Friday, April 16, 2010

Fattism or fatism?

A new word surfaced today - fatism. Or is it fattism?

The authors of the word spelt it as above: fatism. We think that would be pronounced fay-tism when they really want a word pronounced fat-tism. In those circumstances English convention is to double the last consonant. For instance "ratting" not "rating" means chasing rats, "matting" not "mating" means making mats and you are "hatted" not "hated" if you wear a hat. That gives us "fattism".

In case you're in any doubt, it means prejudice against overweight people. Here's the story.

Curiously in the age of tweeting, English is becoming more like German with more and more portfolio words emerging. Does it matter? Probably not but we're resisting some of them - like "underway" and "healthcare". We'll generally write "under way" and "health care".