Taking flak

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Ben@Forest
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Taking flak

Postby Ben@Forest » 8 Feb 2019, 8:14am

A couple of days ago l was mildly criticised for correcting someone's spelling. I had trangressed an unwritten rule apparently. One l really didn't know but generally l ignore spelling mistakes.

However why has flak become flack? It is an abbreviation for 'Fliegerabwehrkanone' which is anti-aircraft artillery, or if translating directly from the German something like 'flyer defence gun'. As can be seen there is no 'c' in the original word - the Germans love their compound nouns! It seems to be a recent misspelling; perhaps the greater our distance from WW2 the less we understand words derived from it.

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Paulatic
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Re: Taking flak

Postby Paulatic » 8 Feb 2019, 8:22am

I didn’t realise it had. It’s flak surely no c.
If you saw flack on a BBC site then it’s no surprise. Looks like no one can spell there anymore.
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Mick F
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Re: Taking flak

Postby Mick F » 8 Feb 2019, 8:23am

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Mick F. Cornwall

thirdcrank
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Re: Taking flak

Postby thirdcrank » 8 Feb 2019, 8:26am

There's an amazingly long entry (ie too long to type here) about this in the fourth (Butterfield) edition of Fowler, confirming your etymology of flak, comparing it with flack, which was originally an American noun meaning a publicity agent.


The crunch bit here is "The spelling flack is accepted as a variant in British and American dictionaries."

Bonefishblues
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Re: Taking flak

Postby Bonefishblues » 8 Feb 2019, 8:27am

Well, if it was good enough for Roberta...

Ben@Forest
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Re: Taking flak

Postby Ben@Forest » 8 Feb 2019, 8:27am

Paulatic wrote:I didn’t realise it had. It’s flak surely no c.
If you saw flack on a BBC site then it’s no surprise. Looks like no one can spell there anymore.


I was meaning on here and other sources not subject to the attentions of a sub-editor really. But it's common, l guess once someone 'adds' it as a word they'll use it forever.

Oldjohnw
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Re: Taking flak

Postby Oldjohnw » 8 Feb 2019, 8:30am

I think you are correct in saying that the further you get from the origin of a word the less we recall its original meaning. But this is true of much of our language. The particular case relating to WW2 is still within memory for many although it has become a word in its own right now. But there will be many other words which have been absorbed and now have a discrete meaning different to the original. I cannot think of any right now!

Many words/expressions have been borrowed from the armed services, the bible, the days of the Raj.

Bungalow. Ship shape. Black hole. Rise and shine(bible).
Last edited by Oldjohnw on 8 Feb 2019, 9:03am, edited 1 time in total.
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Taking flak

Postby Tangled Metal » 8 Feb 2019, 8:35am

Flack looks wrong. I won't use it and no dictionary adopting it will make me. I have standards! :D

cyclop
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Re: Taking flak

Postby cyclop » 8 Feb 2019, 8:36am

How about "breaks" and "peddles" seen often on this site.

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Mick F
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Re: Taking flak

Postby Mick F » 8 Feb 2019, 8:39am

Don't mention tires. :shock:
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rjb
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Re: Taking flak

Postby rjb » 8 Feb 2019, 8:53am

Time I retyred. !
At the last count:- Focus Variado, Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, 2 Dawes Kingpins, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, On One Pompino, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D

Bonefishblues
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Re: Taking flak

Postby Bonefishblues » 8 Feb 2019, 9:05am

It's too early for you to abandon the handelbars. Classical music venues need all our support.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Taking flak

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 8 Feb 2019, 9:52am

Hi,
I prefer words to be spelt correctly.
As they can have different meanings Substituting One letter for another.
My English spelling and Grammer is probably particularly bad.
When I hear words I don’t know I normally look them up, I’m interested in what the word means and also the origin, especially English slang.

Used to do history at school but learnt nothing much, Poor teacher.
But I’m very interested in history today.

Words are added to the concise dictionary especially slang words as apparently there are gaining use especially on Social media.

It’s light at sense once you live somewhere you tend to pick up the local accent.
Auto correct grammar on software may be partly to blame as it’s based on American English?
I can sometimes recognise the words are not spelt correctly by looking at it but not knowing how it’s spelt, I go looking on Google weather looks right are use that I also look for alternative ways of spelling the word.

I think even literary scholars argue about spelling words on how to use them.

“S I C “ It’s a good sample or misused word.
I started using voice to text software over 20 years ago, it was hard work then, any difference today as you don’t have to train it.
Unfortunately Auto grammar is also auto phrase, you’re not only has to recognise the word but also tries to use the correct phrase.
It appears that if you say one word at a time it will type what you speak.

My written word was once described by teacher , “Looks like a spider crawled over it “ha ha.
So not surprisingly that I haven’t used joined up writing in over 40 years.
I always blaming that on the fact that I was trained in technical drawing at school and that it was my job to.
The BBC are particularly bad at using vocabulary beyond that of the average person, Err Indoors went to grammar school but is no better than me.
https://wordcounter.io/blog/how-many-wo ... rson-know/

Text by speech, gets me off the hook ha ha.
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cycleruk
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Re: Taking flak

Postby cycleruk » 8 Feb 2019, 9:54am

I would expect there are a number of people on the forum who, at school, were subjected to spelling tests.
So when we see a mistake we want to put it right. It does erk a little bit when I see misspellings on the forum, but then we all can't be perfect.
( I had to check that misspellings is an actual word.) :roll:
Leave getting old to others.

reohn2
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Re: Taking flak

Postby reohn2 » 8 Feb 2019, 9:55am

Bonefishblues wrote:Well, if it was good enough for Roberta...

I think Roberta is lovely name :)

PS,I hope I've spelt that rite or some pennant mite take me to Tusk :shock:
Last edited by reohn2 on 8 Feb 2019, 10:08am, edited 2 times in total.
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