We’ve all been there. You’re browsing a friend’s Facebook, reading a comments section, perhaps you’re peer-reviewing another student’s work, and you see it.

The Alot.

It’s something we here at Speedy Transcripts are very careful to avoid, but sometimes it can feel like there’s very little hope of it ever losing popularity. There’s a lot of alot out there. Luckily, the wonderful Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half has provided an alternative to rage or resignation, and turned the Alot into a mythical being which looks like “a cross between a bear, a yak and a pug”.

By this method, as she explains, you can see the Alot take on many forms as you read. An Alot of Fire, wreathed in flames, or an Alot of Transcription – somehow able to type quickly and accurately, despite its mighty claws?

However, as wondrous and versatile as it is, the Alot is not actually the first creature to gain its name this way.

Consider the newt. The newt began its life in the English language as “an ewt”, before time and misinterpretation bumped the N over onto the ewt, making “a newt”. The opposite fate befell the nadder, or the adder as it is now known.

The phenomenon is known as rebracketing, and historical evidence suggests it’s here to stay. In 100 years, will it be a strange experience to stumble across old texts that still use the archaic ‘lot’? Will it have gone further, and will ‘lotsof’ be on the rise?

Whatever the future may hold, our transcriptionists will keep on keeping the Alot at bay.

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