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Asked • 03/21/19

What is it called when words are deliberately spelled incorrectly but pronunciation is kept unchanged?

For example, > Night -> Nite > Through -> Thru > The -> Da > Though -> Tho _Nite_ even appears in some dictionaries as having the same meaning as _night_.What is it called when words are deliberately written incorrectly but the pronunciation and meaning are kept unchanged?

Mary M.

These alternative spellings with the same pronunciations of the words such as night/nite are regarded as 'variants' or 'variations' in the dictionary. Sometimes common usages for traditional words are so rampant in our society that phrases such as 'you all' become acceptable as 'y'all'. If you wonder about how this process evolved, peruse any form of the Oxford English Dictionary (the Concise O.E.D. is shorter) online or in reference book form in academic or public libraries. Change is inevitable as new subject matter is discovered and new terms, coined. Academically speaking, the traditional spellings are preferred when writing. However, when a character/person speaks in their native brogue/dialect/region as in a quote, the variants are totally acceptable even when spelled differently.


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