Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Even the City of Berkeley Can't Spell Berkeley

I've noted before that many people find Berkeley hard to spell: They typically underestimate the number of E's.

I even contemplated a blog devoted to misspellings of Berkeley (something akin to the "Blog" of Unnecessary "Quotation Marks"). But my wife pointed out that it would be even more boring than this blog, and that's saying something.

Still, it's worth noting that Berkeley is frequently misspelled in a surprising place: the website of the city of Berkeley.

There are 331 pages and documents on the site that spell it "Berkley" and another 61 that spell it "Berkely," according to the site's internal search engine (powered by Google). There's also one "Berkelee" (along with seven references to the correctly spelled Berklee College of Music in Boston). It's cold comfort, I suppose, that it never appears as "Berkly."

The city is at least an equal-opportunity offender. In 2008, the intersection of Berkeley and California streets had the city spelled correctly and the state spelled wrong: ("Califorina"). It was fixed, as you can see below.

Photo: Jonathan Curiel / San Francisco Chronicle

Even the pages maintained by our esteemed councilmembers aren't immune to misspellings. The representative for my district in South Berkeley, Maxwell Anderson, promises to "post important and useful information pertinate to our constituents." I don't know what "pertinate" information is, but it sounds kind of dirty.

I realize we're living in a time of budget cuts and stressed-out civil servants, but can we can at least get "Berkeley" right?

After all, E's are free.