A brief list of misused English terminology in EU publications [PDF] is a fascinating look at the emerging dialect of English that is emerging out of the EU bureaucracy, in which odd bureaucratic language has to be translated from and to many languages. It's a good window into concepts that are common in one nation's bureaucratic tradition, but not others':
Explanation: the most common meaning of ‘dispose of’ is ‘to get rid of’ or ‘to throw
away’; it never means ‘to have’, ‘to possess’ or ‘to have in one’s possession’. Thus, the
sentence ‘The managing authority disposes of the data regarding participants.’ does not
mean that it has them available; on the contrary, it means that it throws them away or
deletes them. Similarly, the sentence below does not mean: ‘the Commission might not
have independent sources of information’, it means that the Commission is not permitted
to discard the sources that it has.
Example: ‘The Commission may not be able to assess the reliability of the data provided
by Member States and may not dispose of independent information sources (see paragraph
As Bruce Sterling says, "I would not expect 'Brussels English' to get any closer to grammatically correct British English; on the contrary I would expect it in future to drift into areas of machine translation jargon, since that’s a lot cheaper than hiring human translators who are as skilled as the author of this document."
Web Semantics: Brussels English
From the late 1800s to the early 1940s, many Americans celebrated Thanksgiving by dressing up as “ragamuffins” in masked costumes and then thronged the streets, basically trick-or-treating for money and gifts.
The Teddytaur is an actual, $400 product, made from alpaca-wool, sold by high-end toymaker Steiff in its Japanese store. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
It’s real and it does exactly what it says it will: send Dumb Cuneiform a tweet or an SMS message and they’ll transliterate it into ancient Persian cuneiform, stamp it into a clay tablet and mail it to you. $20. It’s Snow-Crash-a-riffic.
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