Odd Toppled Trees
Posted: 29 October 2012 04:09 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Real English works its way into the speech of bureaucrats

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Posted: 30 October 2012 02:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The bit that leaped out at me was the phrase “the warned regions”. In BrE, I think, we’d have to use a considerably longer circumlocution - something like “the regions where the warning is in place”, or “those regions that are the subject of the warning”. I’m not even sure we could say “the regions that have been warned” without it sounding unnatural.

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Posted: 30 October 2012 02:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I noticed that one too. “Warned regions” seems to be the standard phrase in Environment Canada’s alerts. A quick Google turns up few others that use the construction.

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Posted: 30 October 2012 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Oh, that bureaucratic language, always using two words where seven or eight will do.

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Posted: 30 October 2012 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Wouldn’t “alerted regions” be a better way of describing them?

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Posted: 30 October 2012 07:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Perhaps “alert” and “warning” have technically different meanings in this context in Canada, just as in the US, a “tornado warning” and “tornado watch” are different.  Just speculating.

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Posted: 30 October 2012 08:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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This reminds me of “concerned”. “The areas concerned are in great danger”, “The concerned areas are in great danger”. “The concerned (worried or involved) parents are hoping their kids are OK”, “The concerned parents concerned are seeking help.”

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Posted: 30 October 2012 09:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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"Warned regions” reminds me more of headlineese than bureaucratese (specifically, the headlineese phrase, “area man” springs to mind: a phrase found in headlines like “killer ‘kept to himself’ says area man").  The bureaucratese version of “warned regions” would likely be quite long: you would need a cumbersome name for the regions themselves and a cumbersome name for the specific type of notice given, and you would also have to toss in some vagueness about agency.  (Imminent Risk of Harm Advisories have been distributed to the population centers deemed to face a Class II or higher risk of adverse climatic impact.)

Both headlineese and bureaucratese favor confusing constructions, but, broadly speaking, bureaucratese tends to be needlessly round-about (using eight words where two would have been fine) while headlineese tends to be so condensed as to be cryptic (using two where eight would have been helpful).  Of course, there are exceptions to everything.

A governmental agency whose role is providing weather alerts to the public via media sources would likely find itself using a blend of bureaucratese and headlineese: news releases are its stock in trade, but such items must be ran through a bureaucratic filter.  Happily, perhaps, this particular alert smacks more of headlineese to me.

[ Edited: 30 October 2012 10:11 AM by Svinyard118 ]
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Posted: 30 October 2012 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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"the regions which are subject to this warning”

There wouldn’t be a need to repeat which areas are subject to the warning or the cause of the warning because all that is supplied at the beginning of the announcement. But it’s still much wordier than “warned regions.”

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Posted: 01 November 2012 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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On a sort-of related note, a few years ago I enjoyed seeing the phrase “Take heed - may contain pits” on a jar of pimento-stuffed olives, rather than the standard “Warning...”

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Posted: 01 November 2012 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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They should have posted that notice at La Brea.

;-)

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Posted: 01 November 2012 05:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Picking up on Dr T’s potential distinction between alert and warning, I offer up and am slightly scared by Australia’s six levels of fire danger warnings. The lowest level is “Low-Mod”. The next goes straight to “High”. They then progress through “Very high”, “Severe”, “Extreme” to the top level: “Catastrophic”. Now that is a word you had best heed.

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