blueprint media

Month: January, 2013

Warning for Wordsmiths

Carol Midgley in The Times of 3 January 2013 welcomes the arrival of the Lake Superior State University’s annual list of words to be banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.

Amongst the scholars’ choices are: “fiscal cliff”; “bucket list” and “spoiler alert”. All fair enough, but then come Carol’s, which are a bit more entertaining.

She includes: politician-speak nonsense like “the right thing to do” ,”the squeezed middle”, “strivers” and, “big ask” – all assuredly vomit-inducing to any right-thinking scribbler.

She then goes on to line-up her sights on, “parent”, when used as a verb, “smokin’” of an admired figure and, too much this one really, “that’s how I roll”, God help us all.

“Too much information”, “viral”, “just saying”, “innocent face”, “epic”,” it is what it is” – remarkably enough a Blueprint Media hardy annual, “ for real” – see Jolly Boy John from Burnistoun, “MILF” , “tits-up” and surely the most deeply-embedded and cringe-making, not least since it’s been around for decades now, “going forward”, all get it smack on the nose.


Hope for the future of printed newspapers

Hiring more investigative reporters, improving the quality of paper, an increase of regional community stories, daily colour comics and re-introducing business, car and food pages are the main reasons the Orange County Register has increased circulation by 5.3% against an industry backdrop of 0.2% decline.

It is a refreshing story in the world of print media as it continues to struggle against free content elsewhere on the web (see Huffington Post article dated 1/1/13 here). The new owner of the title, Aaron Kushner, has invested in the business rather than cut costs – an all too familiar sight in newspapers.

English as She is Spoke, by Mum

Foreign languages may be a bit of a struggle – and, say some, why bother? We don’t agree, but has any of us considered lately the difficulties of English for the non-native speaker? James Campbell pointed up some issues of pronunciation in a recent Times Literary Supplement piece (16 November 2012).

Sample dialogue: “The tough demanded the dough; she coughed up as she ought to have done; I was quite right, she wrote to the wheelwright, it was a rite of passage but he looked thoroughly rough; her daughter’s laughter sounded fraught. As she liked to read, books were read; she was born in Leicester and attended Magdalen, but preferred life in Kirkudbright or Milngavie. Her niece was brought to Borough Market by Mr Brougham.

“As to “hurricanes hardly ever happen here”, it is no use issuing a horatory: “in English the aspirate h is pronounced” because within an hour, honestly, your honour will be hors de combat. If you refer to an historic hotel, why not an hotel with an history?

“If you discuss the ants in your pants with your aunts at a dance using the same a all through, you are probably Scottish or Irish, in which case you are spared the class, not closs – anxiety.

“The hoi polloi – hoi is the the; “the La Scala” – a much loved Sauchiehall Street cinema and referred to thus by Glaswegians of an older vintage comes to mind; “learned/learnt; burned/burnt; hanged/hung” – how tricky it would all be lest we’d learnt our Mother tongue at our Mother’s knee.

Choose the Right Word: An easy-to-use guide to better English (How to Books – £9.99).