 13, 2008

Does Spelling Matter?

I have a friend who travels frequently and sends me menus from cutting edge restaurants the world over. I just got a packet yesterday and I was amazed that no glaring spelling errors jumped off the pages. This may be a first.

It seems to me that there are very few restaurants that check their spelling meticulously. What does this say about a restaurant? Is it the menu equivalent of dirty restrooms? I'm not sure. [I'm just waiting for the raft of comments about the typos in my menus, living in a glass house as I do. ;]

Here are a few examples from the first three menus in my menus folder:

Oyster with Licorise [licorice] Jelly
Madeira Marchard [marchand] de Vin
Fresh Horseradish Crème Fraichê [fraîche]
Raddichio [radicchio] and Fennel Slaw

The older I get and the more languages to which I am exposed, the less sure I am of my spelling in any language. And the more I come to appreciate that life is about communication, not perfection in spelling. Still, I use my spelling checker and food dictionaries religiously. Why? Because, what does poor spelling say about a restaurant?

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