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Off-topic addendum to OED thread

Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:59 pm
by Shelley
Erik Kowal, you asked me to present evidence to back up my opinion that there is a concerted effort by American business, government -- whatever, to convert the world to its brand, as it were. I use the word deliberately, because "branding" is really what it's about. The current issue of "US News and World Report" features an article about the marketing explosion in China and India of western products and brand names. Now, the following is not an American example, but it represents for me just what is going on. (There are plenty of other examples involving US companies -- I just liked this one.) Through a concerted marketing effort, De Beers has converted China's matrimonial customs:
The storied diamond purveyor first entered the country in 1993, when there were absolutely no diamonds exchanged in China and nothing in Chinese culture linking diamonds and love . . . the groom's mother typically gave gold and jade . . . to welcome the bride into the family. No more. Christine Cheung, . . . at advertising giant JWT, runs through a presentation called "Creating a Diamond Wedding Ring Cultural Imperative." . .. "It's more than selling a product," Cheung says. "It's creating a culture." The company has been so successful in its creation that now, in Shanghai, 70 percent of all brides are given a diamond wedding ring. In Beijing, it is 80 percent (up from 45 percent just over five years ago). -- by Bay Fang, US News and World Report, May 1, 2006
Ok, yes I know, diamonds have nothing to do with English and how to spell catalogue or apologize. BUT. If the latest fashion that Gong "Ken" Lei (from the article) just has to have has the word "AKADEMIKS" printed boldly on the back, well, I think the British or American spelling of English words will be well . . . academic. Would that be a skone, sir, with your venti latte mocha joka dada?

Off-topic addendum to OED thread

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:27 am
by Erik_Kowal
Shelley, allow me to correct you. What I actually asked was:

"What, specifically, is your evidence (not speculation, not hunches) of [...] 'linguistic neo-colonialism'? Is there a government policy promoting it? A cabbal of publishers? An association of Hollywood studios? A newspaper umbrella organisation? A TV language infiltration unit?"

As you can see, I made no mention of branding or marketing. I am well aware of the ever-growing attempts by Western companies to penetrate the Chinese market, just as I am of Chinese companies' attempts to break into Western markets (in a global marketplace, it goes both ways). But there is no obvious or necessary connection between commercial marketing à la De Beers and the existence of the deliberate linguistic neo-colonialism that you have asserted is intended to spread the use of American English around the globe.

Incidentally, how does the U.S. News and World Report manage to be publishing a story on May 1, 2006 when it is still only April 28 even on the U.S. east coast? Has New England's diary industry finally overtaken its dairy industry in importance? ;-)

Off-topic addendum to OED thread

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:42 am
by gdwdwrkr
Marketing-off-topicity:
But maybe related.
The Unilever company is engaged in studies of softness, and it is striking that the language and format of the Unilever website itself has a hypnotic softness to it.
Anyone have a word to describe the different brain-feel? pur-sueded?

Off-topic addendum to OED thread

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:00 am
by tony h
Is it me or does "A newspaper umbrella organisation" not seem right? Surely this is an organisation of manufacturers of umbrellas made of newspaper or an organisation of umbrellas for newspapers. So what phrasing makes it clear?
A newspapers umbrella organisation
A newspapers' umbrella organisation

Is part of the problem that an umbrella is both the manufactured item and the organisation that produces it. After all it seems clear, to my disturbed mind, that a "car umbrella organisation" is something to do with umbrellas for cars whereas a "car manufacturers' umbrella organisation" is probably what is intended.

Off-topic addendum to OED thread

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:21 am
by gdwdwrkr
A newspaper umbrella-organization. This suggestion from a hyphen-promoter.
Its not you, Tony, most newspaper umbrella-organizations are not right, but left.
Car manufacturers' umbrella-organizations make windshield wipers, I believe.

Off-topic addendum to OED thread

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:30 am
by Erik_Kowal
It is known to many that a sheet of newspaper, correctly folded, makes a passable, if short-term, emergency umbrella -- good enough to dash from the front door to the car in the driveway, say.

Off-topic addendum to OED thread

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 4:38 pm
by gdwdwrkr
A dash-promoter.

Off-topic addendum to OED thread

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 5:45 pm
by kagriffy
Erik, the US News & World Report is a weekly magazine. Most magazines hit the newsstands several days (or even weeks) before the publication date. Weekly magazines are usually on sale at least 3-4 days ahead of the publication date, and monthly magazines are usually on sale at least 2 weeks ahead. (For example, I received my May Reader's Digest back in mid-April.) When you get to magazines published less frequently than monthly (for example, Games Magazine, which is published 10 times a year--deciannually, perhaps?), the magazine might be on the newsstand a full two months before the publication date!

Off-topic addendum to OED thread

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 6:30 pm
by Shelley
Erik_Kowal wrote: Incidentally, how does the U.S. News and World Report manage to be publishing a story on May 1, 2006 when it is still only April 28 even on the U.S. east coast? Has New England's diary industry finally overtaken its dairy industry in importance? ;-)
It's funny, but a lot of weekly magazines are received in the mail before the date printed on the cover. Don't know why that is, except maybe to insure subscribers are reading the "current" week's issue during the current week instead of one week later.

Erik, I misrepresented what you said and I'm sorry about that. However, I don't think any cabal, association, unit or organization steps up the microphone and announces, "Attention everyone! We are now going to commit an act of linguistic neo-colonialism upon your society". That's just not how it happens these days, in my opinion, although there have been plenty of overt cases of it in the past. For example, indigenous languages in the US were almost eradicated by policies which removed children from their tribes and placed them in English-speaking schools.

Nowadays, the internet is probably the best facilitator for linguistic neo-colonialism, as more and more people participate world-wide. Also, the American business practice of out-sourcing jobs, particularly those involving call-centers, has had a deep impact on some regions' understanding of English. When I get a (frequent!) call from Jill in India asking to "speak to the person who handles your telephone bill", she will very likely use American English (ie; "yeah" or "OK", instead of "oh, very good"). Do I think this is a conspiracy? I wouldn't characterize it that way. Rather, I think it just "happens". But it happens out of a concerted effort intended to dominate another market, another economy, another chunk o' change.

Which brings me to the "more stuff" aspect of all this. For whatever reasons -- Hollywood, global media agencies -- American stuff is what is wanted. Hip-hop reigns, and if "bitch slap" eclipses "strike me roan" because money can be made from it, then you have linguistic neo-colonialism. In spite of my government's policies in Iraq, it's no longer necessary to arrive at the shores of some land, conquer the territory and then convert the locals. In today's global, electronic web-market, once you've captured the consciousness of the consumer, the territory follows.

". . . in my opinion", she said. "-- And don't ask me whether I approve or disapprove, although I don't like 'bitch slap' much: the whole violence against women thing, y'know".

Off-topic addendum to OED thread

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 7:01 pm
by Erik_Kowal
Someone will no doubt be kind enough to correct me if the following is wrong, but according to the Cassell Dictionary of Slang, 'bitch slap' is a term of 1990s US black origin meaning 'for a woman to hit, occasionally to harangue, her male partner'. Strike me roan, but that seems to be violence done by, not to, women.

I just wish that that nice Laura Bush could occasionally be a little more brutal. (By 'occasionally', I had in mind 'once on waking up and once just before going to sleep'.)

Off-topic addendum to OED thread

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 7:44 pm
by Shelley
Well, hush my mouth and call me stupid. What I MEANT to say was, "I don't like 'bitch slap' much: the whole violent, haranguing woman thing, y'know!" And, clearly, bitch slap would not replace strike me roan, exactly . . .
I'm tired. I want to go home, now.

Off-topic addendum to OED thread

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:51 pm
by gdwdwrkr
And to which planet will that be?
:) (I swore I'd never use these)

Off-topic addendum to OED thread

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:58 pm
by gdwdwrkr
Sporting luxury comes to life in the all-new 2007 XK from Jaguar. Available in early 2006, go figure. The latest models arrive early.

Off-topic addendum to OED thread

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:06 pm
by haro
Don't worry. There is kind of a balance. Some things may come too early, others come way too late. Windows 95 was launched in 1996. The new Windows, now called Vista, was scheduled for 2004, then postponed time and again. In early 2006, Billy-Boy said it will hit the shelves before Christmas 2006 for sure, which, as he stated, will be great for business. Now he says the consumer version won't be available before 2007 because launching it before Christmas would mess up the Christmas market.

Off-topic addendum to OED thread

Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 6:49 pm
by gdwdwrkr
Obsolescence may have overtaken technology.