Sunday, May 17, 2009

... from the annals of "Two Countries Separated By a Common Language"

Geoffrey K. Pullum's latest post pleases me to no end. Here's how it starts.

It is by no means easy to understand headlines in your native language if you cross into a new cultural area, e.g. by crossing the Atlantic. And as headlines go, this one does fairly well at illustrating utter unintelligibility:


It took up nearly half of the front page of The Scottish Sun on May 15 (the right hand side of the page being reserved for a photo of the upper body of the newly crowned and daringly dressed Miss Scotland).

Now, Gers looks like it could be short for "Germans", right? And kirk is an old Scots word for a church. If religion is involved, the egg is probably a human one. Blast is often used in newspaper headlines for a furious denunciation or excoriating memo. So… an old Scottish church taken over by a congregation of pro-choice German Protestant immigrants has been the target for an angry newsletter article by a Catholic archbishop over the question of whether a newly fertilized ovum counts for moral purposes as a human being. That could be it, right? But perhaps you don't want me to tell you. Perhaps you'd rather guess.

Give up?

1 comment:

Righteous Bubba said...

The lesson is always "Never read English papers."