Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Word Clarification: Catholic-Style

How would Wii have been pronounced and spelled back in 1987?

When I look back on the years I spent in Catholic school, I can see that the students—and to a degree, the teachers, too—were very insulated from the “outside world.” What I mean is, going to a Catholic school was sometimes like being on another planet. Maybe we were a little too sheltered.

For example, rewind back to fourth grade. I remember that we were supposed to be writing a brief paragraph on what we liked to do in our spare time. One of my classmates, Kevin, raised his hand and the following conversation ensued:

“Ms. Paolicchi, how do you spell Nintendo?”

“How do you spell what?”


“Say it for me again.”

“Nintendo. You know? You play games on it.”

“Like Atari?”

“Yeah, but it’s Nintendo.”

“One more time. Ninten—what?”


“Hmmmm. Let’s see.”

She picked up a piece of chalk and carefully wrote it on the board.


Kevin was confused. “But it’s pronounced Nintend-O.”

“That doesn’t sound right. I think it’s supposed to be Nintend-AL.”

Of course, the rest of the boys in class were excited because they all liked Nintendo, too, but none of them knew how to spell it. So, as we read our papers out loud, every single boy who had included it in his own paragraph said, “Nintendal.”

And the girls, including me, just rolled their eyes.

Nintendal? Oh yeah, we were sheltered.

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