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The Pedant

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Lord Muck oGentry
Posts: 634
Joined: September 1st, 2007, 3:48 pm

Re: The Pedant

#121 Post by Lord Muck oGentry » December 14th, 2009, 3:26 am

Latest post of the previous page:

Hundovir wrote:
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:
jaywhat wrote: How dare they then change the spelling to suit thier mis-pronunciation and then have the gall (whatever that is) to accuse us of spelling it wrongly.
Tush, man! Get it rightly! :D
I think jaywhat's wording is fine. "Wrongly" is an adverb and it is modifying the verb "spelling". All proper and correct.

"Get it rightly" doesn't work as sarcasm because...

in the phrase "get it right", "right" is an adjective modifying the (pro)noun "it".
Fair enough.
I got it wrongly. You got it right. :)
What we can't say, we can't say and we can't whistle it either. — Frank Ramsey

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jaywhat
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Joined: July 5th, 2007, 5:53 pm

Re: The Pedant

#122 Post by jaywhat » December 14th, 2009, 6:45 am

I said that stuff in October - couldn't remember even saying it - but found it now and am competely worn (wore) out.
- and no, I didn't say it I wrote it - ok ok

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jaywhat
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Re: The Pedant

#123 Post by jaywhat » January 1st, 2010, 8:57 am

I joined in the 'decade' discussion on our countdown thread and have put this here as a follow up - from the all-embracing wikipedia:

Although any period of ten years is a decade,[1][2] a convenient and frequently referenced interval is based on the tens digit of the calendar year, as in using the term "1960s" to represent the decade from 1960 to 1969.[3][4] Often, for brevity, only the tens part is mentioned (60s or sixties), although this leaves it uncertain which century is meant. These references are frequently used to encapsulate pop culture or other widespread phenomena that dominated such a decade, as in The Great Depression of the 1930s.[citation needed]

Some writers[5] like to point out that since the common calendar starts from the year 1, its first full decade contained the years from 1 to 10, the second decade from 11 to 20, and so on. The interval from the year 2001 to the end of 2010 could thus be called the 201st decade, using ordinal numbers.[citation needed]

In addition to the interpretations noted above, a decade can refer to any arbitrary span of 10 years. For example, the statement "during his last decade, Mozart explored chromatic harmony to a degree rare at the time" merely refers to the last 10 years of Mozart's life, without regard to which specific calendar years are encompassed.[citation needed]

Thus, an unqualified reference to, for example, "the decade" or "this decade" can, strictly speaking, have multiple interpretations. One must consider whether the context is, for example, a cultural reference, an ordinal reference, or some other context.[citation needed]

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Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The Pedant

#124 Post by Alan H » January 18th, 2010, 9:27 pm

Latest pedantry from The Times:
********************************************************************************
The Pedant: Unhappy endings - Times Online
http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life ... 989972.ece
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Pedant: Unhappy endings
Explaining the confusion over the endings of some words
Oliver Kamm

A lecturer at a new university proposed that wayward undergraduate spellings be accepted as “variants” rather than mistakes. Times readers are unlikely to allow this newspaper similar latitude. We published a story last week about a fantasist who had worn a huge collection of military medals to a Remembrance Day parade. Listing the medals, we said of one: “Awarded to some British personnel but not allowed to be worn publically.”

The spelling “publically” is so widespread that spellchecking software accepts it. The word is not “publically” but “publicly”. (While the errant spelling appeared in the online version, our print edition carried the right spelling. I omitted to inform my colleagues of the discrepancy, just so that I ccould get a column out of it.) Why is “publically” wrong?

Consistency will get you only so far. You might argue that the adjective is “public” and not “publical”, so the adverb ought to be “publicly”. By contrast, the adjective “economical” (as well as “economic”) does exist, and the adverb is properly spelt “economically”. Likewise, the adjective “magical” is in common use and the adverb is “magically”. But this line of reasoning is easily refuted. There is no such word as “barbarical”: the correct adjective is “barbaric”. Yet the adverb is “barbarically”.

There is no strict logic to it, but always write “publicly” and protest vigorously if you see “publically”. A New York Times columnist commented last week that the Senate Majority leader had “not seen his support from his Democratic colleagues or the administration slip publically”, and got it as wrong as we did. There are many American variants in English usage, but “publically” isn’t one of them.

I note this misspelling because it’s common. There are others that are less frequent but still important to get right. Here is the journalist Beatrix Campbell writing in The Guardian: “As we emerge from these conferences in the midst of a global economic tsunami, we are reminded of the idiosyncracy of English politics.” That was no typo, for here is Campbell again: “But then these debates always arise from idiosyncracy, ambiguity and uncertainty. . . .”

The word is “idiosyncrasy”. Some writers misspell it because they imagine it is like “democracy” or “autocracy”. But the derivation is different.

Idiosyncrasy comes from the Greek “crasis”, meaning mix. Democracy and autocracy come from “kratos”, meaning power. To confuse the endings is to show indifference to political history and not just language.

thepedant@thetimes.co.uk

[Retrieved: Mon Jan 18 2010 21:25:35 GMT+0000 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Hundovir
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Joined: June 21st, 2009, 3:23 pm

Re: The Pedant

#125 Post by Hundovir » January 18th, 2010, 11:17 pm

^^^^

Now that's the way to go!

Actually thinking about the use of language.

I might have to take out a subscription.

Hundovir.

(Mon-Fri = "The Times"; Sat = "The Grauniad" (and often "The Telegraph"); Sunday = "The Observer")

philbo
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Joined: December 18th, 2009, 3:09 pm

Re: The Pedant

#126 Post by philbo » January 20th, 2010, 10:09 am

Alan H wrote:Latest pedantry from The Times:
********************************************************************************
The word is “idiosyncrasy”. Some writers misspell it because they imagine it is like “democracy” or “autocracy”. But the derivation is different.

Idiosyncrasy comes from the Greek “crasis”, meaning mix. Democracy and autocracy come from “kratos”, meaning power. To confuse the endings is to show indifference to political history and not just language.
Brilliant.. but what he fails to realize is that "idiosyncracy" actually means "rule by sinning idiots" aka politics pretty much as we know it.

Gottard
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Joined: October 3rd, 2008, 3:11 pm

Re: The Pedant

#127 Post by Gottard » February 10th, 2010, 4:10 pm

About the opportunity for Humanists to use the term "Chaplain"
To those not familiar with Humanism the answer goes like:
- a priest assisting in hospital
- a Jewish assistant
- a clergy engaged in the army.

The Webster dictionary states:
Main Entry: chaplain
Pronunciation: \ˈcha-plən\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English chapelein, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin cappellanus, from cappella
Date: 14th century
1 : a clergyman in charge of a chapel
2 : a clergyman officially attached to a branch of the military, to an institution, or to a family or court
3 : a person chosen to conduct religious exercises (as at a meeting of a club or society)
4 : a clergyman appointed to assist a bishop (as at a liturgical function)

Do you agree with using 'chaplain' in a Humanist/Atheist environment or would you rather suggest a more appropriate term?
e.g.: would in your opinion 'aid and comfort celebrant' be a viable alternative?
The only thing I fear of death is regret if I couldn’t complete my learning experience

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getreal
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Re: The Pedant

#128 Post by getreal » February 10th, 2010, 4:54 pm

To me a chaplin is always a religious person.

Why not just "celebrant"?
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

Hundovir
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Joined: June 21st, 2009, 3:23 pm

Re: The Pedant

#129 Post by Hundovir » February 10th, 2010, 5:03 pm

getreal wrote:To me a chaplin is always a religious person.

Why not just "celebrant"?
You're doing this deliberately aren't you gr? :laughter:

jamesjones950
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Joined: January 6th, 2010, 9:59 am

Re: The Pedant

#130 Post by jamesjones950 » February 10th, 2010, 6:06 pm

I can't help thinking we should adopt the word chaplain, if only to give Humanists the opportunity to apply for such positions with the NHS.
Harrogate District Hospital employs two full time and two part time chaplains, and last year they were paid £97,815.
As and when vacancies occur for chaplains in our local hospitals, let's all apply and see how far we get :wink:
a "New Atheist" for the last 55 years

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jaywhat
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Re: The Pedant

#131 Post by jaywhat » February 11th, 2010, 6:23 am

Humanist Chaplin? sounds a bit of a charlie.

I am opposed to any chaplains being funded by the NHS which should be using its money for patients' medical care.

Gottard
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Re: The Pedant

#132 Post by Gottard » February 11th, 2010, 10:05 am

peneasy wrote: e.g.: would in your opinion 'aid and comfort celebrant' be a viable alternative?
...or rather
'aid and comfort practitioner'
'aid and comfort consultant'
'aid and comfort old-timer'
'aid and comfort master'
The only thing I fear of death is regret if I couldn’t complete my learning experience

Fia
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Joined: July 6th, 2007, 8:29 pm

Re: The Pedant

#133 Post by Fia » February 12th, 2010, 12:18 am

Humanist Celebrants were originally called Officiants. But that sounds, well, rather too official and formal. Celebrant is better, except in cases of difficult funerals the whole celebratory aspect is not appropriate for the family. Some Celebrants are known in their communities as the Humanist Minister. To a great extent that's much better, it's re-appropriating the word...

But the word I'd really like to re-appropriate is congregation. Which is people congregating, that's all. How many of you instantly had a mental picture of a church? Wrest it back to it's real meaning I say :)

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Alan H
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Re: The Pedant

#134 Post by Alan H » February 13th, 2010, 8:16 pm

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Headlines are subs’ standard, not substandard -Times Online
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 025645.ece
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Headlines making headlines. On Wednesday Douglas Robertson wrote from Weybridge: “How would you care to set to one side for a moment your copy of Fowler, and hear a gripe from a mathematician/ engineer? There is a headline on page 8 declaring ‘Free care at home Bill could cost more than £1bn’. No it won’t — the cost could be more than £1bn a year. It’s not, as the headline implies, a one-off cost, but a recurring one — and there is a world of difference. It is most irritating to one for whom accurate mensuration is as much a matter of pedantry as is correct English usage. Perhaps your sub-editors might take note?”

I have mentioned before the trouble that headlines can cause. The Press Complaints Commission acknowledges that headlines pose particular challenges as they are, of necessity, an extreme reduction of a complex story. For this reason the PCC routinely says that it expects readers to obtain their facts from the whole text of the story, not merely the headline. In this instance we made it clear in line three of the first paragraph, and throughout the report, that we were referring to annual costs.

Still, at least Mr Robertson is aware of the role of sub-editors; many readers believe that writers also supply headlines for their copy (a recent complaint began “On the presumption that Richard Morrison wrote the headline to his article, would someone please tell him . . .”). Susan Peters thinks it would be better if they did: “In the days of printing presses it must have been a tricky, specialist business manipulating the type to create headlines to fit the page. Now that pages and type size can be manipulated with ease on a computer, I have often wondered why journalists still don’t seem to be given the task of writing the headlines for their own copy. Surely it would be quicker and easier for journalists immersed in a story to come up with an appropriate and accurate headline rather than a poor sub-editor battling against the clock.”

New technology hasn’t really made headline-writing much easier. If a designer lays out a page with a 72pt headline in three lines across two columns(about eight measly characters per line), that’s what the subs have to write — they can’t do a 20-word headline and manipulate the design to accommodate it.

The big difference now is that subs can write the headline directly into the page on screen and see immediately what fits, rather than scribbling it on a piece of paper and engaging in the laborious and lost art of character counting. But headline writing remains a specialist skill; great headline writers, especially on features, are highly prized creatures. And of course reporters can’t know, when they file their copy, which parts will survive the editing process, so their headline might fail to reflect the finished version. Even in the age of multiskilling, on the whole reporters report, and subs do the rest.

The long and short Peter Jenkin observes: “A recent front page included the following: ‘Lord Myners told peers that “behavioural consequences of the new higher rate of taxation” — shorthand for tax avoidance — had forced the Treasury to lower its expectations.’ Short? Well, let us be kind and assume irony rather than an inability to count words. The normal phrase nowadays is ‘code for’, but that is a little curt after such magnificent prolixity. How about ‘alluding to’?” Actually, “longhand for” would have done nicely.

And John Boulton asks: “Should I draw a matter to someone’s attention, or should I draw someone’s attention to a matter? I just can’t decide which is the more obviously drawable (or ductile) — a matter or an attention. Fowler is silent on the issue, sadly — he’s just the chap who would have had an opinion.” I’m rarely short of an opinion myself, but I’ve tried several permutations in my head and can’t help feeling that the drawing works equally well in both directions.

Verbal gymnastics Frank Molyneux writes from Norwich: “David Aaronovitch does not disappoint in his use of words. I wrote some 18 months ago about his use of ‘steatopygic’, and last week he surpassed himself with the word ‘yclept’. I suspect that, like me, many readers thought this was a misprint; however, research online reveals that the word does exist and means ‘named’. Why did DA not use ‘named’ in his article, and why did the subs not change it so we all knew what he meant?”

Personally I’m pleased when writers expand my vocabulary with exotica, even if they make me reach for my dictionaries (and these words are both in Collins and the OED). Wouldn’t it impoverish us if subs routinely reduced every article to the same few hundred thousand words?

On the other hand, Robin Warne e-mails: “Congratulations are in order to your environment editor, Ben Webster, and to the sub-editor who allowed him to get away with it. He quoted Professor Beddington, talking about climate change, as saying: ‘All of these predictions have to be caveated ... ’. If this hadn’t been a quote it would undoubtedly have been excised as offending every pedant who has written to Feedback (and those pedants, myself included, who have not previously done so). We know by now that there is no noun that cannot be verbed. But here is a Latin verb, Englished, nouned, and then verbed again — which makes it something special!”

Aw shucks, it was nothing, although I must say I take pride in having brought you this week mensuration, steatopygic, yclept, ductile and prolixity, all in one column. Talk about value for money.

[Retrieved: Sat Feb 13 2010 20:15:27 GMT+0000 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The Pedant

#135 Post by Alan H » February 16th, 2010, 10:26 pm

********************************************************************************
The Pedant: Choice words - Times Online
http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life ... 028079.ece
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Pedant: Choice words
Why so many use Hobson’s Choice incorrectly
Oliver Kamm

Economic commentators considered the Greek debt crisis and reached for a stock phrase. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote in The Daily Telegraph last week: “Germany faces a Hobson’s Choice.” This choice, he said, was between financial help for Greece or “a sovereign version of the Lehman crisis”. He said it again yesterday: “If [Angela Merkel] blocks Europe’s leap to fiscal union at this fateful moment, she dooms monetary union to failure. Such is the Hobson’s Choice that has awaited Berlin ever since Maastricht.”

Meanwhile, Nouriel Roubini wrote in Forbes magazine: “In tackling the deficit, Greece faces a Hobson’s Choice: whether to accept social pain with financial and economic stability, or instability.”

Will Hutton wrote in The Observer: “Faced with the Hobson’s Choice of permanent economic stagnation, or adjustment within the euro zone and some light at the end of the tunnel, [Iceland] has plumped for the latter.”

Each writer is suggesting that a country must make, or has already made, an unpalatable economic choice. But Hobson’s Choice does not mean a choice between bad options. It means no choice at all. The commentators are trying to convey the important message that economic decisions have costs. But this invocation of Hobson’s Choice is a solecism as well as a cliché.

The phrase is associated with Thomas Hobson, who drove the coach between Cambridge and London from 1564 to 1630. Hobson owned the local stables and would hire out his horses, but his customers had to take whichever horse was closest to the door. The horse was thus literally Hobson’s choice and not the customer’s. John Milton wrote a poem about him: “Here lies old Hobson; Death hath broke his girt,/And here, alas, hath laid him in the dirt . . . .”

Among the fraternity of economics commentators (to which I belong) it’s rare to find an accurate use of the term Hobson’s Choice. Magicians, however, know exactly what it means. A conjuror who asks you to select one pile of cards among several will give the illusion that you have a free choice. But you don’t: the conjuror will “force” you to select a particular pile without your realising it. You have a true Hobson’s Choice.

Unless you’re writing about magic or Milton, I recommend avoiding the term. If you use it accurately, you’ll probably be misunderstood. But there is a variant of Hobson’s Choice that appears in newspaper headlines. My term for this usage is “Great Historical Questions to Which the Answer is No”. For example, The Daily Mail ran an article last week with the headline: “Will opening this tomb prove Shakespeare didn’t write his plays?” And another from the Mail: “Was Jesus taught by the Druids of Glastonbury?” When a writer has an absurd hypothesis and no evidence, the rational course is to cast it as a fatuous question and “force” an answer to it while giving the reader the illusion of choice. Spotting examples of this Hobson’s Choice for the gullible is a rewarding recreation.

thepedant@thetimes.co.uk

[Retrieved: Tue Feb 16 2010 22:25:26 GMT+0000 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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getreal
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Joined: November 20th, 2008, 5:40 pm

Re: The Pedant

#136 Post by getreal » February 16th, 2010, 10:45 pm

Even I know that "Hobson's choice" means no choice at all.

2 misuses of titles I hate.

1.Calling anyone who works in any way, however tenuous, with engines, an "engineer".
So apparently plumbers are "heating engineers", car mechanics are "motor engineers" someone I know describes himself as an "aircraft engineer", which I thought meant he had some input into the design of aircraft and their engines. Not so, he maintains them for BA.

Why can people not have pride in what they do? What's wrong with being a plumber or a car mechanic?

2. Nurse
When I began my 3 years training to be a registered nurse, we were told (by the very stuffy nurse tutor) that the only people entitled to call themself "nurse" are qualified, registered nurses. Throughout my training we were called "student nurse" (or, more often, "hey you!"). The term "registered nurse" is a protected title.

Unfortunatly, "engineer" is not a protected title in the UK and while "registered nurse" is protected, "nurse" is not.
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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jaywhat
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Re: The Pedant

#137 Post by jaywhat » February 17th, 2010, 7:42 am

What about 'rodent operative' ?

To be ultra pedantic, I am not sure that this subject would correctly come under this heading

Nick
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: The Pedant

#138 Post by Nick » February 17th, 2010, 10:30 am

getreal wrote: 1.Calling anyone who works in any way, however tenuous, with engines, an "engineer".
So apparently plumbers are "heating engineers", car mechanics are "motor engineers" someone I know describes himself as an "aircraft engineer", which I thought meant he had some input into the design of aircraft and their engines. Not so, he maintains them for BA.

Why can people not have pride in what they do? What's wrong with being a plumber or a car mechanic?
Hmmm... Except that I don't think the word engineer derives from engine, but rather the reverse. After all, a civil engineer builds roads. Not an engine in sight.

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jaywhat
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Re: The Pedant

#139 Post by jaywhat » February 17th, 2010, 11:34 am

.... a civil engineer builds roads. Not an engine in sight.

I think there just might be an engine or two in sight these days! :smile:

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Alan H
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Re: The Pedant

#140 Post by Alan H » February 18th, 2010, 4:01 pm

getreal wrote:Unfortunatly, "engineer" is not a protected title in the UK and while "registered nurse" is protected, "nurse" is not.
Quite. Sir Monty Finniston had something to say about that a few decades ago, but the Government all but ignored him.

Of course, 'doctor' isn't protected either, but 'chiropractor' and 'osteopath' are. What a mess.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: The Pedant

#141 Post by Nick » March 8th, 2010, 2:22 pm

First of all, let me acknowledge that I am lucky that this does not apply to me. Secondly, I mean no offence to anyone so affected. But....

I am puzzled and mildly irritated by the use of 'disabled' instead of 'handicapped'.

If an engine is disabled, it doesn't work. If a bomb is disabled, it won't explode.

If a horse is handicapped, but it can still overcome the handicap and win.

Why has the one word replaced the other? It seems such a negative outlook. To have a disability seems to imply that nothing can be done, that it can't be compensated for.

Likewise, "learning difficulties". My mums rubbish at maths, that's a learning difficulty.

A couple of dear friends have a severely autistic son. Learning difficulties? For him it's learning impossibilities. The description does not describe his condition at all.

Please note, I am not being critical of anyone afflicted in any such way. I'd just like them to feel nearer the able-bodied and make them more welcome into the mainstream. I know that words can wound, sometimes in surprising ways, and that is certainly not my intention, but as you can tell, I am a bit nervous about this post. Am I being unfeeling, or just pedantic?

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