Sunday, July 11, 2010

Philippine Media People

Jose Carillo:
Why is it that many Philippine media people don't see anything wrong with using the adjective "presidential" to describe everything that pertains to the Philippine president? They are having a field day designating as "presidential" anybody or anything that relates to the President by blood, affinity, proximity, or fleeting special circumstance. We thus read about "the presidential mother," "the presidential sisters," "a presidential reporter," "the presidential squeeze," and even "the presidential stylist." Unless they have the potential of becoming the president herself or himself, though, they certainly are not "presidential" and shouldn't be described as such. 

In My Media English Watch for this week, I therefore enjoin reporters and editors in the Philippine media to cease and desist from misusing "presidential" and its kindred semantic spoiler "presidentiable" to set a good example for good English usage. Then, elsewhere in Jose Carillo's English Forum, I take up some strategies for avoiding semantic trouble when using the word "only" and offer advice to two students facing a tough situation in school—the first a badly written English-usage book coauthored by his professor, and the other a compulsory speak-English-only rule in the classroom.