Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 27 22:19:19 UTC 2010

I am going to go contrarian on this one... I've been thinking about it
since Jon's first post and even did a bit of checking myself. I recall
seeing/hearing "handcrafted in X" where it made little sense because the
object was obviously not made by hand. There was also some question as
to what X was--it might have said "Handcrafted in America" (or Italy, or
Germany, or Japan), then in fine print somewhere else suggested that it
was "Made in China". And that, sort of, offers a clue.

 From the samples of "Handcrafted in X" that I've browsed through over
the past couple of hours, most are /possibly/ genuinely
handcrafted--jewelry, for example. Others are more questionable--e.g.,
"sushi" pottery and chopstics that are "Handcrafted in
China/Vietnam/Japan". Others are more certainly machine-made--100%
acrylic pile "feels like silk" rugs with repetitive patterns
"Handcrafted in China". The last two should suggest a pattern--to go
with "Handcrafted in America. Made in China." It may well be an example
of Chinglish that's spread to other things. Most of the time,
"handcrafted" appearing where it normally wouldn't is simply a
substitution for "crafted". That looks like a look-up problem more than
a genuine intent to offer a new meaning. Even where the claim is
"Handcrafted by skilled artisans", there is still a question of whether
it really means /hand/crafted--example, Coach bags made in China; other
leather goods. I am sure there are some items that are "Handcrafted in
America/USA" that make you scratch your head as to how they might have
been /hand/crafted, but, I suspect, you will find that the majority are
"Handcrafted in China". Of course, there are some that are genuinely
hand-made in Chinese sweatshops.

In fact, there is a whole website dedicated to B2B connections for
"Handcrafted in China".


The first couple of pages of manufacturers include Power Transformers,
Baseball Caps, [professional sports leagues] branded gear, something
that's described as "package" but looks like windows ("our products all
packaged by iron shelf , and then fixed by screws and sheet iron ,
outside with waterproof membrane , and if transport by bulk, we will use
triangle Surrounded and then outside with waterproof membrane.") Second
page lists earbuds (headsets), clip-on hair extensions, desktop PCs,
in-vitro diagnostic products, "cheap mobile phones" and "bone china"
that looks more like stoneware. None of these, except for some "coral
necklaces" on the first page look "handcrafted".

In any case, you get the picture.


On 12/27/2010 4:36 PM, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
> If we are talking about fragrances, both sentences make a lot of
> sense, but do not mean the same thing.
> I would expect something "handcrafted from the world's most luxurious
> materials" to have been made, produced, manufactured by hand.
> A fragrance "handcrafted by the world's top-flight designers" will
> have a formula developed from the personal taste of individuals who
> are considered leading professionals. Nothing is necessarily being
> promised, however, about the quality of manufacture, unless it is
> mentioned.
> Here's an example:
> http://hawaiiandays.com/AJI/shop.htm
> "Buy this set of five classic handcrafted Hawaiian Ajith perfumes..."
> Elsewhere it says, "Ajith has done it again! Our treasured master
> aroma therapist and parfumier, Ajith, has created 'Anjali,' (named
> after his beloved daughter) a fresh, lushly-youthful island
> fragrance..."
> DanG

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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