Wednesday, 18 March 2015

‘All the votes have nearly been counted’.

Thus BBC World Service this morning. There was a time when ‘BBC English’ was paradigmatic. Mainly for pronunciation, but there was the implication that the BBC could also be relied on for grammar, syntax, sentence structure, and clarity of meaning.

I am currently helping a Greek teenager improve her English. We work with the Cambridge English Proficiency textbooks, but unlike her ‘official’ English teacher at school, who is Greek, I don’t take these texts as gospel, having several times found bad mistakes in them. We also read the Harry Potter books together. It is interesting that these books get fatter and fatter as the series goes on. This is because the early volumes were subjected to fierce editing, which they all very much need, but when the author became famous no-one dared alter or cut a word or a comma. J.K. Rowling-in-money is, to put it mildly, not the finest prose stylist, but she’s a lot better than the BBC, and a lot more fun.

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