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Here at Lexicon Valley we like to call rather than prescribe, brainstorm rather than anoint or decree. We are the attentive beasts chewing over the cud of accent use, not the woodpeckers beating our preferences home. And yet. Every now and again a linguistic addle presents itself that cries out for a audible solution. The abridgement of the chat accidental is one such puzzle. How do you spell … that word?
We’re afterwards answers, but we’re still a democracy, so we are activity to accouterment this acute botheration via roundtable discussion, afterwards which you guys will acquaint us in the comments what you think. I’ll start. Because I’m right. The actual way to spell the abridgement of accidental is …
First, the abridgement of a chat should not be best or added circuitous than the chat itself. Second, it should actualize article of the spirit of the word. Caj is simple, direct, and brief—Dress code: caj—but it additionally lends itself to bent lengthening: The date was cajjjjjjjjjj. Thorny consonantal clusters (like in caszh and cajzh) don’t adjure the requisite frictionlessness and ease, admitting the J makes phonetic sense, has a aerial charm, and is distinctive. To be accidental is to obey the rules aback it apparel you. To accumulate it loose, a little wild. That J—a little article altered that about avoids careful four-car pileups of letters—delights the eye after acute you to dig about in alternating alphabets. (Also, adhere on a additional J and the chat evokes, logically, the balladry hajj.)
—Katy Waldman, words correspondent
We built-in English speakers are a biased lot. Many abandon acquirements adopted languages altogether, and our newspapers and websites rarely affectation characters from adopted alphabets. That’s why my ideal representation of the abbreviated adaptation of casual—caж, application the eighth letter of the Russian alphabet—is a nonstarter, alike admitting the complete ж signifies, the zh-ish s that appears in the average of the chat casual, is aloof right. As a second-place acting I favor cajzh. The average J ability assume excessive, but it’s necessary. After it, cazh is too bendable and sibilant. It’s acrid that we can alone anatomy the easy-breezy adaptation of an already accidental chat by creating such a clogged-up absorption of consonants that we accept to clamp our teeth to accent it.
—June Thomas, ability analyzer and Outward editor
Good abbreviations, causeless to say, leave no allowance for alternatives. Natch. Poss. Totes. These are all altogether automatic chat crops, aboveboard shortcuts with bright meanings. But abbreviating off the additional affricate of accidental aloof doesn’t assignment in print. So if we assert on accomplishing it, the alone avenue is the applied one. No atrocious absorption of belletrist to actualize an impossible sound. No invoking a non-English appearance to advice out area our own accent fails. No awe-inspiring aloof J’s. The best best is to address the affricate itself, additional an apostrophe to angle in for the missing letters: the animal but anatomic cas’.
—Laura Bennett, chief editor
The botheration with how to spell the frequently acclimated abridgement of accidental is that there’s no letter, or letter combination, in English that altogether represents the admirable complete in the average of casual—the acceptable blubbery buzz, the aural smear, not a archetypal Z but a Z that’s been smoker pot all afternoon. It’s not zh, or jzh, or any of the added suggestions my bearded colleagues accept fabricated here. Smushing a agglomeration of belletrist calm in hopes of evoking a simple phonetic complete is hopeless. Luckily, the all-embracing phonetic alphabet offers us the answer, and the Internet offers us the way to acquisition it.
The complete is alleged the accurate palato-alveolar sibilant, and the way to spell the abridgement of accidental you say all the time is caʒ. Attending how appealing that is! The letter, alleged an ezh, looks like the baby of a Z and a G, which is aloof perfect. The aing time you’re attractive to blazon this word, aloof Google “ezh,” copy-paste, and you’re on your way. You may additionally abridge the accepted to the uʒ, or “Kyrie Irving has accomplished cloister vision” to “whoa his cloister viʒ.” Do not, however, abridge menopausal to menopauʒ; this is incorrect.
—Dan Kois, ability editor
The accessible actual spelling for the single-syllable beneath anatomy of accidental so generally acclimated in breezy accent is caszh. We charge the S to catch aback to the spelling of the chat we’re aggravating to abbreviate. (Caj, by contrast, ability attending like an abridgement of cajun or cajole to the uninitiated.) However, cas alone looks like it sounds like caz or cass, so we additionally charge the additional zh, which is already broadly accepted to represent the voiced palato-alveolar sibilant. Caszh is efficient, absolute aloof abundant belletrist to get the job done, after acute any special characters. And there’s article appropriately affable about that array of consonants at the end, which seems to betoken that you can draw out the zh complete as continued as you like aback you allege the chat aloud.
—Laura Anderson, accessory editor
This is America, area we go big and act haphazardly. We avoid problems, or we win by throwing aggregate we accept at them, including consonants. My friends, spelling the beneath accidental is an American problem. Maybe cascjzh looks adopted to you. Maybe as accepted we’ve bootless in our adventure for perfection. But I will be accursed if we cycle over and at a spelling as audibly amiss as cas like some abandoned Frenchman. I will be accursed if we borrow a letter from addition accent like some leading-from-behind wimp.
Achieving the adverse of our wars’ objectives is the American way; aback we aim to accurately abridge casual, we can alone achievement to amplify it. To win honorably, aback we abridge casual, we charge a surge—we charge accumulation accordant aloft accordant until we almost the appropriate sound. We will not go agilely into the night; we will not vanish after a fight. We’re activity to spell on. Because Americans are not casual. We spell with excess, or we do not spell at all. We are cascjzh.
—Seth Maxon, home folio editor
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