Sunday, 26 March 2006

The horse that champed no more

I looked on the Web for the text of the poem The Listeners, published by Walter de la Mare in 1912. Walter de la Mare was an Englishman who lived and died in England; his poem was written in good English. However, curiously, there are various versions of it on the Web evidently typed in by Americans who have seen fit to correct his spelling: ‘Traveller’ becomes ‘Traveler’ and ‘champed’ becomes ‘chomped’. The verb ‘to champ’ is a perfectly good English word that has been in use since the 16th century; but too many people have their own concept of the English language and won't use a dictionary to check.

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