As the day wore on, the pace increased. Lunchtime saw another interview, 10 minutes (I was told) on the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2. It became nearly half an hour, as the volume of texts, emails, and phone calls caused the editors to keep the item going. Only the 1 o’clock news stopped it.
And then BBC News Online, wanting a comment about the new abbreviation Ebacc (for English baccalaureate). I do deal with the spelling of abbreviations in the book, though this one is too new to get a mention. The reporter wanted to know what I thought about the reaction that the abbreviation sounds like a disease. I’m not surprised. New abbreviations inevitably echo their ancestors. For ‘e’, there are three chief echoes: e-coli, e-mail, and e-numbers. The first is fairly negative; the second fairly positive; and the third (for Europe) mixed. But as bac is already an abbreviation for bacillus, that’s the one most likely to come to mind. The association won’t last for long. Familiarity with abbreviations soon breeds content, and in a few months time, I predict, the medical associations will have been forgotten.
But, back to Spell it Out, which during the day crept up the Amazon charts. By the evening it was Number 4 in the best-selling list, ahead of Fifty Shades of Grey and its friends, and just behind Gordon Ramsay. Maybe I should have called the book Fifty Shades of Grey, or is it Gray?: the Singular Story of English Spelling.
Spelling competing with cooking and sex. I say again, whoever would have thought it?