Paul Rolly: Blogger fired from language school over ‘homophonia’


Salt Lake Tribune:

**Paul Rolly: Blogger fired from language school over ‘homophonia’ **

Homophones, as any English grammarian can tell you, are words that sound the same but have different meanings and often different spellings — such as be and bee, through and threw, which and witch, their and there.
This concept is taught early on to foreign students learning English because it can be confusing to someone whose native language does not have that feature.

But when the social-media specialist for a private Provo-based English language learning center wrote a blog explaining homophones, he was let go for creating the perception that the school promoted a gay agenda.
Tim Torkildson says after he wrote the blog on the website of his employer, Nomen Global Language Center, his boss and Nomen owner Clarke Woodger, called him into his office and told him he was fired.

As Torkildson tells it, Woodger said he could not trust him and that the blog about homophones was the last straw.
"Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality," Woodger complained, according to Torkildson, who posted the exchange on his Facebook page.
Torkildson says he was careful to write a straightforward explanation of homophones. He knew the “homo” part of the word could be politically charged, but he thought the explanation of that quirky part of the English language would be educational.

Yes, I am sure there are some who will go into fits of Beavis & Butthead sniggering when they see a word like “homophone” but really, firing the guy?
I suspect/hope this is just an excuse and Mr Woodger has been looking to fire Torkildson for awhile.


I would dearly love to see that blog post, but I’m sure that it was removed as it’s the school’s intellectual property. Did Torkildson use inappropriate humor, or stick to the basics?

If Torkildson’s blog entry was on the up-and-up, Woodger certainly acted in a niggardly manner.


:thumbsup::D:shrug: How ignorant has this nation become? Woodger is a fool.


I teach chemistry and always when I explain the concept of homogeneous mixtures, tell my students that I know what jumps to their mind when they hear this phrase is “homozygous” ( a biology term from their previous course). Of course they laugh because you and I know that they hear the prefix “homo” and immediately think homosexual. The good news for them is that’s the point. Homo means the same - same throughout (homogeneous), same two genes (homozygous), same sex (homosexual) and of course, same pronunciation (homophones!). Have we reached a point where these words can’t even be used in our conversation?



A few years Ago there was a huge uproar when a DC councilman complained a budget item was niggardly. Even after it was explained that the word has nothing to do with the dreaded"N" weird his critics didn’t let up because the use of a word that sounded like the “N” word was racist.


We should note the PC can run both ways.A few years back a Midwestern newspaper forbade the use off the word"Gay" to describe homosexuals .This led to the infamous headline"Smithsonian opens Enola Homosexual exhibit"


Aaah, yes! I was here when David Howard did that. From the wiki link I posted:

Julian Bond, then chairman of the NAACP, deplored the offense that had been taken at Howard’s use of the word. “You hate to think you have to censor your language to meet other people’s lack of understanding”, he said. “David Howard should not have quit. Mayor Williams should bring him back—and order dictionaries issued to all staff who need them.”

Howard tendered his resignation, yet later accepted a different position in the DC Gov’t that was a “conscience payment.”


I really hope that Torkildson was let go for inappropriate humor in his post, not for using the word “homophone.” Srsly.


Darn! How niggardly of you to beat me to the punch! :smiley:


Homogenized milk will be next! :stuck_out_tongue:


What’s an “Enola?” :smiley:


…and homonyms, and homosapiens, and…


I can’t remember if it was written in the NYTimes or WaPo, but one of them once reported that a business was operating in the African-American. :smiley:


During the Olympics NBC reported on An athlete they referred too as an African-African


I read an op-ed or letter to the editor, where a fellow was fired for advocating that his firm take a “pedagogical approach” in the coming year. His supervisor reported him and he was fired for being a pervert.

When he advised the top boss what the word actually meant, he was re-hired, but told that in future correspondence to only use words of the type that might be found in the local newspaper. :rolleyes:

The writer finally stated that when he eventually resigned, his letter of resignation was assembled from words physically cut from the newspaper and glued onto the letter. :smiley:

In the immortal words of philosopher William R. Engvall, Jr.: “Here’s your sign.”


I recall watching an American news show reporting on riots in France.

They reported African-Americans were rioting. I have a feeling it was about soccer, which made it even more unusual. Americans generally not caring about soccer.


See, here’s where we need a “like” button. :smiley:


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