Posts tagged language
Yesterday your correspondent took a break from the inner city and headed by rail to the North Somerset Coast at Weston-super-Mare.
Plenty of good, fresh air and healthy exercise was had, with my walking from the railway station to the far end of Weston bay at Uphill where the River Axe empties into the Bristol Channel between Brean Down and the semi-tidal Black Rock, as shown below.
The eastern limit of the Bristol Channel is defined by the International Hydrographic Organization as that area between two lines between Sand Point in Somerset and Lavernock Point and the western limit a line between Hartland Point in Devon and St. Govan’s Head. Upstream of the eastern limits, the body water is the Severn Estuary, whilst westwards of the western limit is defined as the Celtic Sea.
However, the Bristol Channel has not always been used to characterise this area of water.
Until Tudor times the Bristol Channel was known as the Severn Sea. Indeed, it is still known as this in both Welsh: Môr Hafren and Cornish: Mor Havren, whilst on Jacob Millerd’s 1673 map of Bristol shows the Severn Estuary in the Latin, Sabrina Fluvius, as depicted below.
One of the phrases guaranteed to dismay every regular user of Britain’s chaotic and overpriced railway network is rail replacement service. This involves taking the scheduled service off the rails (usually for engineering works at busy holiday periods when everyone either wants to get away and/or visit friends and loved ones. Ed.) and substituting the rolling stock with buses, with the inevitable increased journey times and a reduction in passenger comfort.
However, these rail replacement services do not serve Stapleton Road railway station, where the sign shown below is affixed to the Frome viaduct wing wall on the station approach.
As the station is under the management of First Great Western, an alleged train operating company, you ‘umble scribe assumes it was their staff who designed, wrote and approved the final signage.
For any passing First Great Western signage design drones, here’s a wee tip: a spellchecker now comes as a standard feature of all popular office productivity suites. 😀
From Monday’s Bristol Post.
- causation; or
- a typical example of a poorly written headline from a Reach plc title?
The Murdoch Sun has long had a reputation for making up stories, such as the infamous The Truth front page which accused Liverpool fans of misbehaviour and criminality at Hillsborough in 1989 when 97 Liverpool football fans lost their lives in an incident which a later inquest ruled to have involved unlawful killing.
That front page untruth resulted in a boycott of Rupert’s rag by the city of Liverpool that continues to this day.However, not content with upsetting a city for over 3 decades with a made-up story, Murdoch’s apology for a newspaper has now started on a more ambitious project – making up a new language akin to English, starting with changing the past tense of the verb to fly from a strong verb conjugation to a weak verb one.
The headline has since been corrected following mockery on social media to the effect that it’s now written by 10 year-olds.
Is there no start to the talent of those members of its staff that the title insists it employs as journalists?
How many times have you heard or read the phrase “We take (insert_topic_here) very seriously…” in a newspaper or broadcast media news item?
Today’s Guardian website includes a report with not just one but two organisations – HS2 and the Environment Agency – claiming precisely that they take matters within their respective bailiwicks “incredibly seriously” (HS2) and “very seriously” (Environment Agency).
This “seriously” – whether qualified or not – appears to be part of the hackneyed stock reply to the unearthing of errors or shortcomings that the bodies involved would have preferred not to have come to light and seems to your ‘umble scribes mind to be shorthand for “we’ve been caught out“.
Another way of describing them is weasel words, i.e. something that someone says either to avoid answering a question clearly or to make someone believe something that is not true. In other words lies and/or hypocrisy are brought into play to save the reputation and embarrassment of the organisation involved and its senior management.
The Guardian’s story appears to be a classic example of the modern (mis)use of the adverb seriously. However, your correspondent does at the same time note that neither of the organisations involved resorted to that other stock phrase frequently wheeled out when they’ve been found wanting, i.e.: “We have robust measures in place…“. But let’s leave the deceit inherent in the use of robust for another time.
Finally, if HS2 is sincere, the use of the adverb “incredibly also merits examination. Its dictionary definition is “difficult to believe“, so in effect what HS2’s was actually saying is that it is hard to believe the organisation takes the matter seriously at all. 😀
Welsh schoolteacher Stephen Mason has set up a YouTube channel called So You’ve Moved to Wales (SYMTW) specifically for non-Welsh speaking schoolchildren moving to a Welsh school and having to catch up on Welsh language studies, Nation Cymru reports.
Explaining his motive for setting up the SYMTW channel, Mr Mason told the paper:
Moving home and changing schools when you are a teenager is a stressful time. A new country, a new school and a new language can easily become associated with an unhappy or stressful life episode. I therefore decided to make a series of videos for Welsh teachers to share with latecomers to their subject that would help them settle into their new surroundings more easily.
The first of Mr Mason’s videos is embedded below.
The flats at Combfactory Court in Easton have a capacious car park with at least 6 or 8 spaces.
However, owing to stringent restrictions imposed on its use – as shown below on the notice on its railings – only one resident is allowed to park at any one time.
Whoever is in charge of the car park has contributed to public view a textbook example of the greengrocer’s apostrophe. This is an informal term in British English for the non-standard use of an apostrophe before the final -s in the plural. It would appear the efforts of examinations body the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority since 2006 have been in vain.
For the second time this week, Reach plc’s Wales Online title graces this blog with its presence due to its journalists’ failure to understand the word ambiguity, let alone recognise what it means and how avoiding it is crucial for members of the fourth estate.
Today sees a classic ambiguous headline for this story.
Amongst other things, the Guardian and Observer style guide states that ambiguity is a common problem in headlines”.
Another day, another confusing headline from a Reach plc title, this time the Daily Post/North Wales Live, with this story about an 89 year-old sheepdog, an 89 year-old man with werewolf proclivities or something else, which escapes your ‘umble scribe’s imagination for the time being.
However, there is one upside to the policy of Reach titles to cram the whole story into the headline, i.e. one normally doesn’t have to waste time reading the article.
~Are Reach titles operating on the TL:DR principle?
Answers in the comments please!
A new piece of stencil art has turned up on recent days on a wall at the junction of Russelltown Avenue and Whitehall Road in east Bristol on the building with the ever-changing messages (posts passim).
Merely as a matter of coincidence, it depicts one of those residents of Whitehall, SW1, namely one Priti Patel, an Estuary English elocution expert inexplicably elevated to the position of Home Secretary by part-time alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, after she had previously been forced to resign in 2017 as International Development Minister for breaking the ministerial code by having secret meetings with Israeli officials while serving under Theresa May.
Since her return to high public office, the permanently smirking Patel has been accused of bullying her staff, resulting in the resignation of Home Office boss Sir Philip Putnam.
I can’t help speculating if the hammer in Patel’s hand was one of the reasons for Sir Philip’s departure.
At the foot of the stencil art the Tory Party oak tree logo and the word Vandals appear.
I have lived most of my life under Tory governments and for the majority of that time, particularly with effect from the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979, the Conservatives have not conserved anything. Indeed they’ve destroyed important ones like manufacturing industry (which used to provide millions of skilled, well-paid jobs. Ed.) and the trade union movement, whilst flogging state assets to their rich friends and supporters.
Given the party’s record of destruction, perhaps the claw hammer in Patel’s hand should have been replaced by a sledge hammer instead. 😀