Archive for the ‘London’s Talking’ Category

Some will argue that societies are built upon languages and that language is the cement of a society. It can also be argued that language emerged from the frame of the society. Whether one or the other is correct, nobody knows yet. However for those supposing that language cements societies; they believe that by changing the language they will be able to change the world around them.

Feminists have been fighting long and hard to introduce gender-neutral or feminine words to replace gender-given (often masculine) nouns and adjectives in the hope that by changing vocabulary they will be able to change attitudes.

Today we can scoff at some of those modern feminists’ fights, qualifying their actions of being ‘outdated’ and ‘useless’. But while we feel that the fight has been won, and that equality has already been attained, it’s easy to forget that a hundred years ago women believed that it was worth dying to get the right of vote. We’ve only recently reached that so-called equality and solely thanks to our mothers and grand-mothers’ courage.

And when it’s becoming clearer and clearer that a more insidious sexism is making its way back, vigilance is key. Personally I think that instead of wasting all that energy trying to change the way people use words, the answer lies in the hands of the education system – whomever hands it is: the headteacher’s or the headmistress’…


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* Title of an article in today’s Daily Telegraph.


Well, now, isn’t it a bit exaggerated? Everything, I think, has been blown out way out of proportion. Listen to that.

According to the Daily Telegraph,

Only the election of President Barack Obama to the White House eclipsed the death of the ‘King of Pop’ at the age of 50, research by Global Language Monitor (GLM) found.

Jackson’s death received more coverage than the Iraq War, 9/11 and the global financial meltdown, last year’s Beijing Olympics, Hurricane Katrina, the death of Pope John Paul II and the Tsunami.

The newspaper which is one of the two newspaper of records in the UK (the other one being The Times), goes on reporting that Michael Jackson’s memorial concert is one of the biggest Internet and television events ever. EVER.

That, I have to say really buggers me. Michael Jackson’s death received bigger coverage than 9/11? You must be joking me. This unfortunately shows very well the poor state our world is in. Pop Idols, singers, actors’ whereabouts are more likely to receive media attention than political crisis, revolutions, earthquakes and any major disaster in general. One thing though really made me laugh when today I read about “poor” Mariah Carey whose new album release made a flop – again, for the second time in a row, due to a bigger event happening. Her last album has been released on the day of Michael Jackson’s death. The precedent one was released on 11th September 2001…

I’m sorry but THAT is bad luck!

By the way does anyone know what’s happening in Iran right now?

I find the whole thing slightly gagging and indecent. And it was everywhere! Every channel had to cover it, there was no way of watching anything else, or escape the grotesque ceremony. Apparently the BBC received 473 complaints about its coverage of the Michael Jackson funeral and memorial service:

– 91 of the calls were specifically about the “excessive” coverage, 47 complained about the scheduling changes and the rest expressed concerns about tone of the reporting.

– BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC News channel and international BBC News World all covered the event at some extent. That’s not news cover anymore that’s called making profit.

And last week, the BBC received 748 complaints over its ‘wall-to-wall’ coverage of the death of the singer.

Now why don’t we focus on Sarkozy’s new law proposal. Should French people be able to shop on a Sunday? That, my friend is THE real question. 🙂

I personaly think that he should focus on getting the shops to open on a Monday morning! France must be the only country in Europe where you can’t get your baguette on a Monday morning…

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Now, eagerly expected by many, comes the sequel of What Women Think: What Men Think…

Let’s be fair. A Man is not as subtle as a Woman. That’s well-known and that’s also what ill-informed people might say.

When He says he’d like some crisps he does mean he’d like some crisps. For the rest however there might be some subtleties indeed.

What men think

Well, well, I hope this has been of some help. I’m open if anyone has any new suggestions…

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From now on there won’t be any excuses for males not to understand their female counterparts. With what follows, any human being will be able to get an insight of what is in the other sex’s mind!

I mean it as a guide, a decipherer, an absolute must-have, the last step towards mutual understanding and World Peace. (What do you mean I’m slightly over the top? Me? Never! :))

Over is the time when Men couldn’t make sense of Women. Admire the richness of the nuances:

what-women-think And next time: What Men Think….

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I came across this article on BBC News website some days ago and then remembered my old boss telling me about that tendency.

I like languages, I speak a few, and as I aim at working in Public Relations, I take a natural interest in examining writing and talking styles. As a non-native English speaker, I sometimes have difficulties to recognise what seems mind-wrecking for native speakers. I think it’s easy to get contaminated if only to impress an interviewer. Although I am a true believer of the “simple language”, I am the first one to try to look “smart” by using clever-sounding words and expressions.

I made a list (yep, another one, for those who don’t know me, “making lists” is a genetic disease running in the family.) of my favourite worst bits of management speak I found on BBC News.

As we say in France: ” Ce qui se conçoit bien s’Ă©nonce clairement” * = Which is conceived well is enunciated clearly. Should we deduce from that, people especially managers (or “team leaders” as they’re called now) have no idea what they are talking about?

I’ll let you make up your mind:

1 – Idea showers for brainstorming. Very poetic!

2 – Let’s touch base about that offline. I’m not too sure what it means, something like talking in private I guess.

3 – My door is open on this issue. I think it means they are still thinking about the issue.

4 – Problems are now Challenges, which gives surreal dialogues like: “I’m having problems with the new software” – NO! You don’t have problems! You have challenges! (Ey… really? ok then…)

5 – We are still optimistic things will feed through the sales and delivery pipeline. I have to admit, I like this one as I needed to read three times to understand what it was actually about.

6 – And also in addition. This one is American but that’s not an excuse. What would it be next? “And besides in addition, they also have to conversate the results of the idea shower more efficiently…” (Ouch!)

7 – You can’t have your cake and eat it, so you have to step up to the plate and face the music. I’m sorry I still haven’t made out what this means…

8 – Wouldn’t want to wrongside the demographic for upsetting the client. I do like this one, I find it quite poetic as well.

You can add to the list words taken from warship vocabulary which makes our leader sounding like very confused war lords…

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* The complete quote is: “Ce qui se conçoit bien s’Ă©nonce clairement et les mots pour le dire viennent aisĂ©ment“. Nicolas Boileau in the Art PoĂ©tique.

Which is conceived well is enunciated clearly. And the words to say it come easily.

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After 5 hours and 12 minutes… Yes, and I’m a bit sad.

It was a good game, a real marathon.

Tant pis.

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I am a nice person, it’s no because I am not working those days that I don’t have a thought for my friends, neighbours, relatives and even total strangers who do have a job.

Listen to me now, in my extreme kindness I’m giving you a list of excuses to miss work and come with me to lie down in the park… Some I knew and practised already, some are new:

(I found the list in the londonpaper yesterday evening)

– Sickness take planning (I knew that). The day before, start sniffling and coughing and to everyone asking how you’re feeling, even those not asking, tell them that you “must be coming down with something.”
This method is quite efficient, it just needs consistency all day long, you must first convince yourself that you’re going to be sick before succeeding in convincing others.

– Timing is important (obviously). You want to be credible. It’s a dead give away if the following day is one of the hottest of the year or the Wimbledon final.
Fridays and Mondays are also a big no-no.

– Ideally you don’t want to lie to anyone important, so set your alarm early and catch the night cleaner at the end of their shift. You can also call early enough to talk to your colleague before the boss is in. A message passed on like Chinese whispers is priceless.
I do agree. Don’ talk to your boss directly if you can avoid it.

The “squits” or “trots” are magic alibis to your artful crime. (Hmm, hmm… I’m not too sure about that. I know for sure I would never use that.) I prefer – but it works for women only – calling sick saying: “women problems”. Nobody will ever ask more details, but it should be used carefully, people do know how to count!
I used that excuse a couple of times, although it makes me really uncomfortable, it’s a relatively shameful way to take advantage of the feminine condition. Ok, to be honest it makes me feel like cheating!

The newspaper was listing another couple but I didn’t like them 🙂
– Not answering to the phone in case your boss calls: lame
Go back to work with a hangover to look sick: I don’t get it, if you stay home while you’re sick, aren’t you supposed to be back in the office in good health?

I have two other excuses that are quite common in Ireland, excuses that I heard countless of times.

1 – For women only (again): “I’m sorry I can’t make it at work today, I have a bad hair day”
I swear, this is a perfectly acceptable excuse… Never heard it directly though, but I know it works.
2 – For both men and women: “I’m sorry I can’t make it at work today, I have a bad hangover”
This one I heard more than once and used it once or twice myself.

Perfectly acceptable and understandable.

So that’s it, thanks to me you only have to choose the one you prefer, or you think will work best on your boss.
You’re welcome.

Have a nice and sunny day! 🙂

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