Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday language whining, various


On the SBS News (the SBS News!!) tonight, two different reporters mispronounced the word 'nuclear' in two different ways. One, with an otherwise Australian accent, said 'noo-clee-uh' and the other, with a British accent, managed the classic Bushean 'nukular'.

I think what happens is that they see it coming up and panic, like nervy horses in a showjumping ring.


This is an asterisk:

This is Asterix:

As you can see, they are not the same.


Just tidying up old emails and came across an exchange with a former academic colleague about the end-of-year marking we were both doing; there is, as any academic will tell you, an occasional email exchange with one's long-suffering fellows of particularly choice essay bloopers, thus:

ME TO HER: 'I can't believe I've never seen this one before: "... the third-person omnipotent narrator ..."'

HER TO ME: 'Ah yes, an oldie but a goodie - in my experience they can express outrage at your pickiness for insisting that omniscient and omnipotent are different.'


Anonymous said...

A friend of mine corrected an essay that described a Renaissance painting as if it was a photograph that had been photoshopped. I believe the terminology the student used was 'airbrushed'. It's a personal favourite of mine.

Barry Leiba said...

Related to Gaul-ing mispronunciations, a common regional glitch in the U.S. is to say "ask" as "axe".
He: "I axed him, but he didn't answer."
Me: "I suppose he was no longer able to, his having been axed."

«I regret that I have but one asterisk for my country*»

Anonymous said...

A favourite from this semester's marking: "He was an innertly attractive man". I think I've met a few.
Coy Lurker

Tim said...

In the future as depicted in Futurama "aks" (pronounced "axe") has replaced "ask" as standard English.

docwitch said...

A recent find: "It was fiscally impossible for him to balance such a load upon his shoulders".

My best ones seem to come from journalism majors. They can probably look forward to stella careers with SBS.

TimT said...

I think there are a couple of words in the English language that have had internal phonemes switched around repeatedly, such as 'bird' (present day term) and 'brid' (an old English term). Ask/aks may be another example. At good ol' Balranald Central School, 'aksing' questions was always a popular one, as was talking about the days of the week, Mondee, Tuesdee, Wednesdee, Thursdee, Satdee and Sundee.

I love third-person omnipotent narrator, and may just have to rewrite passages from classic omniscient-narrator novels with that in mind!

Recently, I found myself talking about 'Shakespeare's recent autobiographies', which is an alarming concept!

Lefty E said...

I like "Accuse me, can I arksk you...".

Another good one the unfortunate sign in a Melbourne office buiding with lots of communty orgs, including the "Aborigional Literacy Program".

Zarquon said...

'...omniscient and omnipotent are different.'

If something is omniscient then it must know how to become omnipotent, and if something is omnipotent it can make itself omniscient.