13 December, 2011


Well, parse me!

Richard got a bit more than he bargained for the other day when he ventured a passing observation about bad spelling and we pedants gathered like expectant vultures surrounding a dying elephant.

Mind you it's a tricky business, yer grammar. Orthography is a morceau de gâteau compared with your syntax. It's all around us, pressing in, demanding constant vigilance and alertitude. This paragraph in the ever wonderful News Shopper had me flummoxed for a while.

Sikh TV owner? Eh? Was that the unfortunate victim's most salient characteristic? That he was a Sikh who owned a TV set? Poor bugger, can't have had much of a life if that was the pinnacle of his life's achievement.

A little further delving reveals that the late Mr Singh was in fact one of the owners of an organization known as "Sikh TV", so

( ( Sikh TV ) owner )

and not

( Sikh ( TV owner ) )

as I had thought.

Good stuff, this English language, innit? I mean, where would yer cryptic crossword setters be without this sort of ambiguity? Up the boozer crying into their double whisky, that's what.

.........and all that's before you get to wondering why the man who beat the unfortunate Mr Singh to death was bothered about whether he (the killer)'d merely managed to break his (Mr Singh's) hand.

BBC Radio news is full of this sort of stuff. Incorrect identification of the object of a clause. Don't they speaka da Eenglish here any more?

I had to Google this case to satisfy my curiosity. The poor young man was burnt alive rather than beaten to death according to the news reports which I read. Is it just my faulty memory,or did murders like this not happen in the idyllic days of my childhood in England?
Orthographically speaking, I am also a correct-spelling compulsive like Edwin, but I find that typing rather than hand writing causes me to commit egregious errors. For example, recently in a comment on this very blog, I typed 'irresistable' instead of 'irresistible'. I noticed the error as soon as I posted, but there's no way to correct comments, so I will have to live with the shame forever.

On the bright side, the increasing, and irritating, use of 'protestor' in place of 'protester' may have been curtailed by Time magazine's correct spelling in large letters on its current cover. There's always hope.

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