Posts Tagged ‘language’

It’s all Greek to me…

November 7, 2008

Apparently, if you want to look good whilst dealing with foreign languages, you should keep your mouth shut. Here’s some of the bad publicity linguistic confusion caused this week.

First, comedian Marc Antoine Audette managed to convince Sarah Palin that she was receiving a bona fide call from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.



After a conversation full of non sequiturs where Palin displayed her fondness for helicopter hunting – because guns just don’t give you enough of an advantage, presumably – and failed to realise that the Prime Minister of Canada is Stephen Harper, not “Stef Carse”, it’s no surprise who won the election. Another negative publicity storm was kicked up when Palin’s alleged belief that dinosaurs and humans wandered around at the same time emerged.



Surely enough to make the talented and irreplaceable Michael Crichton turn in his grave. Meanwhile in Wales, an official email asking for the Welsh translation of a road sign, elicited an out of office reply – that was taken to be the translation! The English warning heavy goods vehicles not to enter was clear enough to lorry drivers – but the Welsh read: “I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated.” A clear sign of the times.

As a linguistic addendum, consider the fact that several local authorities have banned their staff from using Latin phrases because they “confuse people”. Some argue that Latin is elitist and discriminatory, in which case we might just as well ban any words over eight letters. Latin is a de facto part of our language; surely this is a case of reductio ad absurdum?



Grammar Nazi: (Part three of a series)

July 21, 2008

It seems that our healthy obsession with grammar is shared around the globe. Check out this blog about a family of six travelling the world

Apparently bad grammar can kill:  


It can also stop you getting a girlfriend.  It’s amazing what you can find on the internet nowadays…





Grammar Nazi: (Part Two of a series)

July 18, 2008

Sound Advice

Sound Advice


This piece of sound family planning advice apparently came directly from the NHS.


Language is a funny thing, eh? Half the time it says things you didn’t mean to say. The other half it’s used to avoid saying the things you want to say…


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