fall and autumn

Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Fri Aug 4 15:20:15 UTC 2000

> As Aaron suggests, this was an "editorial decision" (or a software
> decision) at the IHT.  The original article, appearing in the Times
> of August 1, contained the sentences below (emphasis added).  I
> wonder if other issues of the IHT reflect on the autumn of man, or on
> the autumn of a sparrow.
> --Larry

Such editing errors are not uncommon in newspapers.  I used to have a small
collection (I suppose I still do, somewhere) of examples of "African American"
being substituted for "black" by search-and-replace methods at newspapers.  My
favorite was about a company being "back in the African-American."

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how non-literal newspapers are about
quote marks (as anyone who's ever been misquoted knows).  Americans are regularly
Anglified in foreign newspapers, and vice versa.  I remember being struck by this
when reading a South African newspaper's interview with Macaulay Culkin (surely,
picked up from a news service, rather than interviewed there), in which MC
complains that his "Mum" still makes him "tidy my room" (surely he said  "Mom" and
"pick up my room", the latter of which would be incomprehensible to South
Africans).  I suppose this is considered OK in the context of quoting, just as
quotes would be preserved in translations into another language.  But it usually
annoys literalist me.


Dr M Lynne Murphy
Lecturer in Linguistics
School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH

phone +44-(0)1273-678844
fax   +44-(0)1273-671320

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