Thursday, 16 August 2012

English as it should be writ (Part 7)

Or "Singapore got Olympic medals in rowing meh?"

3rd of August 2012, sent this to Straits Times. Of course, it has not been published.


What shuttlers and paddlers are not

I know this letter will not be published as I complain, yet again, of how Straits Times (as a mass medium) commit[s] crimes of mass murder (ie massacre) against the English language.

Why do you insist on using “paddler” when referring to a table tennis player?

One paddles in water, using an object shaped like an oar, usually.

A table tennis player uses a “bat”. If the logic for using “paddler” is that table tennis players play with a “paddle” (and they most certainly do not), then why not use the term “batter”?

“Shuttle” means “frequent travel between two points”. Thus we have shuttle buses, shuttle flights, and until recently a space shuttle.

A “shuttler” would suggest a reference to someone who engages in such shuttling.

Why do you insist on using “shuttler” when referring to a badminton player?

A badminton player uses a racquet (or racket). If, following the paddler logic, badminton players are referred to by the equipment they play with, then surely the appropriate term should be “racqueter” (or “racketer”).

On the other hand if you wish to refer to the object badminton players propel to one another (ie the shuttlecock), then surely the correct term is “shuttlecocker”?

What about people who actually paddle in canoes and kayaks? They are rarely referred to as “paddlers”, and are definitely not “boaters” (which are hats) or “oarers” (as they use oars).

Why then do you inflict this murderous nonsense on the English language by calling people “paddlers” and “shuttlers” when “table tennis players” and “badminton players” would suffice?

As I write I notice that squiggly red lines appear under “paddler” and “shuttler”. Now any seven-year-old would be able to tell you that those squiggly red lines indicate wrongly-spelt words.

Quite enough said.


Just for the record, note these headlines:


S'pore's women paddlers through to quarter-finals

Published on Jul 31, 2012

Olympics: Good day for Singapore's shuttlers in singles events

Published on Jul 30, 2012


Olympics: S'pore women's table tennis team through to quarter-finals

Published on Aug 04, 2012

Olympics: Singapore men's table tennis team to face China

Published on Aug 04, 2012

But then,

but they have since reverted to 'paddlers'. Sigh.