News Worthy: All Semantics

metro, new zealand

In the subjects of Writing and English, for what little I absorbed as a child and no formal instruction post secondary school, I am surprisingly enthralled by sentence structure and slang/foreign word choice in print (Newpapers and other obscure independently published periodicals). It is this premiss that has prompted the following short list of oddities found while reading The SouthLand Times and The Otago Daily Times. Select phrases or words are bolded below. Please share your thoughts, for, while some of these bits are oddities to this reviewer, perhaps they are widely accepted convention.

1. Article Title: 100-mile race won by Frost

Sentence: ‘Frost (33), a former Hill City-University runner, won the women’s section of the hardrock 100-mile ultramarathon in Colorado at the weekend.’   Do we think this is a miss print or mistake? [during the weekend]? Is this an appropriate usage of at? Just didn’t sound quite right to my ear.

2. Article Title: The Cold Inside, background being on going legislative controversy about poor heating/insulation in state homes.

Sentence: [In reference to ones heating bill] ‘if you can’t afford it, tough bikkies.’ What is a bikkie? Is this like at morning tea when you go to eat a cookie (biscuit, aka bikkie) and it is stale? And it sucks, but oh well, that’s just how it is. Like, Channing hasn’t written back to me yet, tough bikkies

3. Article Title: Exile at 80, a close up on the Dalai Lama

Sentence: ‘People have crossed the Himalayas in jandals seeking a blessing from the Dalai Lama.’ I am not confused about the meaning here. For those that don’t know, jandals is Kiwi slang for a flip-flop and is a derivative of sandal. I am wondering why the author didn’t say sandal? Surely, Kiwi readers would have understood. Now it just sounds like something that would come out of Bill Murray’s mouth in Caddyshack, you know the scene where he recounts caddying for the Lama. Check out the clip and at the end, slip this sentence in…

“…you will receive total consciousness. I mean [insert selected sentence]. So I got that going for me, which is nice.”

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