Oryx-and-Crake (oryx_and_crake) wrote in linguaphiles,

'Stem' as an adjective

Dear linguaphiles,

I have come across a sentence that puzzled me. It describes someone who has grown up in a rich family and led a protected life: "Jocelyn had been insulated in some ways, left stem and innocent." I have never seen 'stem' as an adjective before. It may be a typo and the real word may be 'stern' which makes slightly more sense in the context, but still not a lot. Any ideas?
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  • 10 comments

oryx_and_crake

August 1 2014, 06:52:35 UTC 1 month ago

Interesting. Both editions I have (paper and electronic) have 'stem' in them. That makes some sense, thanks.

oryx_and_crake

August 1 2014, 06:55:33 UTC 1 month ago

P.S. I cannot see the Google book from Canada. Could you check if there is any text or line break omitted in this paragraph:

He stroked her hand. She tried to rub her finger on his pulse, as they used to do. He let go. Half an hour later, she was saying, “Is it all right if I still go to the concert?”

Thanks a lot!

avva

August 1 2014, 07:10:25 UTC 1 month ago

No, nothing omitted.

oryx_and_crake

August 1 2014, 07:11:31 UTC 1 month ago

thank you!!!

shellynoir

August 1 2014, 09:44:38 UTC 1 month ago

"Stern and innocent" yields 7 results on google, most of them European in flavor.

"Stem and innocent" yields none, so this is a typo. "Stem and innocent" is a turn of phrase too distracting and strange to be real. I wonder if a scanner were used to convert from paper to digital?

oryx_and_crake

August 1 2014, 13:49:31 UTC 1 month ago

My paper copy also has 'stem', that's the problem.

houseboatonstyx

August 1 2014, 15:50:35 UTC 1 month ago

Bad kerning happens, both digitally and humanly.

come_to_think

August 2 2014, 00:23:31 UTC 1 month ago

In many fonts, particularly the sans serif ones fashionable on the Web, "rn" & "m" are at best microscopically distinguishable.

shellynoir

August 1 2014, 15:09:08 UTC 1 month ago

This is a compilation, a reprinting, which has introduced an error.