The joys of being autocorrected

Actually not. At some point of time, someone who was grammatically dyslexic must have fed into the big computer in the clouds, the information that the apostrophe could be used to function as a plural indicator. It is endlessly annoying when autocorrect corrects my plurals by adding an apostrophe to words that are undebatably plural. I thought it was only our people who had broken grammar rules by insistently using the apostrophe wrongly. Now it seems the rest of the world are catching up as well, especially the world inside Chinese-made android phones. It totally changes the meaning when you have written mothers, and the phone changes it to mother’s. Schools, please teach our students that the apostrophe is to be used to form a possessive noun. Not to pluralise proper nouns and common nouns.

For example, numberless people sign cards as the Smith’s or whatever family name they have. On reading that, I can’t stop asking in my head, the Smith’s what? The Smith’s dog? The Smith’s new cook? Our people write, The Angami’s or The Rengma’s when they mean The Angamis, and The Rengmas. Please can we go back to simply writing, The Smiths, The Angamis, The Rengmas and so on. Don’t leave us in suspense waiting for the word that never comes after the possessive form has been used in place of a plural. Keeping it simple, just remember the apostrophe has two functions. First, to contract words. For example, I have = I’ve. They are = They’re. Second, the apostrophe forms possessive nouns. For example, the dog’s leash, or Charles Dickens’ novels. Never at any point of time did it evolve into forming plurals.

 Anyway, back to autocorrect.

There is an over eagerness about the autocorrect function. It thinks it can correct my Tenyidie. Oversmartness. I was commenting on a spiritual matter to a friend and wrote in Tenyidie, Jisu lavorzie. Before you could say Jiminy Jones, autocorrect corrected it to Jisu Laborzie. I discovered it after I had pressed send. My friend naturally thought I had acquired a tsümar accent nowadays with regards to speaking or writing Tenyidie.  Another time, quite recently, I began to write the following word, ‘unourüse’ which means, with a peaceful heart. Autocorrect changed it to ‘unoumeziese’ meaning, with a sorrowful heart, or something close to that. You can ask autocorrect for the exact translation since it was correcting my Tenyidie! The new phrase totally changed the meaning of the sentence and the context of the message. I know the advice that will come is, you can turn off the function. I know. But it does come in handy for the times when I misspell some words in English. So, it will stay. However, I will be sure to take some vigilance training when typing messages in Tenyidie to ensure autocorrect does not change the meaning of my words. 

While talking about phones, we could also consider etiquette where phone buddies are concerned. I use WhatsApp frequently because it is cheaper and my friends and family are on it as well. At the risk of being labelled anti-social, I have posted the statutory warning, please do not send me videos. I still get sent from friends, several videos that tickle their funny bone. Not funny. I advocate reading the status of people on our lists. Some say, don’t call, WhatsApp only. Fair enough. Others say, please do not send videos. 

The early days of the mobile phone took some adjusting. We had an aunt who used to leave her phone in her refrigerator. Quite by mistake, I can assure you. It would happen when she was getting some article out of the fridge to cook dinner. There are several reports of the unusual places where her Nokia phone has been discovered whenever it went missing. But in the pre-phone days, there was another aunt who was so absent minded, her stories have passed into family legend. One time, she was cooking the morning meal when a woman visitor came and repaid a loan she had taken from aunt. The money was two green five-rupee notes, the old note from the old days, colour green, not orange, not blue. Aunt received the money and thanked her visitor and took it to the bedroom to keep safely in her box. She then returned to her cooking, remembering that she had been about to put green chillies in her pot when she was interrupted by the loanee. The pot was simmering and when she opened it, the steam rose upwards. Aunt took the two green items in her hand and broke them into the steaming pot. Alas, it was the two green five-rupee notes that went into the pot instead of the green chillies. She wondered what were the pieces of green paper floating about in her broth. It made her run back to her room, and she opened the box where she was sure she had kept the money only to find two green chillies neatly laid atop her folded cloths.