Anorak News | Wurd Upp

Wurd Upp

by | 4th, September 2002

”’MIS-TEEQ casts evil spell on youngsters,” warns the Guardian today. Mis-teeq? What’s that then? Presumably a case if the Grauniad living up to its formidable reputation for typos.

Wrong! It’s ”Tony Blair – he doesn’t care!”

But no, in this case it is the Guardian kettle that is calling the pot black, as it reports on a poll conducted by Mori at the behest of the Oxford University Press that purports to show how Britain is producing a nation of ”tabloid spellers”.

If so, surely this is cause for national rejoicing. Tabloid newspapers employ teams of sub-editors to ensure that copy is impeccable, and the Sun would certainly not tolerate the spelling mistakes and poor grammar that characterise the Guardian. But it’s the punning headline style, rather than the actual writing, that is under attack. This, coupled with the ubiquitous txt-mssg, is the future of our language it seems.

And if you are not of text-messaging age, and don’t read tabloid newspapers, then we should tell you that Mis-teeq is actually the correct spelling of a pop group’s name, rather than a phonetic stab in the dark.

The fact that 37 per cent of 10 to 12-year-olds chose Mis-teeq over mystique is no cause for alarm, although the 53 per cent who got neither spelling correct might well be.

Thirty years ago, there were complaints that the misspelt titles of Slade songs would have a disastrous impact on the nation’s youth. Now those same youths are themselves up in arms – every time they read the Guardian.

Posted: 4th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink