When media are less than careful in choosing metaphors and words

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December 5, 2011
 
Dear Fellow Communicator,
 
Our English-language print and broadcast media are supposed to report the news as  accurately and clearly as possible to avoid confusion or misunderstanding. But when they mix metaphors and make ill-advised word choices in their stories, they inadvertently denigrate or falsely portray the people they are reporting about. This is what happened when a news service agency used the word “fodder,” which means coarse animal feed, for the blessings a successful and award-winning overseas Filipino worker wants to share with her countrymen; and when through semantic overkill, a TV network’s news website made “probable cause” practically a sentence of guilt for seven policemen accused of torturing a crime suspect. Check out my critique of these two disconcerting cases of language blunders in My Media English Watch for this week’s edition of Jose Carillo’s English Forum.
 
THIS WEEK IN JOSE CARILLO’S ENGLISH FORUM (December 4-10, 2011):
·       My Media English Watch: When Media are Less Than Careful in Choosing Metaphors and Words (They denigrate or falsely portray people in the news)
·       Essays by Jose Carillo: The Serious Lack of Civility That Afflicts Public Discourse (The persuasiveness of public pronouncements is eroded by it)
·       Time Out from English Grammar: How the West Rose to Global Dominance and is Now Losing It (It’s undermining itself by abandoning its core strengths, book says)
·       You Asked Me This Question: Several More Tough Choices on Article Usage in English ((Permissible uses of “the” in socially acceptable idiomatic overstatements)
·       News and Commentary: The Financial Crisis in Europe Told in Plain, Simple English (Making sense of a serious mess that’s unfolding in another language)
·       Use and Misuse: What Does “Has” Have to Do With the Verb’s Past Tense? ((It’s functioning as an auxiliary verb to put the present perfect tense to work)
·       The Lounge: Encore! Celebrating Christmas With an Element of Surprise (Choir disguised as mall shoppers perform Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”)
·       Badly Written, Badly Spoken: When is the Double-Dash a Must? (When the change of thought in a sentence is too abrupt for a comma to suffice)
·       The Finest in Language Humor: 69 Job Description Jokes (Sampler: “A lousy lawyer is always appealing.”)
·       Readings on Language: A Good Decision Blends Intuition and Logical Thinking, Says Book (This reduces the mental glitches that often get people into trouble)
·       Students’ Sounding Board: Does “Have To” Mean the Same as the Modal Auxiliary “Must”? (No, they denote different kinds of obligatory acts)
·       Education and Teaching Forum: The Need for Performance-Based Funding for Research Programs (Without it, Philippine education reform will remain elusive)
·       Advice and Dissent: Responsibility is Found in How People Interact, Not in the Brain (Neuroscientist says it’s a contract between people, not the brain’s property)
·       How Good is Your English?: How Criterion-Referenced Tests Can Help Improve Your English (You can work your way up to really great English!)

See you at the Forum!
 
Joe Carillo

Click this link to go the website now: http://josecarilloforum.com


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