In part II, chapter 4 of Foundation by Isaac Asimov, we meet the character of Lord Dorwin. Lord Dorwin has a speech impediment (later implied to be voluntary): he says "w" instead of "r" (much like Pontius Pilate in Life of Brian).

However, at least in my copy of the book, one of the first lines that we hear coming out of his mouth is

A gweat achievement, this Encyclopedia of yoahs, Hahdin. A feat, indeed, to rank with the most majestic accomplishments of all time.

He says "rank" instead of "wank" here. Why? At what level did Dorwin's speech impediment disappear for that one word? Is it Dorwin who doesn't want to say it? Is it the narrator? The author? The publisher? Or just a typo? Is there any way to know?

  • 3
    Suffice it to say, the fact that he says "rank" rather than "wank" made me pay a lot more attention to that one word than I otherwise would have.
    – Arthur
    Sep 17, 2021 at 19:49
  • ha, hadn't noticed that he didn't say wank. It's the same way in my Kindle version
    – NKCampbell
    Sep 17, 2021 at 20:14
  • 3
    Initial "r" is not realized the same way as final "r" or intermediate "r." Does he replace initial "r" with "w" in any context?
    – Adamant
    Sep 17, 2021 at 20:16
  • 1
    @Adamant A few lines down (on the same page in my copy) he says "The lack of the most elementawy wequiahments of a cultuahed gentleman". And then a little further down "Weally, I'm othahwise concuhned."
    – Arthur
    Sep 17, 2021 at 20:20
  • 2
    Because publishing profanities might not be a good idea? I wonder if it's different between different editions, what version are you looking at? edit: it was ''Rank" in 'Astounding Science Fiction' 'Volume 28, Issue 6 1942" I think that was the first time it was published. Not leaving us much scope for interesting answers.
    – JeffUK
    Sep 17, 2021 at 22:00


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.