Where programmemes came from

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We discovered in the Linguistics and English Language department at the University of Edinburgh today that the draft handbook for our honours students was stuffed with occurrences of the nonexistent words programmeme and programmemes. The secretarial staff were baffled. Can you figure out the origin of this strange and unwelcome neologism? (A hint: Dawkins's invented term meme appears to have no relevance whatsoever.)

I know what my hypothesis is.

American spelling differs in various ways from British spelling, and one of them is that certain words with a French origin are spelled in the French way in British English (theatre, centre) and in a more anglicized way in American (theater, center). One of those words is program in its simplified American form, and programme in the French-originated British spelling. You could correct from the American spelling to the British by adding me to every occurrence of program. Works like a charm. That would fix up a draft that contained some instances of program that had been put in there by some member of the academic staff who was used to writing American English (we do have both Americans and American-educated scholars on the faculty). But suppose there were some other occurrences of the word in there that were already in the British spelling . . .

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