Saturday, 31 October 2015

Jeremy C...Hunt

This clip was recorded from Sky News at 11.35pm on 30th October 2015 at the start of the newspaper review section.

The newscaster is not the first person who has made this slip trying to say the name "Jeremy Hunt"

Apologies for the poor sound quality, but the clip was recorded on a mobile phone.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Sloppy Journalism

A recent article in the Daily Telegraph on the subject of online banking payments included the following sentence:
For this to be true, an individual would have to make more than 1,643,835 transactions per day; equivalent to more than 68,493 per hour, 1,141 per minute or 19 per second.

Canny Linguist thinks this is highly improbable.

In the old days, newspapers would employ competent sub-editors to correct such nonsense before publication.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Bigots begone!

Conservative Education Secretary Nicky Morgan recently declared a “war on illiteracy.” As if to demonstrate the need, the BBC today published a Press Association photograph of a placard being held by anti-UKIP protesters in Rotherham, the town in Yorkshire where, for years, the loony left has ignored the serial sexual abuse of young girls.

If you are going to accuse someone of bigotry, at least learn how to spell the word.

The purpose of the demonstration was to prevent Nigel Farage from making a public appearance. It is somewhat ironic that those who claim UKIP to be an intolerant political party are themselves intolerant of the right to free speech by anyone who dares to disagree with them; but that’s Socialism for you.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

A sign of the times

The headline in today’s Sunday Times reads “All children must learn times tables”. According to the article:

Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, today unveils a “war on illiteracy and innumeracy”, warning that a future Tory government will remove head teachers who fail to ensure every pupil knows their times tables off by heart.

The Prime Minster joined in the act by Tweeting:

If there is to be a war on illiteracy, then perhaps those who should know better could start the campaign by referring to ‘multiplication tables’ and not ‘times tables’. You do not, as many people sadly believe, times one number by another. You multiply.

How many multiplications must people be told to speak proper?

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

For crimes against punctuation

Canny Linguist does not condone violence, but it is perhaps understandable why political commentator Iain Dale decided to attack an anti nuclear demonstrator at the Labour Party conference in Brighton.

It wasn’t, as widely reported, that Mr Dale was unhappy with the protestor’s attempt to disrupt a TV interview with Damien McLie. Rather, it was the misuse of the apostrophe on the dog’s placard which incurred his wrath. 

Monday, 9 September 2013

The existence of God proven?

The Barnet Eye has published a blog entitled Blasphemy Special – the right to free speech. It links to a Tweet published by renowned atheist Richard Dawkins.

This, in turn, links to an article on the Bangladeshi Daily Star website which reports that four bloggers are facing long jail sentences in Dhaka for making allegedly blasphemous remarks. The article includes the following sentence, referring to one of the defendants:

“Asif was arrested on April 3 at an Uttara hospital where he had been undergoing treatment for fatal stab injuries he had sustained in an attack on January 14.”

The fact that this man appears to have recovered from fatal injuries surely proves that the believers are right and Dawkins is wrong?

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Sunday Lunch

Seen outside a hotel in Bournemouth recently. Click photo to enlarge.

When else would you expect to have Sunday lunch served, if not on Sundays?

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Government Minister seeks to change the English Language

According to a report in The Grauniad, the Department for Transport has issued a five page document offering grammatical advice for civil servants and MPs. Given that many of them are barely literate, this is long overdue. However, the quality of the advice proffered is open to question. For example, the guide states that the word ‘firstly’ should not appear anywhere other than the start of a sentence. The word ‘firstly’ should not appear at all! Rather, the word ‘first’ should be used.

The newspaper article claims that Canny Linguist's MP, Theresa Villiers, the Minister for Transport, has forbidden the use of the words ‘whilst’ and ‘with regards to’ within her department. CL has written to Ms Villiers seeking confirmation of the report.

Whilst MPs are, of course, entitled to their views on language usage, CL was not aware that Orwell's prophecy with regards to ‘newspeak’ formed part of the Coalition agreement. This situation is reminiscent of the attempt by former Prime Minister, Tony B Liar, to have Latin words such as ‘writ’ and ‘habeas corpus’ removed from our vocabulary.

English is a rich and diverse language, constantly changing, with some words falling out of favour through natural evolution. However, when politicians start dictating which words can and cannot be used, it is a clear sign that democratic civilisation has formally ended.

Monday, 12 December 2011

The secret ingredient?

Hot on the heels of Cock Soup, now comes a range of products made with…er Aborigines. Unless the manufacturer has developed a food range suitable for cannibals, perhaps they should fire their advertising proof reader? Once again, a salutary reminder for writers not to rely on spill chuckers.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Harry Potter and the Universal Translator

Canny Linguist has just taken delivery of the complete 8 film DVD box set chronicling the adventures of Mr Harold Potter and his chums. A £20 bargain from Amazon (less 5% student discount). The Met Office has predicted a mild winter which means, of course, that we need to batten down the hatches and stock up on movies to while away those winter evenings.

Due to the preponderance of the incidental music, and the tendency of modern film stars to mumble their lines, CL often watches DVDs with the subtitles turned on. He was interested, therefore, to note the language choices available to him:

English, Arabic, Greek, Icelandic, German, Hebrew, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Romanian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Russian.

Most of the DVDs are also dubbed into other languages which means you can, for example, watch the film in Russian and follow with English subtitles. What a brilliant way to learn a new language!