Okay guys, just one more Berenstein/Berenstain video and, while I can’t promise I won’t report further on The Mandela Effect, I will at least stop talking about these bears if for no other reason than to save Aaron from the headaches the word itself now seems to cause at the mere mention of them.
Out of curiosity, I decided to go through just one newspaper database to find out how many times Berenstein (with an “e”) Bears were mentioned between the years of 1960 and 2015.
What’s interesting is not even the sheer number of mentions (over a hundred from different authors all across the U.S.), but the fact that after the year 2000, “Berenstein” dropped off significantly for “Berenstain”. I find it hard to believe that everyone just got together at the turn of the century and finally figured out in a group all at once that Berenstein is actually spelled Berenstain and we’ve all just been collectively spelling it wrong for over fifty years.
The reason this is such a big deal to those of us born in the 1970s/80s is that the bears peaked in popularity during that time, and most of us weren’t just being read to but we were learning to read on these books. That means we paid attention to each individual letter of the name. Children are not born with preconceived notions and preferences for spellings that aren’t corrected in the learning process. We learn each part: the word, each letter of the word, and the pronunciation of the word as we go along. There are plenty of words in the English language which are pronounced differently from how they are spelled, so this cannot simply be a preference for how something should sound working its way backwards into the spelling. We are learning from scratch and by reading the same thing over and over and over. If the name of these bears had an “a” in it, millions of us would’ve seen it and corrected our mistake at some point during childhood. Our brains wouldn’t collectively hiccup on that one tiny detail over all others in all other words in the English language and no others, then follow all of us all the way into adulthood.
Because that’s the other issue: no one remembers correcting themselves on this at any point as a kid. All of us who remember “Berenstein” only remember suddenly finding out it was “Berenstain” in recent years… as adults. I mean, if this was all simply a case of phonetics, and all of us were wondering around still spelling words the way they sounded based only on how we told ourselves a word should sound (which I think is a stretch but its one theory), then we’d all be terrible spellers as adults if the Berenstein exception was the rule. So WHY is it an exception???
The more I try to wrap my head around this one little detail, the weirder it is.
My first video on this (my immediate reaction to finding out it is now “Berenstain”) can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T6s7…
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