journalists suck

Publié le par chrislzh

I was reading <a href="http://www.china.org.cn/english/BAT/195163.htm">this article,</a> which I have trouble believing is actually 'news' (didn't it happen a couple of years ago already?) and was reading quite happily until I came across this sentence:

"The Chinese character "Xing" means "star", and the characters "ba" and "ke" onomatopoetically resemble like "bucks"."

Onomatopo-what? And "resemble like"?

Onomatopoeia I'm familiar with. lzh's dictionary defines it as "combination of sounds in a word that imitates or suggests what the word refers to" and then gives a few examples, like 'hiss'; 'cuckoo' or 'thud'. Funny how that definition matches what I was taught in primary school. Strange how this word 'onomatopoeia' vaguely resembles what this Xinhua idiot wrote, but absolutely does not match what must have been meant. And "resemble like"? Really! That's the kind of mistake I expect from my oil well-drilling students.

Alright, so I just woke up from an afternoon map brought on by several days straight of crappy sleep and a bottle of wine consumed at lunch time. I'm overreacting to yet another badly written article. And if I'm going to be honest, I'll have to admit that most native-speaker journalists don't write any better. Well, at least not those writing in English. Really, if we were to judge by the quality of news reports (be they radio, TV, newspaper, magazine or internet reports, written by Xinhua lackeys or native speakers) we would have to conclude that the English language really is in a serious state of decline. 

Fortunately my oil well-drilling students manage to express themselves more clearly than your average journalist. Good thing considering many of them will be heading for places like the Sudan or Iraq, where everyday work-English may require them to quickly and effectively express to their equally non-native English speaking colleagues such things as "Quick, run, there's a bomb by the pipeline and it's about to explode!". Trust that to a journalist and you may well get some bullshit made up word thrown in which leaves everybody scratching their heads and reaching for their dictionaries as flaming oil scatters itself over a wide area, consuming them, their dictionaries, and half the sand in the desert.

But wait: Perhaps 'onomatopoetry' is the sound made by Li Bai as he ganbeis a shot of baijiu while contemplating his next line?

And on another, completely different note: <a href="http://www.china.org.cn/english/China/195148.htm">Chinese Misconceptions About Other Countries</a>. And on reading that article, every foreigner in China immediately screams: "No fucking shit, Sherlock!".

Publié dans chrislzh

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