SpecGram Vol CLVII, No 2 Contents Letters to the Editor

An Apology to Mathematicians

A Letter from Apologetical Editor Yahya Abdal-Aziz

It has been brought to our attention that the Lettres to the Editour in the special “Canada Day” edition of SpecGram, Vol CLI, No 3, is an imperfect translation of the ‘Letters to the Editor’ to be found (cunningly!) on the same page (ibid.).

In particular, the good English word ‘mathematics’ was rendered into Canadian as ‘maths’. To impute such an ignorance of correct forms to our Canadian cousins was completely unintentional; however, it was still remiss of us to allow such an inference to be drawn. We can only plead, in mitigation, that we have had an inordinate number (if such numbers, indeed, exist) of junior and associate editors in training, but that among such a superordinate number of subordinates, not a single sub-editor worthy of the name had yet been trained at the time of publication.

Clearly, as everyone knows, the English word ‘mathematics’ is known and used the whole English-speaking world over; and however it may be pronounced, all are agreed on its spelling.

The error lay in a trainee associate editor’s supposing that the word ‘maths’ was Canadian for ‘mathematics’; whereas, in fact, the word ‘maths’ is good British English for the good American English word ‘math’. As such, it may be found equally in the Antipodes, and in the various Englishes of the Far Eastern lands of the former British Empire. That American English, alone among all Englishes, should choose to abbreviate an obviously plural form so idiosyncratically by a singular, may be thought singular; but who are we to quibble with the whims of a mighty nation?

So let the matter here rest, with our sincere apology to all those Canadians who may have felt their language skills were being in any way derided; and to those who may have felt slighted that such a slight (slight though it were!) could be delivered so inadvertently, let us assure you, once and for all, that if SpecGram should see fit to animadvert upon anyone’s skill, it would never do so inadvertently.

We hope you’re happy now.

Letters to the Editor
SpecGram Vol CLVII, No 2 Contents