August 27, 2011 1 Comment
Ingrid Piller writes: Corporate double-speak is plummeting to ever lower depths and is insinuating itself into every aspect of our lives. Many see through this sustained assault on our collective intelligence, no doubt. Mike Carlton, for instance, nicely picked apart a corporate message that Qantas sent around to all their frequent flyers recently in the Sydney Morning Herald. […]
July 28, 2011
Tom Honeyman and Piers Kelly write: Yesterday’s post concerned changes over time in the meanings and connotations of ‘terrorist’. The gist was that ‘terrorist’ has come to be synonymous with Islamism, particularly in the media — up until the 1980s, it appears, ‘terrorist’ activities were mostly domestic, territorial and non-Islamist. The shift in perception is […]
May 2, 2011 2 Comments
Thanks all for testing the smut filter and sending in your dirty foreign number plates — see the comments on the previous post. Mel Mistica has discovered that kiki is not the only Tagalog word that sets off alarms at the RTA. You can’t have bobo (‘dumb head’, ‘retard’) or butu (‘dick’) but it does […]
April 14, 2011 1 Comment
The sociolinguist William Labov liked to elicit stories of extreme experiences. The theory was that his informants would get so swept up in the tale that they would lose their self-consciousness and speak in their ‘real’ voice. This impersonator seems to be applying a similar theory in order to inhabit the voices and accents of […]
March 4, 2011 6 Comments
Ingrid Piller from Language on the Move writes: My daughter attends a public elementary school in NSW where the children are taught French for one hour each week. In 2009, she was away from her school and did not receive any French instruction during that year. When she returned, it turned out that she had […]
December 21, 2010 2 Comments
Ingrid Piller writes:... In the year in which I’ve been away from the UAE, the fervor for the use of “Arabian Gulf” instead of “Persian Gulf” has certainly heated up.
November 23, 2010 45 Comments
Debbie Loakes, John Hajek and Janet Fletcher write:...A curious transformation is happening to Victoria's vowels, and it's not going unnoticed. For a while now, many Victorians have been confusing "el" sounds with "al" sounds, so that celery sounds like salary, pellet like palate and telly like tally. In other words, Victorians don't know if they're Allan or Ellen.
October 29, 2010
News outlets this morning are all over the story of a couple renewing the vows in a ‘traditional’ ceremony at a luxury resort in the Maldives: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5H64OOkeXA[/youtube]
September 27, 2010 7 Comments
B-B-B-ündnerfleisch…. Head of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Finance cracking up over the finer points of bureau-speak: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps6e_toM26I[/youtube]
September 17, 2010 5 Comments
Ingrid Piller writes:... misinterpreted directions resulted in a mortar attack on the wrong spot. The entire livestock of a village was killed in that attack. In another case, a request for shooting illumination flares was misinterpreted as a request for a mortar attack, which resulted in an unspecified number of casualties.