Google’s developers evidently have a sense of humour, as the search below shows.
Not all humour from techies is quite so obvious to ordinary mortals and is normally deeply buried in comments in code, mark-up and the like.
Tip of the hat: Kevin Mills
The right-wing Telegraph newspaper has enjoyed a long and close relationship with the Conservative Party. So close indeed that it is often referred to as the Torygraph.
This close relationship means that developments within the Tory Party are frequently reported first in the Telegraph.
It is therefore no surprise that the latest developments on the state of the UK’s Brexit negotiations popped into my Twitter feed this morning with the following Telegraph headline and abstract.
Yes, that’s why the negotiations have been so disastrous. They’ve been handled by ducks, or more specifically a Eurasian teal, a male specimen of which is shown below.
How a duck or ducks actually managed to deal with the question of the Irish backstop remains a mystery and is probably why the Tory right wing is so obsessed with it. And quite what a revamped negotiating teal is, one could indulge in conjecture. Was it taken to some backstreet ornithologist and given the plumage of, say, an Arctic skua, together with a bit of beak remodelling?
Please Torygraph, tell me it’s not a typo! 😀
Via Twitter, the following image arrived in my timeline this morning. It’s a below the piece comment, ostensibly from someone called DAZ21, from the mobile version of the Daily Mail website.
As you can see, at the top of the comment DAZ21 would like us all to think he’s from the fair English county town of Northampton.
However, there are a couple of problems with locating dear ole DAZ21 there if one examines the text of the comment closely; and the vowels in particular.
Look first near the bottom of the comment. Is that a letter “a” with diaresis (ä), I see before me?
The letter “a” with diaresis is quite common in German (as in Käse – cheese. Ed.), but not in English.
However, there’s a real clincher in the text that shows DAZ21 is more likely to hail from Novosibirsk than Northampton: and once again it’s a vowel that gives the game away, namely the “i” with diaresis “ï“).
In English this is a very uncommon character and is used when ⟨i⟩ follows another vowel and indicates hiatus (diaeresis) in the pronunciation of such a word.
There have been questions about the reliability of the the Daily Mail for decades. Last year it was banned as a source by Wikipedia due to its “reputation for poor fact checking and sensationalism“.
One wonders how much further that reputation has slumped if its below the piece comments are now full of bots or actual Russians pretending to be Brits posting provocative and/or misleading content.
By the way, Novosibirsk is Russia’s third most populous city after Moscow and St Petersburg.
A Twitter user from Swansea has today discovered a strange physical benefit of being able to speak Welsh in Wales, namely the ability to walk to the shops quicker than Anglophones!
That, of course leaves one question unanswered, i.e are bilingual Welsh and English speakers blessed with dual speed perambulation? 😉
Next time folks, remember to proof the copy for consistency and accuracy!
The BBC has long boasted of the quality of its English.
However, its reputation fort linguistic excellence has started to look very tarnished in recent years. One particular area of concern is the BBC’s failure to use the correct terminology when referring to those who work with languages (posts passim).
Since I first wrote about this seven years ago, very little seems to have changed, as shown today by a news story posted today by a reporter with BBC Newcastle concerning the quality of language services provided to the police and courts by ITL North East Ltd. of Gateshead.
It starts off on the wrong foot, with the headline proclaiming: “Translators were ‘not qualified’ for police interview work“.
Translators don’t do interview work, said my mind, unless they’re working from transcripts!
The first paragraph, however, manages to get the terminology correct:
Unqualified police interpreters have cost the public thousands of pounds by causing court delays and in one instance the collapse of a case, the BBC has learned*.
The error in the headline in repeated further down the piece, as follows:
In addition to Northumbria Police, it provided translators for interviews with the Durham and Cleveland forces.
As regards the quality of the interpreters provided the piece details several cases where unqualified interpreters had caused trials to collapse and unnecessary expenditure to be incurred. For instance, one so-called interpreter couldn’t explain the police caution in full to a suspect.
In another instance, an “interpreter” who had just been in the country for 3 months before being recruited. She freely admitted not being able to understand everything a police officer said in an interview with a suspect.
Since the evidence of poor quality work came to light, Northumbria Police requested a full audit of the qualifications held by all interpreters registered with ITL North East Ltd.
The BBC should follow Northumbria Police’s example and audit the liguistic abilities of their reporters.
For those reporters who still don’t understand the difference between translators and interprwters, I would refer them once again to my handy illustrated guide from 2013 (posts passim).
* = As regards the phrase “the BBC has learnt…”, it has been pointed on social media out that this story was first broken the satirical magazine Private Eye over a year ago. Do keep up Auntie!
Yesterday’s online version of the Bristol Post (now renamed Bristol Live. Ed.) carried a shocking item about a hitherto unknown catalyst for violence: the toasted cheese sandwich.
According to the Post, this humble snack may not be served at a proposed catering concession in Monk’s Park in Bristol’s Southmead district “amid fears a proposed hot food van could attract booze-fuelled anti-social behaviour and motorbike gangs“.
The Post continues:
Councillors have agreed to grant a provisional licence for cold food, such as ice cream, and tea and coffee in Monk’s Park, Biddestone Road.
But the vendor would be barred from selling hot snacks following dozens of objections from residents, a ward councillor and the headteacher of a nearby secondary school.
However, the fear of violent behaviour was not the only concern for banning hot food: councillors on the city council’s public safety and protection committee also feared children from the next-door school would be tempted to skip lessons due to the lure of grilled fermented curd.
Following the committee’s decision the concession will now be put out to tender.
However, the story does not end there. When your correspondent posted about the article on Twitter, one person to respond was local artist Dru Marland, whose response about fermented curd addiction was hilarious.
For a more complete understanding of the violence-inducing properties of cheese, I should have asked the committee about their opinions of more exotic varieties of fermented curd, such as Roquefort or Graviera, but pressure of time dictated otherwise. 🙂
Update: Not forty-eight hours after Bristol was opened to national and international ridicule over this affair, Bristol Live reports that residents of Bristol’s Cotham district have branded a hot food catering van an “appalling idea“. You couldn’t make this stuff up!
It’s always good to see Welsh being promoted in Wales.
However, it does help if one uses a professional translator and native Welsh speaker before committing any money to doing works on the ground.
This has clearly not been done by supermarket chain Morrisons with the car park markings shown below at its supermarket car park in Caernarfon.
The error was brought to the attention of non-Welsh speakers by Twitter user Rhysew, who tweeted
C’mon @Morrisons, sort this out! Your Welsh translates as “Arse record” Correct it as DIM MYNEDIAD.
This is not the first time Anglophone companies have treated Welsh – a far older language than English – with the respect it deserves.
Most recently, there was comedy train operating company First Great Western, which will have no Welsh language announcements on its services between South Wales and London (even though it manages to embrace both Welsh and English train announcements at Newport station. Ed.)
Last year there was also Santander, which seems to have problems with Welsh customers expecting transactions in the vernacular despite having a clear Welsh language policy.
In the meantime, would any Welsh-speaking reader care to ask Morrisons if the “arse record” will be available on vinyl. 😉
Q: Pictured below are 2 men: Winston Churchill, who some would argue was the greatest UK Prime Minister ever; and Piers Morgan, a man of no discernible talent apart from sycophancy to those on the extreme right wing of politics. What links them?
A: A cigar butt.
One of Churchill’s discarded cigar butts, to be precise.
Earlier this week, Piers Morgan bought said cigar butt at auction, as reported by the Shropshire Star.
Piers (affectionately renamed Piers Moron by Private Eye. Ed.) was so pleased with his purchase, he also tweeted about it.
Auctioneers Travanion & Dean of Whitchurch in Shropshire had been expecting the half-smoked historical artefact to sell for about £1,000.
Piers paid £2,600 for it.
Needless to say, the final bill would have been rather more than that once the auctioneers’ commission had been added.
He may have considered his action patriotic, but Piers’ action reminded your ‘umble scribe of an old adage, i.e. a fool and his money are soon parted.
That bit of folksy wisdom in turn set me researching its origins.
The King James version of the Bible published in 1604 has something similar to this saying in Proverbs 21:20, which states:
There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.
However, for a rendition slightly closer to the wording in question, one has to look at 1573’s Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandrie by Thomas Tusser, reproduced below:
A foole & his money,
be soone at debate:
which after with sorow,
repents him to late.
The form of words commonly used in the present proverb were first just over a decade after Tusser. In 1587 Dr. John Bridges writes the sentence below in Defence of the Government of the Church of England:
If they pay a penie or two pence more for the reddinesse of them..let them looke to that, a foole and his money is soone parted.
On Saturday, a certain Melania Trump was discharged from hospital following surgery for a kidney problem.
Needless to say her husband. one Donald John Trump, who occasionally resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. in between golfing trips, was delighted.
So delighted he sent the tweet below to his followers.
The reason why The Donald should misspell his wife’s name is unknown. Perhaps he had that pesky predictive text active on his tweeting device.
However, the 45th President of the United States is not the first Republican Party occupant of that office of state to experience problems with the use of the English language.
George H.W.’s son, George W., who was affectionately known as “Dubya” and inaugurated as the USA’s 43rd president, was so inept with his alleged mother tongue that a term – Bushisms – was coined to denote his ability to engage both tongue and brain when speaking in public. Bushisms are defined as Dubya’s unconventional statements, phrases, pronunciations, malapropisms and semantic or linguistic errors in public speaking. Besides malapropisms, Bushism’s other common characteristics included the creation of neologisms, spoonerisms, stunt words and grammatically incorrect subject–verb agreement.
To conclude this brief excursion into members of the Grand Old Party’s difficulties with English, who can forget former Vice-President James Danforth Quayle’s erroneous correction of a school student’s correct rendition of “potato“? 😀
* = Apologies to the late George Orwell for the title.
Changes are taking place at the increasingly downmarket Local World group of regional newspaper titles owned by Trinity Mirror.
These changes are also being implemented at the Bristol Post, the city’s newspaper of (warped) record, whose online version now masquerades under the misleading title of BristolLive, as any signs of sentience have yet to be medically confirmed.
As circulation has declined, so have standards to the point where it appears that greengrocers (or should that be greengrocer’s? Ed.) are cheaper to employ than what passes nowadays for journalists – or even journalist’s. This desperate move is amply illustrated by the screenshot below for the latest story lifted from scanning social media.
In the meantime, locals can expect more news from Homophone Corner (that’s a site to be seen. Ed. 😉 ) and hard-hitting stories of the “Hartcliffe man stubs toe on Bristol Bridge” variety and barely concealed advertisements masquerading as restaurant reviews, mostly for places whose obituaries subsequently describe them as “popular” when they inevitably close down less than a year later.
* Or should that be greengrocer’s? 😉