marcel barang

Copy odour

In English, Reading matters on 09/10/2011 at 4:44 pm

To put things into perspective, after gleaning blunders in random pages of the current issue of Gavroche, here is this morning’s crop in a few features of the Bangkok Post, which splashes on its front page the arresting picture of a man casting his fishing net in flood water before a gigantic reclining Buddha image somewhere in Ayutthaya. I say ‘features’ because it’s, alas, too easy to find blunders or clunky prose in articles penned on the daily run. Features in a Sunday paper have days, sometimes weeks, to achieve correction if not perfection.

First, in the central pages of the Spectrum supplement, a totally incomprehensible subtitle, for, I reckon, the lack of the word ‘is’ and a comma:

The message of the Occupy Wall Street protesters may not be coherent, but their method of delivering it as the movement shows the power of social media in pushing people into action

Among the columnists, pride of place this Sunday goes to Roger Crutchley, who commits no fewer than three blunders. He should look up that soap brand name he mentions twice (it’s Lifebuoy, not ‘Lifebouy’ – I know, I use it), the definition of the word ‘affect’ (‘with a resounding echo affect “BO”’ – no emotion involved; ‘effect’ is what is meant) and the distinction between ‘their’ and ‘there’ and ‘they’re’ (‘To think that without soap their might never have been a Dallas…’). Ol’ Crutch might ‘smell nice for a change’ but his prose has BO.

Of the other columnists I love to hate, nothing to report this week: iconoclastic Voranai Vanijaka’s American English has finally found an able copy editor, sparing him the usual US solecisms and sui generis lame turns of phrase of his previous contributions; extrovert Andrew Biggs’s Australian English is still perfect, as far as Australian English goes; and the Yankee lingo of Mr Penultimate in the books section of Brunch is beyond repair reproach for once.

And, oh yes, one last thing: the Thai River Goddess, my dear Dawson, is not ‘Kang Ka’ but Mae (Mother) Khong Kha. Begging her ‘to lower the flood waters’ that will drown us all next week, the least you can do is get her name right.


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