Thursday, 26 February 2009

Full Marks .. Helpful Punctuation & Geo Tautology ..

Three small stories that my mother & I found interesting and amusing from The Times Saturday February 21st 2009 - http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/ - two letters ...

Full Marks All Round by Ann Stevenson from Stafford: "Sir, My 14-year-old grandson mentioned Facebook to me, and I mentioned Twitter to him. He looked impressed. I said that being a Times reader keeps me up to date and I hoped he would be a reader one day. He replied: "I already am - I buy one occasionally". Now I was the one to be impressed."

Helpful Punctuation by Michael Jones from Rochdale: "Sir, I share the anxiety over the modern scarcity of apostrophes. While driving through Oldham recently, I noticed a sign directing me towards a new business that read "LENS". I turned the corner expecting to find an optician or maybe a camera store. Alas, it was a carwash - presumably owned by Len."

Geo-tautology - by Sally Baker, Feedback p 26: John Symes, a fellow hack, was put out to discover recently in The Times one of his biggest bugbears: a reference to "Sahara desert". He objects on the ground that "Sahara" comes from the Arabic 'sahra' which means, well, 'desert'.
Hot on his heels came another e-mail, from Ian Gordon, pleading to make his own "pedantic remark". The Times occasionally refers to Lundy Island. The word island here is redundant as it is implied by the name Lundy.
All of which brought to mind a former colleague whose own bugbear was Mount Fujiyama because, and you're probably there before me, "yama" means mountain and so it should be referred to as Fujiyama, or Mount Fuji. And don't get me started on Lake Windermere.
So where does that leave us? All these are entirely valid points, but in the great scheme of things does a little geographical tautology do any harm? I think not.

3 comments:

Shaw said...

Hello Hilary,

It is nice post. Gave me a smile this morning reading. I have heard a lot of tautology like Mt. Fujiyama. And I am sure I do that, too. I hope it does not do any harm to me too.

Thank you for your sharing!

Shaw Funami
Fill the Missing Link

Shaw said...

Dear Hilary, Blogger system gave me error message. So, I decided to write again. If this is duplicate, please ignore or delete.

Thank you for your post. It is nice to read something gives me a smile in the morning. I come across lots of tautology, like Mr. Fujiyama. I do, too in either Japanese or English. I hope it does not do any harm as you say.

Thanks again for your post.

Shaw Funami
Fill the Missing Link

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shaw .. your understanding of English is very good .. not many people would be able to get to grips with tautology .. & I know I would really struggle with Japanese!!

I always think it's interesting to be reminded of these sorts of things .. as quite honestly the meaning of language changes .. we need to just have a jog!

Thanks .. just fun things my mother enjoys -
Hilary: Be Positive Be Happy