Why do foreigners make their languages so hard?

03 April 2010 0
On April 1st, the National Centre for Languages announced “high level negotiations with foreign governments” to get them to simplify their languages for Brits. The French are looking at merging ‘le’ and ‘la’, and a representative of the Goethe Institut reveals details of “an ambitious five-year plan to remove case endings from German nouns”. Have ...

Why PR is rubbish

16 March 2010 0
Some PR is good. I rely on good relationships with PR people to get a lot of work done. So the title above is a bit mischievous. It’s just that so, so often, PR is so, so shit, and I’ve had several bad experiences just in the last 24 hours, which have made me feel ...

In defence of the beeb

08 March 2010 0
I am a defender of the BBC. My main argument in favour of it is that it is awesome. Especially in the case of online news, the argument that the beeb should get out of the way in order to make life easier for commercial rivals is, IMHO, complete arse. It’s the same sort of ...

Is the web killing tabloidese?

07 March 2010 0
Carol Midgley writes in The Times that the internet is killing the art of tabloid speak. Because the web doesn’t have the same constraints of space that print publications do, she argues, there is no need for all the mad little euphemisms and turns of phrase (tot, romp, dub etc) that sub editors have invented ...

When Twitter-speak meets journalese

05 March 2010 0
This BBC story shows what happens when journalistic convention meets 21st-century Twitter-speak. The writer makes a brave attempt to incorporate some tweets from Sean Lennon, son of John, about the usage of some footage of his dad in a car advert. Here’s the text of Sean’s original tweets: @bluediscuk She did not do it for money. Has ...

Happy R-Word Day!

03 March 2010 0
A Washington Post article brought it to my attention that today is ‘End the R-word Day’ – part of the campaign to “eliminate the derogatory use of the R-word in everyday speech”. The website doesn’t tell you what the ‘R-word’ is, of course, because that would defeat the object. But they do accompany the headline with a ...

Why the Tintin movie might actually be good

02 March 2010 0
It’s tough being a fan of Doctor Who, because whenever you sit down to watch it with someone, it turns out to be shit. The shit episodes chuck in everything but the kitchen sink, with all sorts of whizzes and bangs and over-the-top special effects, and try to evoke fear by having someone in a ...

Iran not co-opera– aaaaargh!

01 March 2010 0
Reading this headline from the BBC website, I can’t help but imagine the writer getting half way through then being dragged away screaming by a mad Iranian scientist. “IAEI!!” If I’m not mistaken, “iaea” or something very like it is the noise that dogs make in French comic books when they have got their noses ...

Words matter

15 February 2010 0
Words matter. If you were in doubt, here‘s the proof. According to a CBS/New York Times poll, 70% of Americans support ‘gay men and lesbians’ serving in the military. But when it comes to ‘homosexuals’, it’s a different matter – only 59% are in favour of them serving. Kate Harding at Salon.com says the poll ...