Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hidden poets at the Economist

Well, lovers of poetry, anyway, otherwise they wouldn't have managed the Brooke reference in the title "Some corner of a foreign field" in this article (http://www.economist.com/node/17312300?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/ar/foreignfield). Unfortunately, these educated ones appear to be rather nasty.

> Like many Anglo-Indians, members of a Eurasian community
> spawned during the Raj,

Spawned? Thank you, dear Economist, for reminding us that we are discussing half-castes here and not real human beings.

(In case anyone misses the point, most dictionaries note that the usage of "spawn" in this context is derogatory and contemptuous)

Orcs, for instance, are spawned.

> The Anglo-Indian population fell from perhaps 500,000 in 1947
> to fewer than 150,000 today.

This is fascinating. "Perhaps 500,000"? What are the author's reasons for quoting this figure? May we take it as being close to 500,000? Why not "circa 500,000", then? Or is it a number that the author decided as being probable? Not that the author favours us with a source for the "fewer than 150,000 today" figure either. This sort of of shoddy homework ought to be unacceptable in a professional journalist. Of course, perhaps the professional journalist was too busy looking up the Brooke reference (Paraphrased - If I should fall, Think only this of me, That there's some corner of a foreign field, That is for ever England) and got the security desk to write the rest of the article.

> Yet many are also thriving, thanks to rising demand
> for Anglophones from India’s booming services firms.

This is plainly misleading. All Anglo-Indians might well be Anglophones, but not all Anglophones must speak excellent English (indeed, not even all of those brought up speaking no language other than English speak it very well), and, in any case, there are plenty of non-Anglo-Indians in India who speak English (and who may or may not be Anglophones). Indeed, post-colonial, post-market-reform India is more pro-American than Anglophone.

1 comment:

Martin Herrndorf said...

the term "precise English" is insulting in itself. What's "unprecise English" - you mean English pronounced the Indian way? Why is that any way less precise then "UK" English? It gets worse: While some "marry outside of their community", "many are also thriving" - how's that connected? Some integrate/blend, some thrive? Some thrive "despite" integrating? Either way you turn it, the article is a piece that merits some scorn.