Listed below are some possible explanations as to why many millions of people were taught to spell Dilemna with an N.
Perhaps it was a printer error in a school text book?
That would explain why so many spell it with an N and why it might even have spread across the English speaking world, so seems a plausible explanation at first glance.
Firstly, no one can find such a text book, any mention of 'Dilemma' always has the double MM spelling.
Secondly, every pupil during the 60s, 70s, 80s had a dictionary at their desk and so it's hard to imagine that a pupil at some point didn't highlight the text book error.
Thirdly, the teachers using these books were presumably well educated and surely would have spotted the error themselves?
Finally, comments received by us reveal Dilemna spellers from 18yr to 90yr olds. So the text book error would presumably have to have been in print for some considerable length of time.
I've come across several retired teachers who are long term Dilemna spellers. They have looked through old spelling and other text books they've kept, fully expecting to discover the answer to the enigma. But they've all been staggered to discover that every teaching book has the MM spelling. Like many others they are adamant that they had never ever encountered the MM spelling until relatively recently.
The Academical Explanation:
Philologists (language experts) have suggested that the Dilemna misspelling is an error that stretches back hundreds of years for the simple reason that our brains gloss over the error. At a quick glance the different spellings are easy to miss - 'mm' or 'mn' look very similar in some print.
Again at first thought this seems quite plausible although Dilemna spellers do generally report seeing the 'Dilemma' spelling as looking very wrong indeed.
However, more importantly, the N spelling was apparently taught to children without anyone spotting the error. A quite surprisingly large number report the same distinctive memory of being taught to pronounce it to themselves as DI-LEM-NA to help remember the 'correct' N spelling.
This would seem to infer that teachers themselves may have made the mistake and passed it on to pupils. Again it seems odd that this error wasn't noticed, especially as it seems to have persisted over many generations and countries.
The Dilemna Twilight Zone Explanation:
Alternate universe enthusiast Marden Paul of Toronto put forward a theory several years ago that Dilemna people had all somehow crossed over into this parallel 'Dilemma' spelling universe and that's why they feel discombobulated to discover that not only are they wrong but there's also no trace of an N spelling anywhere in any dictionary in the history of this new universe!
More than likely!
But... before dismissing any outlandish theories about this and other 'Mandela' stuff, it's worth realising that particle physicists have discovered some pretty weird stuff when examining the basic building blocks which make up everything around us. Firstly, every single thing including ourselves is made up of almost entirely empty space, with just tiny points of vibrating energy holding it all together!
Next, there's likely to be at least 10 dimensions, not just the 3 that we experience daily. A fair number of physicists suggest that alternate universes are a distinct possibility, perhaps even existing in the same space as ourselves just slightly out of phase. A bit like another note on the same guitar string.
So, do I think this is the Dilemna explanation?
Well no, not really. I'm sure there is a simpler explanation, however it is worth giving the above just a little bit of thought.
Even if you disagree with the above please take a moment to read about the very strange Dilemna that has baffled every particle physicist for 100 years...
Click here for the wave/particle dilemna >>
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