I've just discovered this thread, and read every post gleefully. A friend and I have a running rant going on, decrying the state of English usage today. I too am annoyed by the misuse and misspelling of common words, but I try to refrain from being too critical of the transgressor. We are not all equal in our capacity to learn subtle (and not so subtle) differences, or in the capacity to give a darn about it! If proper usage is not learned, it is largely the fault of the public education system, which, in my opinion, needs a complete overhaul. My favorite peeves include the common confusion of there, they're and their, its and it's, our and are, your and you're, and so on, but also gross mispronunciations such as nucular, irregardless, ekcetera, and structures such as y'know like (used after every fourth or fifth word), "the thing is, is . . . " and I could go on for hours! I'm a certified English teacher, and I have a degree in Speech and Drama, and I read a lot, so I guess I'm well trained to spot such gaffes. People in general grow up to speak like the people who taught them to speak. I grew up in Texas, which almost has its own language! When I am visiting family, it doesn't take long for me to start sounding just like my sisters, who are all college-educated, but never had any inclination to alter their dialect. To an outsider (a yankee perhaps) we probably sound like a bunch of dumb hicks. The media has unfortunately done a good job of portraying southerners as dumb, so there is an artificial stereotype. Sorry to have gotten a little off-topic. I personally love to read English written in dialect, which requires of the author some creativity and license in the spelling of words to make them "sound" like the dialect being spoken by the character. Terry is masterful at this art. I especially love to read aloud the speech of the Nac Mac Feegles! But his greater gift is seen in his prose, particularly when he arrives at the revelation of the over-arching point of the book; his writing is positively lyrical.
"Ah may not of goan whur ah intinded t'go, but ah thank ah've inded up whur ah neyded t'bey."
(Which is my usual signature transliterated into Texan. However it's not complete without the speaker thumbing his cowboy hat back on his head!)
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.