Stoopid anglish

Friday, March 16, 2007
You know I don't claim to be any sort of an expert on the English language, at least not as much as the well educated Mr. Vandersluys whom I believe has a University degree in it. And the Mrs. Randall Friesen(.com) does remind me that the English language is a very difficult thing to learn, well especially if you're native tongue is Arabic or Chinese or some such thing.

But good grief, why can't some newspapers just say what they mean?

Today while picking up some juice on the way to work I scanned the newspaper headlines. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix carried the headline;
"U of S, faculty close"

Now I know there have been contract negotiations happening there for a while, with the teaching faculty, and I know those discussions haven't always been going easily. In fact I've been a little concerned because Hillary, our daughter, has been enrolled there for the past year and is nearly ready to complete her year. How much of a kick in the head would it be if the Faculty went on strike at this point in the game, and they lost the year.

I've been keeping my eye on that news.

So when I saw the news headline report that the University was closing, well I nearly had a bit of a fuss right there.

Upon further reading, which I expect was their plan in the first place, to get me reading it that is, the headline was trying to communicate that the two sides were indeed CLOSE to an agreement, not that they had to CLOSE.

With all the experts in the world and with people who do know where to place their apostrophes, before or after an "S," why can't someone get to work on the English language so that we don't have words that have double use, like "Close?"

(By the way, what do we call words like that which have double meanings?? For a big star.)

It shouldn't take a lot of work really, just some creativity is all. Words like live and live need to be set free to be who they really are.

We should make a list so that these English Majors have something other to do than read Shakespeare, or tell people where to stick their apostrophes all day. They could work on this idea.

Any words to add to the list?




  1. What? So everyone is giving out stars now? I should have trademarked it.

    Incidentally, words that sound the same and/or are spelled the same (but have different meanings) are called "homonyms"

    Don't get me started on newspaper headlines. I'm still laughing from some of the stuff I heard on Leno from the Clinton Scandal Era. (Unfortunately, they're probably not appropriate to mention here.)

  2. Here's a fun word -- cleave. It can either mean to come together ("husband and wife shall cleave to one another") or to tear apart (meat cleaver).

    Fun with words, tra-la-la! (so saith the sleep-deprived mama, who also happens to hold an English degree!)

  3. Well, for starters there is
    Tear - tear
    sink - sink
    read - read

    - and a whole host of others.

    You would think that for an issue where the alternate meaning could have serious repercussions - like heart attacks - a newspaper would be more imaginative and use another phrase. Or add on a couple more words that would clarify the issue.

    Maybe they thought that such a headline would cause people to take note - it did didn't it? - and buy more papers. Mercenaries!

  4. Hey, Anonymous Linea,

    Please see policy number 832951179-wwapr.


  5. lead- lead, bark- bark, rake- Rake, pot- pot- "pot", plot- plot, chart- chart, star- star...

    (if you read that out loud, I guarantee your co-workers will give you a wide berth and some strange looks...)

  6. I actually thought that headline this morning was quite ingenious as it certainly got me reading it very quickly to determine what was at stake.

  7. Hey---I thought there was a big star in this for me? Didn't I answer the question?

    (I hate myself for asking, you Star Award stealer!)

  8. I don't know Mr. Vandersluys, with a pushy attitude like that you stand the risk of loosing your star, and I would have to award it to the next person.

  9. *

    Alright Mr. Vandersluys, since you have adopted a properly humbled attitude, i would be pleased to award you one star.

    It's up there in the corner, no no not on the right, it's over on the left.

    Congratulations and well done.

    Now, for an extra star, can you tell me what exactly is a Synonym?

  10. The main spice in a very tasty sticky-bun?

  11. A synonym is a word with a similar meaning as another word.

  12. Sorry for the anonymous comments. I cleaned up some cookies and lost the automatic stuff. My bad.

  13. Ah, fun with words. Isn't language grand.

  14. actually Toni, I would go as far as saying that language is, 'grate'?

  15. Sorry - that was the Yorkshire coming out in me.

  16. and I love that Marc could "loose" his star....that almost seemed intentional in a post like this...

  17. It's a little late for this, but another good set of homonyms is "raise" and "raze", which sound the same but mean essentially opposite things.


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