Politicians Re-defining The English Language

enrique 24 January 2008 74

A few years ago I performed a job for a federal government department and took note that everyone had been directed via an edict from John Howard that all written use of the word program was to be spelt “programme”.

Today I’ve just been informed that everyone has been directed via an edict from Kevin 07 that all written use of the word programme is to be spelt “program”.

Seriously people – what right does the government have to dictate how to spell common English words. Isn’t that the job of the dictionary?


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74 Responses to Politicians Re-defining The English Language
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GnT GnT 4:41 pm 25 Jan 08

Back to the discussion on norms in Australian English…

The Macquarie dictionary is considered the authority on Australian English, but it is ‘descriptive’ not ‘prescriptive’, that is, it describes the forms of English that are most prevalent, not those which ‘should’ be used.

So it is perfectly apt for a style guide to suggest one form should be chosen over another when all language is loaded with hidden meaning.

Personally, I prefer “program”. I also prefer more common-sense spellings like “meter”, “color” and “traveling”, but I’m sure they’ll take longer to become acceptable due to them being American spellings. For some reason Aussies resist any American influence even when it makes sense.

Mælinar Mælinar 3:30 pm 25 Jan 08

Hmm, that sounds scarily like how the Liberals were running near the end…

Just an observation on my own post…

Mælinar Mælinar 3:28 pm 25 Jan 08

Actually, thats a rather undemocratic attitude from sjp. You can not possibly make reasonable decisions on anything when only presented one side of the story.

Using this thread as an example, if you only wanted to hear the good news, you would cut a major chunk out of your avaliable information, and you would not be assessing the bad points vs the good points.

As Mr Evil said, back to your knitting circle, go knit a scarf for over your head if you want to remain in cotton-wool land.

Mr Evil Mr Evil 3:22 pm 25 Jan 08

sjp, go back to your knitting circle!

sjp sjp 2:46 pm 25 Jan 08

There is a lot of nastyness going on here. Is it really necessary? If there’s nothing nice to say, why say anything?

Ingeegoodbee Ingeegoodbee 2:26 pm 25 Jan 08

Doesn’t “SES” stand for Senior Editing Service

astrojax astrojax 2:22 pm 25 Jan 08

nah, it’ll be ‘wymyn’, mr evil…

and we’ll teach ‘her-story’ not history then, too… where’s is dilbert when ya need him!

neanderthalsis neanderthalsis 12:58 pm 25 Jan 08

That thought did pass through my mind evil, but the alternative word was “Sod” which is pretty much the same anyway…

Mr Evil Mr Evil 12:54 pm 25 Jan 08

“Bugger the lesbians….”

Don’t know if that was a good choice of words? 🙂

neanderthalsis neanderthalsis 12:42 pm 25 Jan 08

Bugger the lesbians and their “Gayelle”. What about the poor folk of lesbos that have had their good name pilfered and tarnished by the hairy legged, leather clad, carpet munching sorority for many years? (poor stereotyping I know, I’m sure it will appear in a certain journo’s column on sunday)

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 12:33 pm 25 Jan 08

When I read that I had a mental image of athletic nubile women pracing across an African savannah, rather than the scary bulldykes who probably proposed the idea.

Mr Evil Mr Evil 12:29 pm 25 Jan 08

Oh my God – that is ridiculous!

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 12:25 pm 25 Jan 08

Around about the time you get the “gayelle” memo.
http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/story/0,26278,23102416-5007185,00.html

Mr Evil Mr Evil 12:23 pm 25 Jan 08

Okay, so how long until an edict comes from above stating that ‘woman/women’ should be spelt ‘womyn’? 🙂

sepi sepi 12:06 pm 25 Jan 08

Ha – I read that Dilbert too – I was convinced it was about editing govt publications!!

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 11:47 am 25 Jan 08

I like it when people criticize Australian English. 😉

sjp sjp 10:26 am 25 Jan 08

HA! ‘Escape velocity’. That’s gold – I’m gonna use it today.

Mælinar Mælinar 10:20 am 25 Jan 08

Its not listed in his media releases yet http://www.pm.gov.au/news/index.cfm

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 9:46 am 25 Jan 08

Oops – I should have hyphenated Pointy-haired One. Lucky I have 7 people to check my writing here…

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 9:45 am 25 Jan 08

Fluges, you started my day off with a good laugh!
Great rant and spot on the mark!

Reminded me of the Dilbert last week that HAD to be talking about ministerials and briefs:

Pointy Haired one: Makes these changes and run it by me again.
Dilbert: History suggest I have entered an infinite loop of making changes with no hope of finishing.
My life is a furious ball of nothing.
PHO: And I’m not wild about the font.

Troy, you have vastly UNDERestimated the time savings, given the number of briefs and ministerials that will no longer have to be returned from the long chain of parliamentary grammar checking dweebs before a document actually achieves “escape velocity”. I’d suggest your envelope calculations were under by an order of magnitude at least.

7 – that’s the number of checkers whom each have to “add value” to a piece of paper before it makes it as far as the Ministerial Advisor.

Meanwhile, I’m still hoping someone can furnish a link to an actual announcement about this that I can wave around the place as evidence….

Yes Fluges – I’m focussed on the BIG issues too 😉

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