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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On the spellings of “DACHSHUND”

by John Jeanneney

I was never a very orthodox speller myself, but the creative talent I’ve encountered in e-mail and over the phone astounds me. The various spellings of “dachshund” reveal so much about the deeper yearnings of the human heart.

I talked to a guy over the phone about his desire for a DASHOUND. He was into racing, dogs not cars. He feared that greyhound racing would be outlawed in his state, and he had heard about dashound racing. He wanted to hedge his bets.

An e-mail correspondent was a bit confused. He wasn’t sure whether he wanted a dog or a car. But he did know that it had to be a DATSUN.

I talked with an old New England logger, who had used oxen all his life to snake logs out of the woods. Now he was retiring and he wanted a DOXEN for companionship because his wife was so boring.

A hardworking man told me his pension plan had been wiped out in the great financial crash of 2008. Since no one could spare him a thousand he would settle for a DAUSAND.

Of course there were also some people with nothing much on their mind at all. They used all sorts of silly, meaningless spellings such as: DOXSUND, DASHUND and DACHSHUN.

After this spelling review, I fear that some of us will never be able to spell the breed name of this important breed in the “orthodox” manner. Here is a memory aid. DACHS is German for badger, one of the animals that dachshunds were and are used to hunt underground in their dens. HUND is simply the German word for dog. DACHSHUND = BADGER DOG. Got it?

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