Srsly, BBC?

by Grania

After reading Jerry’s post on the putative oldest living vertebrate earlier today, I wondered what the teeth of the Greenland shark looked like and went to Google to see if I could find out. I ended up on the BBC’s shark pages and then went down the inevitable Internet rabbit hole of clicking through on other interesting pages.

The BBC is of course the bastion of plummy accents, perfect enunciation, and I would have assumed the best example of English as she is goodly spoken. Or not, in the case if the entry for the Frilled Shark.

The ex-teacher in me has a hard time reading bad writing on professional websites. I know from bitter personal experience that the more I re-read a piece of writing to eliminate any errors, the more likely I am to spot the mistake 5 minutes after I hit the Publish button. So I have some sympathy. Just not much when the very first sentence not only has a common homophonic error, but also manages to say the exact opposite of what the writer was aiming for.

frilledshark

Spot the mistakes

Oy. Also, the exclamation marks!!! I did learn something new about sharks though, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

On that note, happy Friday to all. I’m off to have a beer.

52 Comments

  1. Merilee
    Posted August 12, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    At least they didn’t write “pray”.

  2. Frank Bath
    Posted August 12, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    As a lifelong employee of the BBC I find this piece of science writing awful gee whiz blimey mate and not typical of its output.
    The Beeb has had to make slashing cuts due to loss of funding, being under attack from the press and its political allies, who fear its independent voice and the audience it ‘takes’ from commercial rivals. I can only hope this is the cause of the sloppiness.

  3. bluemaas
    Posted August 12, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    O Yes, Ms Grania, I see your “exact opposite” point there … … which the BBC must’ve done.

    So now I am wondering: what is the exact opposite of Friday ? and what is the exact opposite of beer ?

    cuz I wouldn’t wanna be misunderstandin’ at where and at when I am supposed to be … … at Friday Afternoon’s ‘Journal’ Club meet – up !

    Soon !
    Blue

  4. Richard Jones
    Posted August 12, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    There are many accents in the British Isles, I assume yours is Irish. A “plummy” accent should be no more worth mention than yours or Welsh or Scots.

    • Posted August 12, 2016 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      I have a mongrel accent, or “hybrid” as one person politely put it. It’s all over the place.

      I’m actually not Irish, although after nearly 20 years of living here, I probably have a slight Irish twinge added to the other influences all jostling around in there.

      ~Grania

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 12, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      I imagine Grania mentioned it because the old RP was also called a “BBC accent.”

      A lot of us Yanks are suckers for it; they always have me from their first “not at all” — the nasal frictive “n” ramping up into the three short, rounded vowels, separated by the two percussive “t”s, each pronounced as clearly and distinctly as though played by a symphony timpanist.

      The way we Yanks say the phrase, it sounds like the name of an over-the-counter sleep aid: “Noddedal.”

      • Merilee
        Posted August 12, 2016 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        And what we hear now from many Brits is naw-a-all…

        I, too, am a sucker for the old BBC accent.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted August 12, 2016 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        I’ve had people who’ve never been to Britain asking me if I’m British. At least they don’t think I’m Australian …

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 12, 2016 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

          Conflation with Aussies is what’s continually happening to Bret and Jermaine of the Conchords, even though (as they are wont to point out) the accents are “completely different.”

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted August 13, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

            I love the Conchords!

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted August 13, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

              For my money, it’s one of the slyest, smartest, funniest shows ever.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted August 13, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

                It’s just typical Kiwi humour, so it’s nice to hear you say that! 🙂

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted August 13, 2016 at 2:52 am | Permalink

          Fortunately.
          We can pronounce six properly.

        • Michael wWaterhouse
          Posted August 13, 2016 at 2:54 am | Permalink

          Fortunately.
          We can pronounce six properly.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted August 13, 2016 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

            🙂

  5. Posted August 12, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    *wince*

  6. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted August 12, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    So is it fair to say your not frilled with the shark bite?

    • Posted August 12, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Harhar

      ~Grania

    • Merilee
      Posted August 12, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      +1.

      How ’bout shark byte?

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted August 12, 2016 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        Oh, the shark has pretty teeth dear…

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 13, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

          Bobby Darin version or Louie Armstrong version? … Or you prefer the Kurt Weill-Berthold Brecht original?

          • merilee
            Posted August 13, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

            oh zee shark haz, pretty teet dear…

            Actually saw the opera whence this song came about a year ago. The City of Mahagonny, or something like that. Interesting, but not my fave

  7. Diane G.
    Posted August 12, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Teeth on edge, check.

    Also contains the ubiquitous error that’s been driving me batty for decades–screwing up the proper form for binomials (see last sentence).

    • Posted August 12, 2016 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      The case of the missing majuscule!

      • Diane G.
        Posted August 13, 2016 at 3:08 am | Permalink

        Ha ha! And I admit that’s a new word for me…have you considered writing for the BBC?

  8. Genghis
    Posted August 12, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    And atypical needs to be hyphenated?

    • Posted August 12, 2016 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      No. The author should have just used “typical”.

    • Posted August 12, 2016 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

      (It’s a double negative otherwise.)

  9. Posted August 12, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    “Using its senses to find its prey”….

    Don’t we all use our senses to hunt prey?

    Is there n alternative to using our senses?

    • Diane G.
      Posted August 12, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Walmart.

      • Posted August 12, 2016 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        Diane, I think you win the internet today!

        ~Grania

        • Diane G.
          Posted August 13, 2016 at 3:18 am | Permalink

          OMG! Wait’ll I tell my kids! 😀

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 14, 2016 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

            Before you and the kids go celebrating, Diane, you should check out the valuation of the internet — and the potential tax consequences.

            They tried to award me the internet once; I refused it — the way J.P. Sartre declined the Nobel Prize for Literature. (To paraphrase the great existentialist, I’d rather be remembered as ‘Kukec the dissolute commenter,’ rather than as ‘Kukec the internet laureate.’) Well, that, and my accountant warned me it’d bump me into a bracket beyond my means.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted August 12, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      Also the little things annoy. The excessive number of ‘its’ for example. I find myself reaching for a red pen.

    • Posted August 12, 2016 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

      Some theologians try very hard.

  10. Kiwi Dave
    Posted August 12, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    According to the writer, the victim has over 200 sharp teeth. That’s probably not what s/he meant.

    • Posted August 12, 2016 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that misplaced modifier annoyed me–that kind of mistake is really common!

  11. Paul S
    Posted August 12, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    What’s the problem? It’s factual, It doesn’t look like I’m a typical shark.

    • Paul S
      Posted August 12, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      Damn, the curse of Count Scarlioni. I need to go back and stop myself from pushing the button.

    • Diane G.
      Posted August 13, 2016 at 3:21 am | Permalink

      😀

      Me neither!

  12. Christopher
    Posted August 12, 2016 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    That’s pretty pathetic, but I’m not surprised. It is only a matter of time before lol-speak makes it into BBC reporting. NPR, which is by no means on par with the BBC, frequently gives a “shout out” during their programming, as if they are pre-teens and still living in the late ’90’s.

    On a slightly less irritating, but still quite irritating, note, I frequently consume a variety of science-focused podcasts, many of which originate from the UK. Why, may I ask, do the otherwise well-educated podcasters, such as those with the Naked Scientist, insist on referring to any all all microscopic things, viruses, bacteria, archaea, etc., as “bugs”?! I have no wish to be a pedant, I’m not educated enough to be one, but for f*ck’s sake people! Oh, I can’t see it with my naked eye, so it must be a bug, right?

    • Filippo
      Posted August 12, 2016 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      NPR . . . frequently gives a “shout out” during their programming, as if they are pre-teens and still living in the late ’90’s.

      On a recent Morning Edition segment about the apparent un-cool-ness of cargo shorts (its heyday was apparently in the 90’s),Steve Inskeep was good to interject and advise listeners, “The 90’s, by the way, are not in the 21st century.”

      • Frank Bath
        Posted August 12, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        The BBC broadcasts 6 national radio channels, covering FM, medium wave, long wave and digital, plus dozens of local radio channels and channels for minorities e.g. The Asian Network. There are also 3 TV channels, children’s channels, an internet only channel – BBC3, World Service on shortwave radio and TV, BBC America etc, a website and I player for everything you might have missed. A tour de force. Quite overwhelming.
        Every accent from posh through RP to street and downright incomprehensible is available so it’s ridiculous to generalise. Welcome to Britain!

        • chris moffatt
          Posted August 13, 2016 at 5:34 am | Permalink

          I listen to BBC1 on satellite radio – puts NPR to shame.

      • bluemaas
        Posted August 12, 2016 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        On Morning Edition Mr Innskeep in particular, in my view Mr Filippo, is only and almost always about ‘happy, happy talk’.

        I so, so miss Mr Bob Edwards. And have. Ever since Day #1 of his outster, er, I mean of his leaving … … .his. program.

        Blue

        • chris moffatt
          Posted August 13, 2016 at 5:53 am | Permalink

          I miss Bob Edwards too. The decline of NPR began the day he was fired, but it really worsened when Bush parachuted a bunch of cryptofascist apparatchiks from RFE into PBS and the whole content changed from news-oriented to propaganda. When was the last time anybody heard a real socialist or unionist interviewed? Or commentary from anybody on the left? These days political commentary is limited to such as EJ Dionne (IMO somewhat right of center) and David Brooks (pretty far out in the republican weeds).

          http://fair.org/home/some-things-considered-mostly-by-white-men-2/

          • bluemaas
            Posted August 13, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

            O my, my, Chris Moffatt, this information on NPR from F A I R is rather, well, … … angering actually !

            Thank you !
            Blue

        • Filippo
          Posted August 17, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          Concur. He was to (public) radio as Walter Cronkite was to television.

    • Diane G.
      Posted August 13, 2016 at 3:34 am | Permalink

      “That’s pretty pathetic, but I’m not surprised. It is only a matter of time before lol-speak makes it into BBC reporting.”

      Which reminds me of another pet peeve–news articles that largely consist of a string of tweets. WaPo is always doing this.

  13. yiamcross
    Posted August 13, 2016 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    BBC pays peanuts to writers so guess what they get?

    • Diane G.
      Posted August 13, 2016 at 3:43 am | Permalink

      Traditional journalism is on its death bed. Those of us who still appreciate it need to help all we can. (Especially those of us who use ad-blockers.) I subscribe online to organs like the NYT, WaPo, Grauniad, etc., even though much of their content is available free and I almost never bother to utilize whatever special perks they offer to subscribers. I doubt it’ll make a difference, but I like to think that if enough of us demonstrate our support that way the media might once more be able to afford to pay for decent reporting.

  14. José
    Posted August 13, 2016 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    So I am a shark… always or only when the frilled shark is looking?


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