Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Be careful with words

James Kilpatrick recently wrote a wonderful column about the dangers in using foreign words and phrases. Writers must be careful to insure they understand the meaning of the word, and that they spell it correctly. Otherwise embarrasing errors can happen.

One example he gave concerned a reporter who used a Spanish phrase to (he thought) wish a Happy New Year to his Hispanic readers. The Spanish word for year is año (with a tilde). Either the reporter didn't know the difference, or his typesetter did not have the proper character. What he wrote was "Feliz ano neuvo." The word ano (without the tilde) means anus. You can imagine his consternation when he was told he had wished his readers a "Happy New Ass."

No comments: