Saturday, June 29, 2019

You Say Delany, and I'll Say Delaney

Just a quick one today.  Samuel R. Delany explained on Facebook how he chose his nickname, "Chip," and then ruminated on the difficulty many people have spelling his surname correctly.
I don’t hold anybody personally responsible. I’m dyslexic; I can misspell anything, though it’s probably a reason I don’t volunteer for that particular job. On more than one occasion, I have said: "I will know that I am really famous when everyone spells my name correctly."
The usual misspelling is "Delaney," and I've seen it not only in casual writing, but in newspapers and other outlets that should have copy-editors and proofreaders.  Even academic publications about his work have made the mistake, and that is something for which somebody should be held personally and professionally responsible.

I'm amused by the speculation that fame has something to do with it.  J. R. R. Tolkien is pretty damn famous, yet his surname is frequently misspelled as "Tolkein," even by fans, though I admit I haven't often seen it that way in print.