Posts tagged media
Gloucestershire Live is a sister title of the Bristol Post/Bristol Live and as such provides a similar mediocre quality of journalism to its
Yesterday, it shook off that veil of mediocrity – albeit briefly – as its website published an item confirming what many believed concerning the main politics news story of the week: the exit of right-wing MPs from the Labour Party to form a breakaway group, as shown in the screenshot below.
My Gloucestershire friends have this morning confirmed via social media that as far as the governance of the county is concerned, politics inevitably equals the Conservatives and the Blue Team dominate what is effectively a de facto one-party state.
Hat tip: Westengland.
In Ireland, any predominantly Irish-speaking area is known as a Gaeltacht (plural: Gaeltachtaí). The island’s Gaeltachtaí are shown in green on the map below.
The green-shaded area beneath the Dingle Peninsula is the Iveragh Peninsula (Irish: Uíbh Ráthach) in County Kerry and an interesting appointment has just been made here.
Yesterday Irish broadcaster RTE reported that a Russian had been appointed as an Irish language officer there and would be leading efforts to revive the Irish language there.
Victor Bayda, a native of Moscow, has taken up the post with Comhchoiste Ghaeltacht Uíbh Ráthaigh, a community organisation in the south Kerry Gaeltacht of Uíbh Ráthach.
Mr Bayda is a fluent Irish speaker and has been teaching it in Moscow for about fifteen years. In addition to Irish, Mr Bayda also speaks Dutch, Scots Gaelic, Welsh, Swedish, French, German and Icelandic.
His duties in his new post will include implementing a comprehensive language plan aimed at arresting the decline of the language on the peninsula, where 60% of the residents claim the ability to speak Irish.
According to the 2016 Irish census, just 7% of the Gaeltacht population speak Irish daily outside the education system.
Mr Bayda becomes the tenth Irish language planning officer to be appointed so far in Gaeltacht areas.
In 2017, Victor posted the video below on Youtube.
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! 😀
If there’s one thing that can be said about language, it’s that it’s dynamic. Blink for a second and you might miss the coining of a neologism or an old turn of phrase becoming obsolete.
The latter in particular can have amusing consequences, especially if re-used by someone possibly too young to appreciate the original connotations of the word or phrase.
The item’s second paragraph reads as follows:
Passengers will able to hop on the Unibus U2 service, from Monday February 18 until Friday, February 22 without spending a penny.
To someone of my age (rapidly approaching where I qualify for a pass for free bus travel. Ed.), the phrase has connotations other than obtaining buckshee travel.
As Collins Dictionary helpfully points out:
If someone says that they are going to spend a penny, they mean that they are going to go to the toilet. [British, old-fashioned, politeness]
The origins of the phrase stretch back to the Victorian era and refer to the use of coin-operated locks on public toilets in the UK. Such locks were first used in a public toilet outside London’s Royal Exchange in the 1850s.
The phrase “to spend a penny” has now largely died out and been forgotten, except by those with greying hair, due to changes to public toilets themselves (many of which have been closed by austerity-hit local authorities. Ed.) and changes in the charges to use a toilet. Last time I looked while on my travels, the toilets at Manchester Victoria railway station cost an exorbitant 20p, i.e. 4 shillings or 48 times the original cost of one penny.
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.
It seems we live in a society that knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
On Monday Kent Online reported that Kent County Council is expecting to spend £1.5 million more than the central government funding it has received to support unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) who left the care system during the current local authority financial year.
The county has received a total of £6.9 million from the Home Office and Department for Education to help more than 900 young people who have entered the UK unaccompanied, but is looking at costs of £8.4 million.
According to council officers, part of the problem is apparently “a shortage of translators [sic] living in the area.”
However, one reason for the higher costs can be laid firmly at the government’s door. The government has decided to extend support for all care leavers up to the age of 25 years; it was previously 21.
Legal costs and the immigration application process are also factors that have resulted in higher costs.
Kent’s Director for children’s integrated services, Sarah Hammond, seems to understand the value of interpreters. She is reported as saying the following:
It’s absolutely critical both for the young people and social workers that there is no window of doubt what the young person is saying. For that reason, we have to use trained and certified interpreters.
The validity of the assessment work we do would fall away if we were not able to demonstrate we had the right quality and accreditation of a translation body – and that comes with significant costs.
The reality is the majority of interpreters are coming from outside of the county, so we are incurring travel costs as well as their professional fees.
The very words Kent Online quoted Sarah Hammond as saying shows that she at least recognises the value of understanding. Young refugee people leaving care might not always have had much opportunity to become fluent enough in English to deal with whole panoply of officialdom and bureaucracy one has to deal with once past the age of majority in the UK; and one way to ensure both parties achieve full comprehension is by using qualified linguists.
The consequences of using unqualified interpreters has been amply illustrated down the years by the Ministry of Justice’s disastrous outsourcing of police and court language services, which is still continuing, as shown by this example from the north east of England.
Ms Hammond’s comments are in marked contrast to the reaction of the sole councillor quoted, Conservative Rosalind Banks, who remarked: “I suspect if the translation costs were made known to the average resident of Kent, they might turn around and say I’m sure this could be done a lot cheaper“.
Cheaper, councillor? We linguists are skilled professionals, in case you hadn’t noticed.
Needless to say, the councillor’s ignorant, penny-pinching sentiments are reflected in the comments below the piece, the majority of which are xenophobic, if not bordering on the racist.
The placing of articles and/or photographs next to each other in newspapers (and on newspaper websites too. Ed.) sometimes has unfortunate consequences and connotations.
This is from the Murdoch-owned Times.
I’ll say no more.
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!
One thing is certain about life in Bristol: it’s quite unlike living anywhere else and can sometimes be well beyond the borders of the surreal.
This feeling is enhanced by reading the Bristol Post, city’s newspaper of (warped) record.
Just skimming casually through the Post website, readers may easily miss some real exclusives, such as this fire brigade incident reported yesterday by Heather Pickstock, who is alleged to be the paper’s North Somerset reporter.
As shown in the screenshot above, Ms Pickstock informs readers as follows in this fine piece of creative writing:
Crews from Southmead, Temple, Kingswood, Hicks Gate, Bedminster and Pill were called at 9.46pm yesterday to reports of smoke billowing from the sixth floor of a high rise block a Littlecroft House, Pip Street, Eastville.
There’s just one thing wrong with the above sentence: it’s completely incorrect; there’s no Pip Street in Eastville and no high rise block called Littlecroft House either.
A research technique known to ordinary mortals, but not to Ms Pickstock, affectionately known as “5 minutes’ Googling” reveals there’s a a council tower block called Little Cross House in Phipps Street, Southville, a good four miles across the city from Eastville.
The Bristol area can breathe a sigh of relief that Ms Pickstock does not work as a call handler on the 999 emergency switchboard. 😉
Author Michael Ansaldo speaks warmly of the office suite your ‘umble scribe has been using since its inception in 2010, following the mass departure of OpenOffice.org developers from Sun Microsystems following its takeover by Oracle.
Translated into English, Ansaldo’s final paragraph reads as follows:
In summary, amongst the notable features of LibreOffice 6, we note its excellent compatibility with the [Microsoft] Office formats, as well as an interface that will not disorientate the aficionados of Microsoft’s office suite. Nevertheless, some features are lacking, such as integrated cloud storage or even joint real-time editing. Anyway, LibreOffice 6 is still the best choice for open source fans and all those wanting compatibility with Office without buying Microsoft Office. Its availability for multiple platforms and its frequent updates also make it a clear choice for individuals and businesses.