Just testing, says DCC over spelling error

One of the Dunedin City Council's new green wheelie bins which has the word cardboard spelt...
One of the Dunedin City Council's new green wheelie bins which has the word cardboard spelt incorrectly. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
So, this is what happens when you open Pandora’s box.

Since highlighting a "Service Vihicles Only" parking sign in yesterday’s Otago Daily Times, dozens of people have come forth to highlight other misspelled words in the public arena.

One of the more embarrassing typos is on the Dunedin City Council’s new green wheelie bins.

Many people called yesterday to say the bins had the word cardboard, spelt "cardborad".

A DCC spokesman said council was pleased to see people had correctly identified the misspelt word added to the city’s new green wheelie bins.

"Think of it as a city-wide spelling bee, which everyone has passed, except us.

"The silver lining is we got all the letters right — just not in the right order — and everyone who checks the spelling will also see the list of what’s not supposed to go in the bins when the new service starts on July 1, 2024.

"So no excuses there."

He said new wheelie bins were still being rolled out across the city, and those yet to be made would have the correct spelling included.

While it is not a good look for Dunedin — which advertises itself as a Unesco designated City of Literature with a high proportion of highly educated residents — University of Otago English professor Jacob Edmond believed modern technology might be to blame.

"English spelling is not easy.

"With auto-correct and all the influences of electronic technologies, people probably spend less time learning to spell because they can generally rely more on those electronic supports.

"English spelling in the past was very variable, and it still is.

"We have British and American English, and increasingly, people in this country are getting confused over what spelling of a word to use.

"We often see that with students because they are using American products to process text.

"I also think it’s just one of those things that happen, and we can all have a bit of a laugh at and not get too worried about it."

Many people could point out the misspelling of English words, but far fewer could pick out mistakes in Maori words, he said.

"There are many, many mistakes in te reo Māori where people have not done their homework. That’s a little disturbing."