Spelling corrections

Discussion of the confirmed Zodiac letters

Re: Spelling corrections

Postby Zazu » Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:00 am

traveller1st wrote:English is my native language and I sometimes struggle with certain words and letter combinations, I think we all do. Maybe it's the nature and intricacy of the language itself. It is, I believe, purported to be one of the hardest languages to learn because of all it's little nuances. In that respect I'm not sure we can nail down Zodiac's dalliances to being caused by non-native learning but certainly something to consider. I have to say though, that your own little language faux pas made me smile Zazu. Despite being wrong they are quite intuitive, almost to the point that I have to stop looking at them lest I start using them myself lol. I could probably go and look but please, forgive me for not being aware, what is your own native tongue?


No, of course that can't be a reason to come to a conclusion about one's nationality and it wasn't my intention to make such an assumption. As I said, this topic just made me think about language structures and mistakes we make while using it. My native language is Latvian (here are something more http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latvian_language because I always doubt anyone would know anything about it).
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Re: Spelling corrections

Postby ggluckman » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:18 am

I am just returning from commenting on a post by Quicktrader about a mangled phrase from the Little List. That thread and this one are one the same broad topic of mistakes made by the Zodiac Killer, and that got me thinking...

Let us suppose, for a minute that all--or at least the majority--of Z's mistakes were deliberate. I mean, let us take it as our working hypothesis.

In that case, what might be impressive, in my opinion, is how good a job he has done. Would you not say that he must have almost studied the variety of mistake that people make?

For example, I was thinking about the lists of spelling mistakes provided earlier on this thread. Are they not a very exact sample of textbook mistakes?

I am not claiming that Z did deliberately make his mistakes on purpose, but IF he did, would we not have to say that he did an ultra-thorough job of deciding which mistakes to include?

G
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Re: Spelling corrections

Postby glurk » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:02 am

Earlier in this thread it was said:
morf13 wrote:Very good topic, but personally, I think his misspellings are done on purpose.

Perhaps they were on purpose, perhaps not, but aren't they interesting in any case.

What sort of person makes a careful study of how words are often misspelled, and then uses that information to misspell
words in his own writings? A very careful and meticulous person, I would say!

Or maybe Zodiac just suffered from dysgraphia?

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Re: Spelling corrections

Postby traveller1st » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:53 am

glurk wrote:Earlier in this thread it was said:
morf13 wrote:Very good topic, but personally, I think his misspellings are done on purpose.

Perhaps they were on purpose, perhaps not, but aren't they interesting in any case.

What sort of person makes a careful study of how words are often misspelled, and then uses that information to misspell
words in his own writings? A very careful and meticulous person, I would say!

Or maybe Zodiac just suffered from dysgraphia?

-glurk


Awww how cute. You built that up so well only for it to turn out to not be that interesting after all. Lol. You know of course I'm just messing with ya and it doesn't really need 'splaining. More for other's benefit.

I could go for the dysgraphia thing except that it seems to be saying that it is also linked physically. Muscle memory. That sounds quite powerful to me and I'm not sure it would allow for subtle variations. It seems like more of a pronounced and locked in 'thing'. Since I believe that Zodiac wrote letters in different styles I have to assume and don't see evidence of, any physical impairment regarding writing.

So, back to what you first said. That, I find interesting. ;)
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Re: Spelling corrections

Postby traveller1st » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:38 am

After being royally insulted by Glurk in my PM box ;) I want to add that the dysgraphia idea should not be discounted. I trust glurk's opinion and as such I cannot just simply wipe that off the table. Point being that glurk reiterated that he thinks dysgraphia is a real possibility and that got my attention, properly. So look into it.

Geeze, I sound so pompous sometimes. Soz, it's just default mode for typing. I don't actually sound like this in real life ... or are I? lol.

Glurk BTW, apart from being the man behind ZDK has 'thee' coolest real name out of anyone I have ever known. Sorry dude, don't mean to embarrass you but it could be a TV show title.
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Re: Spelling corrections

Postby smithy » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:12 pm

morf13 wrote:What sort of person makes a careful study of how words are often misspelled, and then uses that information to misspell
words in his own writings? A very careful and meticulous person, I would say!

Hmmm, like a proof reader, or editor, or someone in publishing perhaps?
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Re: Spelling corrections

Postby entropy » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:02 am

smithy wrote:
morf13 wrote:What sort of person makes a careful study of how words are often misspelled, and then uses that information to misspell
words in his own writings? A very careful and meticulous person, I would say!

Hmmm, like a proof reader, or editor, or someone in publishing perhaps?


If you were a teacher and one of your students consistently submitted papers with the same types of common spelling errors would you likely conclude that:

a. He's doing it on purpose by carefully studying common types of spelling errors and using them consistently through many grade levels to appear less intelligent?

OR

b. He needs more help in learning these common spelling rules?

It's not a precise analogy because Zodiac might have a genuine reason for deception but I somehow doubt appearing stupid was a way he would have chosen to deceive. I've mentioned before that a lot of folks spent lots of time parsing BTK's spelling and grammar errors for hidden meanings because... well, BTK was a criminal mastermind and carefully orchestrated everything he did and said... until we actually met him that is.

I guess I'm just arguing for Occam's Razor here and suggesting that when people make the same types of mistakes over and over again, it's usually because they don't know how to do something properly.
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Re: Spelling corrections

Postby glurk » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:25 am

entropy-

I agree with you 100%. We should look at what is most likely.

Option 1 --- Zodiac carefully studied misspellings that he wanted to intentionally use, and then wrote his letters in small text, hastily, and managed to use all of the poor spellings that he had practiced.

Option 2 --- Zodiac wrote his letters in small text, hastily, and had many misspellings because he suffered from dysgraphia, and was poor at spelling.

To me, Occam's razor and all, of course option 2 is the more likely. I think the Wikipedia article on dysgraphia sounds JUST LIKE Zodiac, btw:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysgraphia

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Re: Spelling corrections

Postby entropy » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:13 am

Yeah, dysgraphia certainly seems to fit although Z doesn't seem to have much difficulty writing legibly (most of the time) and his grammar is pretty good for the most part. I imagine it's kind of a continuum like autism so I doubt he would have been considered to have a learning disability based on that alone. You bring up a good point, glurk, about the "hastily written" part. To me, there is nothing contrived about Z's handwriting, at least in the early letters. It's written very freely, almost sloppily and it's difficult for me to imagine him carefully thinking about specific spelling rules to screw up while writing that way.

Again, plenty of good points to be made on both sides. It's just one of those topics I've felt pretty strongly about for a long time. Good topic, good discussion.
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Re: Spelling corrections

Postby ggluckman » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:01 am

I also agree that it is more likely that Z had real difficulties with spelling. Haste is the key to that judgment, as Glurk points out. His handwriting reflects a hasty style that would (I think) require a great deal of overlearning to manage a lot of deliberate errors without causing noticeable disruptions in style.

On another note, I would like to point out (in my pedantic way) that, Occam's Razor is a principle that guides us in how to organize imcomplete information and gives us hints as to how to apply our resources in interpreting that information, strictly speaking, it does not tell us the probability of any given interpretation. In some cases, such as when dealing with and adversarial situation, where one party is seeking to confound the other, it can be questionable, because the opponent will often seek to do the least probable thing, so lower probability events have a paradoxical tendency to increase in probability.

As for its value as a guide in the use of resources, one must consider that the time and mental resources of a lone theorist is different from the available time and resources of a theorist community.

All this is my very pendantic and long-winded way of saying that we should still encourage exploration of the possibility that the spelling errors may have been intentional to one degree or another.

Regards,

G

P.S.: We should also consider the possibility that Z wrote his messages on his iPhone, then transcribed them, spelling errors and all, to paper. :)
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