April 04, 2008

An infuriating Cupertino

Audrey Devine-Eller writes in with the latest entry for the Cupertino files. This spellchecker-induced gem is from the Student Personnel Services page on South Brunswick (NJ) High School's website:

In early August, all rising sophomore, junior and senior students will receive an unofficial copy of their transcripts. You should carefully review these for all infuriation: demographic data, courses taken, final grades earned, credits earned, participation in activities. If there are any errors, please follow directions for making corrections.

A likely suspect here is the misspelling "infurmation" getting miscorrected to "infuriation" rather than "information". But since the "edit distance" to "infurmation" from the two possible words is the same (a one-letter substitution in each case), I'm not sure why a spellchecker would rank "infuriation" more highly on its list of suggestions, especially considering "information" → "infurmation" involves a vowel-to-vowel substitution rather than a vowel-to-consonant substitution.

Whatever the source, it's pretty easy to find further infuriating cases online:

Conference themes centred around the issues of human resource development, democracy and infuriation literacy, quality, knowledge management and future roles for the information specialist. (link)

INLEX/3000 libraries with Sirsi Web2, Version 1.2 should refer to Sirsi Web2 Release Notes for INLEX/3000 Systems (Version 1.2) page B-8 for detailed configuration infuriation. (link)

For more infuriation about the Girl Scout Fall Product Sale call the Kay County Girl Scout Headquarters at 405-762-9616. (link)

Use "REGULAR" when the infuriation should be broadcast during a regular news time. (link)

GIS is considered to be a strategic infuriation technology that is consistent with the evolving corporate information technology infrastructure. (link)

After the students were done with this recall task, they were asked two questions about adaptation that required them to "go beyond the infuriation given" in the actual passage and transfer or apply the information to a different situation. (link)

We are truly living in an Age of Information Infuriation.

[Update: James Dreier writes: "My (Word) spellcheck does give 'information' as the first correction for 'infurmation', but as the first correction for 'inforiation' it gives 'infuriation'. So maybe that's the explanation." Indeed, that does seem plausible.]

Posted by Benjamin Zimmer at April 4, 2008 08:49 AM