ABC and Ramón Pérez Maura are taken to task by Peter Harvey Linguist. As usual, he’s absolutely right, but I’d just like to enter a plea in mitigation on one count: “never begin a letter with ‘I'” used to be quite common advice. For example, in Correspondence, credits and traffic: Part I: Business correspondence (1914) we learn that
One of the maxims of courtesy in former days [!] used to be “Never begin a letter with I.” This is no longer regarded as a strict rule. Indeed, there are times when its observance results in awkwardness of expression.
And the injunction may still be in force in Nigeria, surely the great epistolary nation of our time. Maybe ABC – I don’t think they’ll sue if I describe them as conservative – plan to specialise in the diffusion of foreign languages as they were once spoke and writ. Pérez Maura, one of their younger writers, recently celebrated his 157th birthday.
(I understand that Merkel resents Mas’ deficit-busting use of postage stamps instead of email, but don’t let that blight your happy new year.)
- The Cali Word Games, plus a Civil War gag from Alfonso Guerra
Lenox, who has been discussing the role (roll-on, roll-off?) of Google Translate in quality public service provision, has passed along this little gem from the wider reaches of linguistic dilettantism – Colombia, where 1,221 medals were cast for the World Games without wasting precious time on letter-checking:
Lost Letters Departments have of course swept the world
- Invest your life-savings with Fucked Translation before Ben ‘n’ Merv render them worthless!
Google ads are not what they were never really going to be, and donations have been such a success that until this morning’s happy contribution a victim of comprehensive digitectomy could have counted the euros raised on the fingers of both stumps.
But now the game has changed: the Bank of England has indicated that …
- The demon barber of Calais, a 17th century Sweeney Todd
I believe the current early chronology of versions containing all the basic motifs is as follows:
- Joseph Fouché was a politician and administrator, and the delightfully wicked creator under Bonaparte of something vaguely resembling the modern police service. According to PBS, he wrote in something called Archives of the police of a series of murders committed
- Some Itanglish in a Dryden comedy
One José María Trilladas has apparently been combing the accounts of the black card looters of Caja Madrid and has discovered that between them the great and the good, lefties and righties, spent everything on, to put it mildly, wine, women and song, and not a single cent on the printed word. But let that not