26 Sep 2007

Battling your language demons


I recently read the following headline in the real estate section of a Stockholm-area newspaper: Nyrenoverad 2:a i "Down town" (Translation: Newly renovated 1 bedroom apt).
This bothered me - and not just because I come from New Jersey (New Jersey people are always miffed at something).

Everything is wrong with the phrase “Down town” in this context. For starters you would normally spell it as one word and I have absolutely no idea what the quotes are being used for. And why English? The apartment is in Stockholm, Sweden - where they speak and negotiate for real estate in Swedish.

When the citizens of Babel began to speak in tongues, they did a pretty good job developing their own forms of communication to very accurately get across what they wanted to say. So, why inject your writing with foreign words that only confuse (or anger) your reader?

I realize every language incorporates foreign words into their vocabulary but personally I think writers should remain consistent with the original meaning (and spelling) of the word, otherwise things could get a little verückt.



/David Francisco

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