There was a very interesting story by language expert Ben Zimmer in Sunday’s Boston Globe about the origin of the memorable word from Disney’s Mary Poppins film: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Anyway, the article sails along, telling a tale of the murky–and disputed–origins of the word, which burst on the scene with the release of the 1964 Disney musical. On the jump page, on column 3, the Globe includes a reproduction of a very early “smoking-gun” use of the word (or one VERY CLOSE in spelling)–from a 1931 edition of the Daily Orange, the student newspaper at Syracuse University. It’s on the left in the photo above. The next column over, the writer quotes from that excerpt. The trouble is, the quotation is not completely accurate. The statement from the 1931 student newspaper:
I’ll admit it’s rather long and tiring before one reaches its conclusion.
In the body of the article, the writer changes the next-to-last word–from “its” to “the.” This does NOT affect the meaning, but it really should be the same. Especially in an article often devoted to the subtleties of language.
This one is a bit hard to swallow. Even a spoonful of sugar can’t help.
For some memories, you can hear Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews go through it: