Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Dear Editor: I’ve tried to correct mistakes of grammar and pronunciation in the media, but they ‘held out’

Dear Editor: I’ve tried to correct mistakes of grammar and pronunciation in the media, but they ‘held out’

“[…] Introducing a pair of reporters to bring listeners up to date on a particular issue, night after night, the CNC3 tag team of news presenters tells us, for example, ‘Here is Radhica and Kristian de Silva…’

“The de Silvas are husband and wife and, therefore, a team. Thus, the newslady and newsgentleman may reason, a singular verb is required. But the verb remains singular when the tag team introduces ‘Radhica de Silva and Ivan Toolsie’ so there is room for denying them the benefit of the doubt…

“…unless, of course, de Silva and Toolsie are also seen as a team…”

The following Letter to the Editor discussing recent errors made in the media was submitted to Wired868 by a former teacher, whose request was ‘that my name be withholed’:

Image: A satirical take on language.

Nit-picking.

That is the typical reaction of many Trinidadians to any attempt to point out mistakes of grammar or of pronunciation—even in the media. In T&T, you see, even after what the pandemic has clearly demonstrated about teaching and education, few accept that the media have a genuine role to play in teaching and education.

Many media people, it should come as no surprise, are among them.

On Monday evening, in a result with major implications for the final top-four placings in the English Premier League, Newcastle defeated Mikel Arteta’s Champions-League-place-chasing Arsenal 2-0.

Late in the first half, Ben White, one of Arsenal’s central defenders, steered a left-side cross into his own net to give the Magpies the lead. Late in the second half, Bruno Guimaraes, a Newcastle midfielder, smashed a rebound high into the Arsenal net to make the score 2-0. That was the final score.

Photo: Please, God, let CNC3 get my name right…
Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimaraes (right) celebrates his England Premier League goal against Arsenal.

With a straight face, the CNC3 sports presenter reported on the 7pm news that the second Newcastle goal had been scored by ‘Rodriguez Mora’. That, one imagines, is the proper spelling but Rodrigues is an alternative and ‘Moura’ and ‘Moira’ are possible representations of the surname.

A google search turned up one Mora/Moura/Moira and three Rodriguezes/Rodrigueses in the English Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur’s Brazilian, Lucas Rodrigues Moura da Silva, Burnley forward Jay Enrique Rodríguez, and James (pronounced Ha-mesh) Rodríguez, the high-profile Colombian who left Everton for Qatari club Al Rayyan last year.

Among the squads of the two teams doing battle on the day, you could not find listed one Rodríguez/Rodrigues or a Moura/Mora/Moira. Or anything remotely resembling.

Where did the presenter get his info? It’s a good guess that he made it up right there and then. On the spot. He needed a name and he pulled one out of a hat.

And if that is not a scandal, I don’t know what is.

Photo: Wha…?

Let us be clear: you don’t have to be on the production side to see that the aforementioned presenter works very hard. There is no doubting that even if you are on the consumption side of the news equation. But even consumers know that if you spread yourself too thin in trying to please, there are inevitable consequences…

How many times has this same presenter told listeners in 2022 that ‘Batsman So-and So held out to long-on’? And how many times has he been told in writing in 2021 that the verb is not to ‘hold out’ (whence ‘held out’) but to ‘hole out’ (which makes the past tense ‘holed out’)?

Cue Trevor Farrell’s pithy phrase which sums it up so nicely: two-storey ignorance; you don’t even know that you do not know.

It is perhaps a stretch to conclude that there is contamination but here is a shred of evidence. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

For the last many weeks, a credit union has been running an ad on i95.5 FM just before the major news broadcasts. In it, the CEO refers to a clerk or an attendant or a customer service representative who finds him/herself transferred to a posting where (s)he must deal with new types of customers after being ‘pigeonheld’ in the same posting for a long time.

Image: A quip for grammar nerds…

Take a bow, Mr CNC3 Sports. Your persistence may have started you on the way to reforming the English Language.

His fellow presenters who handle the news are no less persistent. Repeated attempts have been made to bring to their attention a mistake they have been making for many moons now. It is, of course, possible that the messages have never reached them; they were sent via a member of the media who may well have dismissed the whole thing as nit-picking and declined to pass them along.

Introducing a pair of reporters to bring listeners up to date on a particular issue, night after night, the CNC3 tag team of news presenters tells us, for example, “Here is Radhica and Kristian de Silva…”

The de Silvas are husband and wife and, therefore, a team. Thus, the newslady and newsgentleman may reason, a singular verb is required.

But the verb remains singular when the tag team introduces “Radhica de Silva and Ivan Toolsie” so there is room for denying them the benefit of the doubt…

…unless, of course, de Silva and Toolsie are also seen as a team!

Photo: CNC3 media workers Radhica de Silva (right) and cameraman Ivan Toolsie cover a tense assignment.
The irate gentleman holding a chair is NOT Kristian de Silva.
(Copyright Rishi Ragoonath/ Guardian)

Its little consolation but their confusion—if confusion it is—seems to be shared.  After all, our already referenced presenter ties himself into a pretzel-like tangle trying to make sense of the house rule that sporting teams now require a singular verb—for years in the Guardian, the required verb was plural.

“Queen’s Park Cricket Club,” you might hear him say, “which is celebrating their recent capture of the T20 title, have announced that it will not be fielding two teams in their new T10 competition starting next month.”

Apologies. There are so many other nits to pick that my files yielded no example of an actual recorded utterance.

Here, however, is a nice little nit picked up on i95 FM just last week. The street in Carenage that was recently in the news is Abbé (pronounced Ah-bay) Poujade Street and not Abby (pronounced Ah-bee) Poujade Street.

And the Frenchness of that one recalls another from ESPN where radio and television commentator Ian Bishop’s Trinidadian voice makes all T&T proud during the IPL.

There is no such thing as ‘Russian roulay’, is there?

Image: A quip for grammar nerds…

Nor is there, as his New Zealand co-commentator felt constrained to point out immediately, any such thing as a ‘coo dee gra’, which one has also heard repeatedly on TV6.

There are plenty of Trini nits to pick without venturing into foreign tongues.

Ask Winford James.

About Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
Want to share your thoughts with Wired868? Email us at editor@wired868.com. Please keep your letter between 300 to 600 words and be sure to read it over first for typos and punctuation. We don't publish anonymously unless there is a good reason, such as an obvious threat of harassment or job loss.

Check Also

Dear Editor: If feters are doing as they please, why are we mandated to wear masks?

“[…] Over the last week we have held the Jam Naked Fete and the Stink …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

3 comments

  1. Scotty Ranking

    I fear that soon not only will there be a set of people who parrot these things as if they are in fact the ‘correct’ things to say and/or write but, of even more concern, the number of persons who are able to offer corrective assistance will have diminished to near nothingness!

    Watt a whirl two bee holed!

    • Earl Best

      “Corrective assistance”?
      My reading of the tea leaves tells me that we are headed to a place where “correct” as an adjective will be without meaning.
      Not tomorrow, not next week but…
      Nothing can stop progress.

  2. You expect better? Really?