Scandal Rocks Utahans Utahns In Sister Wives Case

240px-sister_wives_tv_series_logoScandal gripped the Sister Wives case last week with the statement released on this blog. In my statement responding to the decision to appeal the decision striking down the criminalization of cohabitation, I included the following line: “these are not Utahan rights but American rights.” I consciously used “Utahan” rather than “Utahn” as preferred by many in the state. This results in a couple news sites running the quote with a correction for a misspelling: Turley wrote. “Nevertheless, these are not Utahan (sic) rights but American rights. It will be an honor to defend this decision, and the rights of the Brown family, in Denver.” I stand by my decision in the use of Utahan as correct despite the disagreement from many of my Utahn friends.

Utahan is the spelling often given by the U.S.government while Utahn is treated as a local usage. I just do not see how one can place a consonant “n” after the consonant “h”. Nevertheless, I do not view Utahn as ungrammatical but a “local usage” as does Webster’s dictionary. Indeed, in a case that embraced pluralism and tolerance, I view it only fitting to welcome the use of both Utahan or Utahn, but I fail to see the basis for including sic (or sic erat scriptum, “thus was it written”) to indicate a grammatical mistake.

What do you think?

38 thoughts on “Scandal Rocks <del datetime="2013-12-30T02:54:50+00:00">Utahans</del> Utahns In Sister Wives Case”

  1. Dale,

    I think you’re on the right track.

    If they are from Utah they are called Utes after the Native American Indians of the area.

    And if they are illegal immigrants like the Morons they’re called Mutes. lol

  2. I support the use of sic to help people know how to spell, but in this case, I consulted two dictionaries and there was no listing for Utahn but there was for Utahan. Even typing now, my spellchecker in Google Chrome flags Utahn as misspelled but not Utahan. My spellchecker even suggests for me to change Utahn to Utahan. If a local paper uses “sic” to emphasize that this was how you spelled it in the original quote, fine, but if they are criticizing your spelling, I would tell them to consult the dictionary. Your spelling is correct.

  3. And I always thought people hailing from Utah were called either Utes or Piutes! My dad graduated from the University of Utah and he and his fellow graduates are called Utes. I’m a Cougar!

  4. Those from Baastun Town (and probably all of Mass. too) put an “er” at the end of a lot of worlds (e.g. “Obamer” for Obama) amidst a plethora of other right regular irregularities of American English.

    England and America are two countries separated by a common language.” -George Bernard Shaw

    What JT points out in this post is that America and Amurca are also two countries separated by a common language: American English.

  5. I wonder what the publications in question would do with British spellings in quotes from the English.

  6. There are a few times where pointing out typographical or other errors are necessary.

    In general to me it harks of arrogance or trying to demean the author. A quotation should be respected as such. If it is necessary to correct minor typos they can be corrected out of respect.

  7. Now that my fingers seem to get silly on occasion, I tend to prefer creative spelling. It adds a bit of zip to otherwise dreary writing. I’d probably go with “folks (or whatever) from Utah” and avoid the question.

  8. I think the professor nailed it but I am partial to the idea ‘when in Rome or Utah…’ Presumably the natives are the leading experts on their name, how to spell it and how to say it.

  9. i’ve never understood why putting ar in front of kansas changes the pronunciation of kansas.

    Utahan is what my spellcheck comes up with.

  10. OS,

    I’ll have to say I’ve never heard “Arkansawyer”. Just “Arkansan” and the slang “Arkie”.

  11. I think English is a peculiar and flexible language, especially in “isolation”.

    For example, “giving someone their oats” and “oatmeal” were originally mid-18th Century rural English slang terms for beating the Hell out of someone. “Next time I catch that parson rubbing against my wife, I’ll give him some oatmeal.” It wasn’t going to be a good breakfast for the vicar. What we think of as oatmeal was called porridge at the time (also spelled porage, porrige, or parritch).

  12. People from Arkansas have a similar problem. Is it Arkansawyer, or Arkansan? Throw out that question and you can get a lively debate going at any barbershop in the state on a Saturday afternoon.

  13. I meant “Utahan”, I’m up past bedtime. I’ve been truing to reach a crack whore witness on her cell phone and these are her hours.

  14. I read several books on Butch Cassidy and Utahn was sometimes used. As long as you don’t do a Joe Pesci, “Youtes” when referring to the children, ala My Cousin Vinny, you should be ok.

Comments are closed.