After 35 years in another life (as a primary school teacher) I guess I have always had a passion for correct spelling in anything written or published. I wince and groan at some of the errors that are allowed into final copies of our local newspaper. I would inwardly squirm when school newsletters were sent home with several spelling errors contained in the text. I delight (in horror what’s more) at spelling bloopers used in the captions on television programmes (‘programs’ for my North American friends).

When writing student reports while teaching I was especially careful to set a good standard. I remember one occasion when I sent print-outs of my reports to the deputy principal for checking. One came back with the following circled: ‘xxxx must check his spalling more carefully. Now that word spalling was accepted by my spell checker so I missed it. As it turns out, it is a building term and is also used in relation to sculpture. I learned a new word through my mistake. (Who says we never learn from our mistakes?)

A new kind of food delight

Sometimes a spelling mistake can lead to humour (“Humor’ me, my American fans.) Yesterday I was driving along Prospect Road in north Adelaide, South Australia. I had just seen several restaurants: a Vietnamese, Sri Lankan, Indian and several others.

Then I saw the following sign advertising a culinary delight they called:


That’s strange, I thought. I’ve never heard of CHI KEN before. Must be some new Chinese food.

Then the penny dropped. As I drove closer I realised that there was a letter missing from their sign.

Good writing – and remember to check your spelling.


One Response to “A new food – CHARCOAL CHI KEN”

  1. Amazing how the loss of a single letter can generate so many interesting possibilities! Or simply distort the meaning.