Spell Choker

A couple of years ago, a student submitted a poem for publication in our school's literary magazine.  She had written it with misspellings, then allowed Spell Check to automatically choose replacements for her.  The result was one of the most brilliant satires in modern history: "How Spell Choker Ruined My High School Carrier."

My own Spell Check game is decidedly more toned-down, but it does provide endless amusement.  As I work on church bulletins, I enjoy seeing the program flail when faced with Orthodox proper nouns, usually Greek-rooted.  Here are some of my favorites. (Explanations follow for the Byzantine-challenged.)

  1. Theotokos: Textbooks

  2. Kathisma: Atheism (ouch) or Machismo

  3. Hypakoe: Hyperbole

  4. Paraklesis: Paralysis

  5. Kontakion: Contagion

Okay, maybe it's just sacrilegious and not funny at all to imagine the bulletin naming the Contagion for the Feast, or asking someone to chant the Second Machismo in Tone 4.  I did say it was my own game!

  1. Theotokos is the name given to Mary by the fifth-century Council of Ephesus, as a refutation of the heresy that Christ was not fully God while in her womb.

  2. A Kathisma is one of twenty divisions of the Psalter; different Kathisma are read each day of the week.  For instance, on Sunday, we read Kathisma 2 and 3, which constitutes Psalms 9 through 23.  Kathisma sometimes also refer to the hymns that precede the reading of Psalms.

  3. Commonly meaning "obedience," Hypakoe can also be translated as "hearing."  It's a hymn that celebrates some aspect of the Resurrection, corresponding with one of the eight musical tones.

  4. Paraklesis means "intercession" or "supplication." Ironically, the Paraklesis is a service in which we pray for healing, both spiritual and physical.

  5. A Kontakion is a type of hymn written for a specific feast or saint of the church year.  Its etymology is pretty fascinating: in ancient times, the hymns were written on very long scrolls and rolled around sticks for storage.  So Kontakion is a derivation of the word "kontos," meaning "oar."