Two Words: Luthier and Learnt

Two Words Luthier and Learnt

I am not a musician, nor is anyone in my family a musician.  When someone passed along the word “Luthier,” I drew a blank.  It is a word I can imagine some definitions for, but none would be correct.  A “Luthier” is a person who builds or repairs stringed instruments.

The most famous luthier in history may very well be Antonio Stradivari, the genius craftsman of his age, and later centuries.  While his violins are of interest to most, he also made cellos, guitars, violas, and harps.  The Stradivari name is mononymous, and clearly denotes the highest quality ever achieved in violin making.

But the art of the luthier did not end in antiquity.  Les Paul (Lester William Polsfuss) was a luthier and inventor of the electric guitar.

What about future luthiers?  Where does reality and tangible instruments give way to virtual reality and virtual instruments?  In the Animusic video titled “Resonate Chamber” many stringed instruments are played in a creative animation that is truly amazing.  Is the programmer who invented the imaginary instrument a luthier?  Time will tell as AI evolves.

Separator Black Fancy

In my opinion “learnt” may be as bad as it gets with slang and being understood with nonexistent words.  I was taught that learnt is a misspelling or mispronunciation of the word learned.  If someone said, “Les Paul learnt me to play the electric guitar.” we would get the meaning of the speaker, but also cringe a bit thinking the speaker was poorly educated.

But never doubt the ability of those who compile modern dictionaries and thesauruses to sneak in a word like learnt .  According to many there are times when learnt is acceptable in American English.  Both learned and learnt are defined as the past tense and past participle of the word learned.  But “I learnt to play the fiddle just like Stradivari.” lacks any sense of correctness in my book.