Saturday, 3 January 2009

Those Sub-Editors Again

As a reader kindly pointed out, I was getting a bee in my bonnet over Ingo Schulze's tortoise for no good reason - the word turtle used in the TLS article linked below is merely an Americanism, not a genuine mistake. The Germans have one generic term for all chelonians - Schildkröte - whereas usage of turtle and tortoise varies between English-speaking countries, as this handy Wikipedia table illustrates.

So it was the Times sub-editors who slipped up again, as it would have been their job to notice that it's almost impossible to transport a water turtle in a Wartburg - although it's rather fun to imagine someone trying. Tom of the Common Reader blog has a great video up on his site, envisaging the meeting after Giles Coren's now notorious letter in response to the Times removing an indefinite article from one of his restaurant reviews. And it ties in with my piece on subtitles... Try not to listen to the German if you do speak the language though, as it distracts from the matter at hand.

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