Daily Archives: October 2, 2008


This word may well be your type. Although it sounds off-key, it also resonates with Canadian classical music lovers as a homophone for Kuerti, one of the country’s most noted pianists. But this word attaches to a different keyboard. Its very existence is a simple accident of an arrangement of keys producing a sayable word – even if one deviant from the usual English spelling rules. It is surely also luck that saying it produces two tyepwriter-like taps, with a whir in between (perhaps the sound of a Selectric or the daisy wheel on a 1980s Olivetti). It has a quirky look by dint of its opening q, and binds the lips and brain ever tighter with a double u rather than a single one. It has faint resonances of twenty and thirty and forty, and rather stronger ones of query – and the suitably inclined mind may hear some of flirty and see some of erotic. The most common neighbouring word is keyboard; after that, it’s probably uiop and asdfghjkl, neither of which is a word per se and the latter of which would tie the tongue of even a Czech or a Georgian. But why QWERTY? In fact, the layout was developed by trial and error to slow down typists so the keys wouldn’t jam. But even after the keys didn’t stick, the layout did. It may also be no coincidence that one may type TYEPWRITER using only the top row of keys.