A clear-cut case of homophonia in Utah
Devout Utah Mormon Tim Torkildson, above, gets fired for supposedly associating the Nomen Global Language Center with homosexuality.
Torkildson, according to the Wonkette blog, is “politically conservative, a devout Mormon”, who got himself sacked for writing a blog explaining homophones: words that sound the same but have different meanings and often different spellings — such as “be” and “bee”, “through” and “threw”, and “which” and “witch”.
This was too much for the head of Utah’s largest private English as a Second Language school that caters mostly to foreign students seeking admission to US colleges and universities. Clarke Woodger didn’t know what the word meant.
According to Torkildson, an angry Woodger said:
I had to look up the word because I didn’t know what the hell you were talking about. We don’t teach this kind of advanced stuff to our students, and it’s extremely inappropriate. Can you have your desk cleaned out by eleven this morning? I’ll have your check ready.
Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality. People at this level of English may see the ‘homo’ side and think it has something to do with gay sex.
Good. You’ve done a good job on most things, but you’re just not reliable enough. I never have any idea what you’re going to do next. I can’t run my business that way. You’d probably make a great college professor, but since you don’t have a degree you’ll never get that kind of work. I would advise you to try something clerical, where you’ll be closely supervised and have immediate goals at all times. That’s the only kind of job you’ll ever succeed at. I’ll be happy to give you a good reference. Good-bye, and good luck.