Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Flu pandemic: on journalistic discourse

Here’s a telling illustration of the way the news media uses language: a report on swine flu yesterday said that the virus “is feared to be the worst outbreak since the SARS pandemic failed to actualise in 2003.”

A pandemic that failed to actualise? I guess that’s on the same semantic level as a “non-actual death” or a “non-actual pregnancy”.

Come to think of it, this kind of language could come in very handy on your CV: “I have also written three books that never actualised – and one of them even received a non-actual book prize...”

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