Why Developers Can't Spell...
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sat, 11 Apr 98 13:31:51 -0700
Subject: Why Developers Can't Spell...
[This Fun_People posting is dedicated to Laura, our real estate agent*
because she never once used the H word (home) to refer to a structure (a
house). If you need a good real estate agent in Seattle and would like one
that speaks English and not cheesy marketingspeak, ask me <email@example.com> about
* Yes, we bought a house yesterday, 4/10/98! There will probably be some
hiatus in Fun_People between now and Mayday as we move.]
Forwarded-by: Cal Herrmann <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Forwarded-by: email@example.com (Kristine Lynn Rabberman)
Forwarded-by: Scott A. Prevost
How hard would it be for developers to start spelling
words like "green" and "point" correctly?
By Barry Rabin <Barryrabin@aol.com>
My new wife and I have been out looking at houses, in areas that used to be
the country but are quickly becoming just more of the suburbs. We have come
to one extremely troubling conclusion: Developers either are becoming
extremely pretentious and/or can't spell.
Case in point: developments and streets named with superfluous e's and
Just yesterday, we saw a house situated in a development called Deerfield
Greene, right off of a street that the sign identified as Greene Countrie
Drive. Had we traveled into some Outer Limits/Twilight Zone/X-Files land of
spelling hell, we wondered?
This was no isolated occurrence. The real estate section of the Sunday
newspaper features other new castles in places called Kimberton Greene and
Today we even drove past the Wyntre Brooke Apartments, a rare (but not
unknown) example of double-misspelling.
Yet another popular superfluous e-name out here occurs in developments that
feature the word Pointe in their names, as in Deer Pointe (which should have
been Deere Pointe for consistency, I figure), North Pointe and Brandywine
Some of the locals have taken to pronouncing this word poin-TEE, as they
snicker at the newcomers and their hoity-toity nouveau mansions.
How hard could it have been to spell three simple words like winter, green
and point correctly? Any reasonably bright second or third grader could have
gotten it right, yet here's some presumably grown-up developer going 0-for-3
If these people spell this badly, what are the chances that they didn't get
the water lines mixed up with the sewage pipes as well?
More likely, of course, is the conclusion that these misspellings are just
a cheesy attempt to invoke some kind of phony Olde Englysshe historical
feeling about these houses. As if buyers who ante up to buy one of these
new, Colonial-vinyl-sided beauties will immediately become Lordes of ye
Manor, ready to trod down the serfs and hang out with the king.
My pointe here is just this: How are we ever going to teach our children to
spelle and reade properlie if we have these pretentious home marketers
naming these newborn neighborhoods the way they do?
In our next category of pretentious place names, the developer incorporates
the name of what nice thing formerly existed there before said developer
wrecked it. Here I include developments with names like The Meadows at
Schlepkus Farm, The Fields at Quackenbush Estate, and others named after
what used to be there before it got obliterated by bulldozers and a bunch
If our truth-in-advertising laws extended to such developments, The Meadows
at Schlepkus Farm would instead feature a big sign at its entrance
identifying it as The Bunch of Houses that Ate Up All of the Meadows at What
Used to Be Schlepkus Farm Before We Turned It Into This Housing Development.
And while we're on the subject, just when exactly did a tract of houses
become The Knolls at This and The Timbers at That? Much more based in
reality would be a new development called something like The Oversized,
Overpriced Faux Stucco Over Shredded Wood Board Tract Houses at Graham
Even more laughable to locals out here in Chester County is the practice of
naming so many developments after the same wild animals being displaced and
eradicated by those very same developments.
The word deer (or Deere) appears on at least nine out of every 10 tracts
being denuded for housing developments here: Deere Pointe, Deere Crossing,
Deere Chase, etc. The name Fox (why isn't it Foxe?) is also very popular,
as is the word Hunt (or Hunte), another reference to the area's fading
upper-class Anglophile roots.
Actually, the name Hunt may take on a new and far more appropriate meaning
soon. At this rate of development, you're soon going to have to hunte and
hunte really longe and harde to find a foxe or deere which hasn't been
splattered or chased out by our new heavy traffic or the latest new
And by the way, maybe these suburbs wouldn't be so lily-white if they'd
start naming a few of these developments after well-known Jewish or African
Americans. I think The Woodlands at Shecky Greene or The Commons at Al
Greene would be a good start.
How do things need to change around here? It would be refreshing to see a
few of these developers start giving their progeny more accurate names.
Names like Ostentatious Manors, Overgrown Tacky Estates, or HEY! LOOK AT
HOW MUCH MONEY I MAKE! Massive Homes come to mind immediately.
But what we really need to curb this problem are some new laws, along with
a new kind of law officer to enforce them.
I envision a crack Pretentious and Incorrect Naming Department, which would
have specially trained officers fanning out all over the new suburbs, with
laptop computer spell checkers and citation pads. These troops would have
the power to fine offenders $1,000 a day for as long as it takes them to
clean up their dysfunctional spellings.
Oops, I've got to run -- my Realtor says there's a new house for sale at
The Greene Deere Meadowse Countrie Foxe Hunte Pointe at Schlepkus Farme!
Barry Rabin is a writer in newly overcrowded Chester County. He welcomes
your comments at Barryrabin@aol.com
© 1998 Peter Langston