Date: Tue, 26 May 1998 18:45:15 -0500
From: Thomas Creswell
Subject: Re: new word: speako

Mark Mandel wrote:

> When you're dictating text to your computer with speech recognition software*,
and you say "third person plural" and the
> screen shows "third person pleural", what do you call this substitution of one
real word for another? ("Pleural", with
> "eu", is a medical term.) For something like a year, maybe longer, SR users
and developers have been calling it a
> "speako", on the model of "typo". I think "talko" was another candidate, but
"speako" seems to have won out.
> Mark A. Mandel : Senior Linguist : mark[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]
> * Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 796-0267
> 320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02160, USA :
> Personal home page:

Ward Gilman and I have been collecting these from edited printed sources for
some time. Our (personal? nonce?) term for them
is "Spelchek error," on the theory that they most often occur in printed matter
that has been subjected to a spelling
checker, which accepts any string it finds in its dictionary, regardless of
semantics. Most frequent items are those
involving peddle/pedal; rain/rein/reign, and the like--homophones. My theory is
that most publications have downsized their
copyediting/proofreading departments, so that human eyes never or only cursorily
check the printed text. Whether the
erroneous string is the result of writer ignorance or haste or keyboarder error
is not ordinarily possible to determine.

Our term may not be appropriate in the case of unimaginative speech recognition

Tom Creswell