GRAUNIAD.

I have always loved the humorous reference to the Guardian as the “Grauniad” (and have used it on LH from time to time), and I always believed the explanation that it arose from the paper’s unique propensity for typos. Not so, as I learn from Wikipedia:

In fact, the paper was not more prone than other papers to misprints but because the paper was printed in Manchester, Londoners saw the first edition printed each night. National papers in Britain at this time contained large numbers of “typos” which they removed progressively as the night wore on and they were noticed. Thus a paper like The Times would have as many mistakes in the North of England as The Guardian did in London. However, because media opinion was set in London, only The Guardian got a bad reputation.

Sure, [citation needed] as they say, but it makes sense, and it made my day.

Comments

  1. I’ve always thought the actual name ‘Grauniad’ came from Private Eye.

  2. The wife of a Guardian columnist once told me of a leader writer who had that day started each paragraph of his piece with consecutive initials of his girlfriend’s first name.

  3. letters, not initials.

  4. So was The Times known in Newcastle as The Smite?

  5. I looked up on ProQuest the original of the spectacular misprints quoted here.
    One mistake in the 2009 piece is that the original is from 1961, not 1964. [Fri, Sep 29, p.11] The version on ProQuest appears to be the final edition, and most of the cited text is absent altogether. The issue also says on the front page, “some editions of the Guardian normally produced in London did not appear this morning. This was because of a Labour dispute.”

  6. But the Nurdgaia was famous for typos long after it fled south. That yarn sounds like excuse-making to me.

  7. I have never read a dead-tree copy of it but even though I read it online several times a week (if I can bear to look at Arsenal’s results), I still have to consciously and deliberately make myself spell Guardian properly. If I don’t, I will write Grauniad. More fun than the Torygraph.

  8. Perhaps LH would care to comment on the style issues raised in the piece Mollymooly links to ?

  9. Mostly utter nonsense. For example:

    As for “that” and “which”, my faith in the infallibility of the style guide’s formula (which I stole from a former colleague at the Independent) – “this is the house that Jack built; but this house, which John built, is falling down” – is daily tested by a near universal failure of my colleagues to observe the distinction.

    Does it not occur to you that the “near universal failure of my colleagues to observe the distinction” means that you and your barnacle-encrusted style guide have gotten the distinction all wrong? If you try to enforce rules that do not correspond to the actual rules of the language (those that its speakers unconsciously observe), you’re going to be continually disappointed.

  10. Well, I consider The Guardian to be mostly leftie pap and luvvie blandishments but, in its defence, I don’t find it to be any more typo-ridden than other newspapers.
    And I too always thought “Grauniad” was a concoction of Private Eye.

  11. The Guardian’s reputation for misprints has a more elaborate origin than just a rushed first edition.
    From the early 1960s, the paper was typeset half in Manchester and half in London – all hot-metal – with the two halves being united by “duplicated teletypesetting”: Linotype machines operated over phone lines. According to the paper’s official history, the chief sub at the time described it as “the most God-awful printing system ever invented”.
    Here’s how the consequences are described in the book (Changing Faces, by Geoffrey Taylor, Fourth Estate, 1993): “The cardinal weakness of the method was that it magnified electronically the errors which normally arise in keyboard operation, and since the proofreaders’ corrections took half an hour to reach one end from the other the paper was full of misprints, or literals as newspaper people like to call them. Thus was the long-standing title of Grauniad born in the pages of Private Eye. Moreover since compositors were paid for making corrections to other compositors’ work the inducement towards accuracy in the original setting was less emphatic than it might have been. The Guardian stuck with this system for 15 years.”
    (I work at the Guardian, but I’m commenting in a personal capacity. If there are any misprints in that quote, you can assume they arose in the course of my keyboard operations.)

  12. Foreign news was typeset in Manchester, so we can assume that Proquest’s archive is based on the London edition. Northern readers would have had their misprints in home news and politics. This excuse covers misprints up to 1986.

  13. Thanks very much for the insider view, Peter Robins; that sounds like the real story.

  14. Yes, thanks, Peter, for a down-and-dirty look at what newspaper (tele)typography used to entail.
    Reminds me of my student days in the 1960s helping to write headlines and proof galleys for the (U. of) Richmond Collegian in a pre-Civil War brick-and-wood firetrap that housed several hot-lead linotype machines operated by deaf typesetters. (Hot-metal typesetting was an unhealthy, but deaf-friendly occupation.)
    We had to manually tally headline widths to fit column widths in different type sizes: .5 for each ell (lowercase i, l, t, hyphen), 1 for each en (lowercase a, b, c, ndash, etc.), 2 for each em (m, w, mdash, most capitals IIRC).
    As the more junior of the (IIRC) only two males on the staff, I was assigned to proof the sports columns, whose author almost always overruled my genre-ignorant attempts to improve his prose.
    Later, at the U. of Hawai‘i, when I was anticipating a necessary transition from graduate linguistics into a publishing career, I spent one semester retyping printed columns onto a teletype machine that generated 5-bit Baudot code on strips to be fed into linotype machines. To make corrections you backspaced and punched through all 5 bits to make a NULL, then typed anew. You had to toggle caps and figs, and had almost no control over format. There was lots and lots of room for error.

  15. ‘From the early 1960s, the paper was typeset half in Manchester and half in London – all hot-metal – with the two halves being united by “duplicated teletypesetting”: Linotype machines operated over phone lines. According to the paper’s official history, the chief sub at the time described it as “the most God-awful printing system ever invented”.’

    That reminds me of a German exchange student, visiting relations of mine, asking what exactly the accident black spot signage meant (back in the bad old days in .ie, 1989 or so, when our roads were much worse and there was only a whisper of the money to fix them becoming available). On hearing the explanation he replied “In Germany we just fix the roads.” Some of that attitude wouldn’t have gone astray there, I think.

  16. “Does it not occur to you that the “near universal failure of my colleagues to observe the distinction” means that you and your barnacle-encrusted style guide have gotten the distinction all wrong? ”
    Oh Gawd – this reminds me of the Guardian style guide’s opinion about got/gotten. It disapproves of “gotten” because…well, tthey couldn’t hink of a rational answer, so they just said “because it just sounds ugly.”
    I thought “Gotten’ is the form in the Celtic Fringe dialects that were so influential in the US. Celtic fringe. What kind of useful criterion is “it just sounds ugly’ for these people? For these people the whole grunting language sounds ugly. How does that advice help?

  17. marie-lucie says:

    Do they also object to “forgotten”?

  18. Why the resistance to such gracious good help getting shotten of ylitteruhsee?

  19. @Jim:

    this reminds me of the Guardian style guide’s opinion about got/gotten. It disapproves of “gotten” because…well, tthey couldn’t hink of a rational answer, so they just said “because it just sounds ugly.”

    Now that really does call for [citation needed]. You may be thinking of this personal rant by Matthew Engel.
    The Guardian’s current online style guide makes no mention of gotten. It doesn’t need to: British journos wouldn’t dream of using it, other than in “ill-gotten”, any more than they would spell “colour” without a “u”. No value-judgement is implied.

  20. Now that really does call for [citation needed].
    i know it does, but i can’t be bothered; it was years ago and maybe they have had the senese to delete it off the page.
    ML – indeed.
    “No value-judgement is implied.”
    Just the rearguard pride of a linguistic minority.

  21. By coincidence the grammar lesson I taught today was present perfect. When I pointed the students to a list of irregular verbs in the back of the book with simple past and part participles, one of the students asked about the verb “get”. The past participle is listed as “gotten/got”. Which one is correct, she asked. Her examples:
    I get a present.
    I got a present.
    I have gotten a present.
    I have got a present.

  22. mollymooly: misbegotten? (from ‘beget’)

  23. Nijma, if you’re explaining the American distinction between “have got” and “have gotten“, the former means ‘possess [now]‘ and the latter ‘obtained [and still in effect]‘.

    “I have got a present.” ‘I now possess a present, probably with me.’
    “I have gotten a present.” ‘In the recent past, somebody gave me a present.’
    -
    “I’ve got twenty-six dollars.” ‘I’m holding twenty-six clams in my hands.’
    “I’ve gotten twenty-six dollars (for one baseball card).” ‘Once- and I’m still feeling it now- somebody bought a baseball card from me for $26.’

  24. I don’t see why you’re in a tizz. Molly is right. In Britain they don’t say ‘gotten’. What’s wrong with that?
    Do they say ‘gotten’ in Ireland?

  25. Do they say ‘gotten’ in Ireland?
    The Engel rant that Molly pointed us at links “gotten” with Irish nuns and the “Celtic fringe”.
    By the way, what about “got” as in “I have to admit it’s getting better”? Would Brits such as Lennon and McCartney say “it has gotten better” or “it
    has got better”?

  26. I got nothing (but an ObPratchett):
    The Truth Will Make You Fret

  27. “It has got better”. I think this sounds wrong to an American.

  28. AJP, yes it sounds wrong to me, but America is a big place. The textbook is Ventures3 from Cambridge University Press, a textbook of American English, so I don’t know why they would include a strictly British usage. Deadgod’s explanation was the one I gave the students; it’s the local usage they will need to understand here.
    When I taught from a British textbook in the middle east, the phrase “have got” was also used to mean “have”. I always thought “have got” for “have” was very correct in England but informal in America (in my hometown, it was a marker of the less prestigious country versus town–the kids who spoke like that came from the one-room-country-schoolhouse culture).

  29. What about
    I got rhythm, I got music, I got my girl
    Who could ask for anything more?
    I’ve got good times, no more bad times
    I’ve got my girl, who could ask for anything more?
    B. Streisand

  30. John Emerson says:

    “Got” has quite a range of non-standard uses in popular American English, e.g., “He got fired”(almost standard, Wiki seems to say) or “I don’t got any / none”.

  31. American English uses the preterite of a verb in some contexts where British English uses the perfect; e.g. with adverbs like “yet” or “already”.
    Idiomatic perfect “have got” for present “have” is noted by Dr Johnson but condemned by some later grammarians; some Americans condemned it as British. The subsequent “have got”>”got” alteration –as in “I got rhythm”– could be perfect>preterite change or ellipsis of “have”.

    “It has got better”. I think this sounds wrong to an American.

    To my ears, that exact form is unlikely as a standalone sentence with no supporting context. But, say, “American TV has got a lot better lately” is plausible.

    Do they say ‘gotten’ in Ireland?

    I sometimes say “gotten”, but mostly “got”, in contexts where Americans would say “gotten”. In my experience, a growing minority in Ireland use “gotten”. I suspect American influence rather than an indigenous dialect feature.
    As others note, all this applies only to the verb “get”, not to its derivatives “forget”, “beget”, where the older “-gotten” participle is still standard.

  32. B. Streisand
    ?!

  33. Sorry, is it Isiah Berlin?

  34. Sorry, is it Isiah Berlin?

  35. marie-lucie says:

    “What have you got here?”
    “I got fired”.
    I think these are Standard Colloquial – things that Standard speakers (in North America at least) say informally but which many writers would not use in a prose context.
    “I got married”. Some people would insist on “I was married”, but the latter is ambiguous about whether this refers to the date (“I was/got married in 1972″) or the continuing state of being married (“I was (already) married”). “S/he doesn’t want to get merried” is not normally the same as “S/he doesn’t want to be married”.

  36. “I don’t see why you’re in a tizz. Molly is right. In Britain they don’t say ‘gotten’. What’s wrong with that?”
    Nothing. It just means that that variety is missing an aspect distinction that the other variety has. No biggie da – any more than North American Standard is deficient compared to AAVE because it laclks the aspect distinction between “He is New York’ versus “He be in New York.”
    “”I got married”. Some people would insist on “I was married”,
    ML, you’re right. Again, it’s an aspect distinction.
    “But, say, “American TV has got a lot better lately” is plausible.”
    Now the distinction here is that you must be watching a lot less of it than previously.
    “Idiomatic perfect “have got” for present “have” is noted by Dr Johnson but condemned by some later grammarians; ”
    It has been regularized finally as “gots” as in He gots three of them.” Kids use it. I nearly had to beat it out of mine. I think this is used as a humorous touch.

  37. “Now the distinction here is that you must be watching a lot less of it than previously.”
    Is that a joke about American TV? If not, I don’t understand it.

  38. I don’t think anyone who’s watched a lot of American TV for a long period of time could plausibly maintain that it’s got, or gotten, a lot better lately.

  39. “Is that a joke about American TV?”
    Well, it tried to be , I guess, Molly. I am talking about the main network stuff.
    it’s boring enough that the big buzz recently was the Korean dramas some channels carry. superior to any of the English-language stuff. The Spanish- language stuff is even more off-putting – even the men are continually PMSing.

  40. AJP: There is a Wikipedia entry for “I Got Rhythm”, which was composed by George Gershwin. Have you never seen “An American in Paris”?

  41. 90% of everything is crap. It doesn’t matter if the 90% is getting crapper, as long as the other 10% is HBO and Comedy whatsit.

  42. bruessel: AJP was clearly joking. I don’t quite follow his joke in this case, but I’m sure he’s aware that the song was written by neither Streisand nor Isaiah Berlin.

  43. For laughs someone — Jerry Van Dyke? — used to deliberately screw up the rhythm when performing the song “I Got Rhythm” on voice and — banjo? I wish I could find it on YouTube.
    Presumably “Isaiah Berlin” is a reference to Irving Berlin. I’m guessing that Crown is almost as hazy as I am about the difference between Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and the Gershwins — all those guys whose songs were hits before our mothers were born — and knows it.

  44. Well, not literally before our mothers were born, for the most part, speaking for myself.

  45. There are certainly many idiomatic uses of “get”, I think usually meaning either a substitute for the causative “have” (‘I got my car washed.’) or an interesting synonym for “become” (‘I got drunk.’).
    The smearing of lexical distinction between ‘bring about, cause’ and ‘come about, become’ (‘I got [myself] married, but I don’t remember a thing.’ ‘Get [yourself] out!’) is an example of reflexivity, right?, middle-voice expansion (assumption? creep?).
    -
    By the way, Nijma, “I got 26 dollars in my hand.” is a Lou Reed verse (at least, as sung), I’m guessing not stolen from George Gershwin, though perhaps the melody was. Bonus for the kids: the song isn’t about heroin; it’s about need.
    -
    I thought that Thomas was the only “Isiah”. ?

  46. marie-lucie says:

    I heard an anecdote (reported as historically true) about I. Berlin: at one point a highly-placed person (perhaps even a US president) heard that Prof. Isaiah Berlin was visiting his city and expressed a wish to meet him. The flunkey who was entrusted with the task of tracking down a Mr I. Berlin promptly located Irving Berlin, who was invited and duly introduced as “Mr Berlin”. He and the highly-placed person had an interesting but confusing conversation, each one getting more and more puzzled about what his interlocutor was talking about, until the source of the problem was eventually identified.

  47. I’m guessing that Crown is almost as hazy as I am about the difference between Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and the Gershwins — all those guys whose songs were hits before our mothers were born — and knows it.
    Thank you, Professor Ø.

  48. Oh, look what I just found.

  49. They have them for people called Knight, Bishop, Castle and Cross too. There’s nobody here called Scissors is there?

  50. Has Anybody Here Seen Scissors? (Scissors from the Isle of Man.)

  51. Oh, look what I just found.
    Where are you finding these, Crown?

  52. You have a mac, I think?
    Under Edit. At the bottom, in ‘Special Characters’ you will find ‘miscellaneous symbols’. There.

  53. You have a mac, I think?
    Under Edit. At the bottom, in ‘Special Characters’ you will find ‘miscellaneous symbols’. There.

  54. marie-lucie says:

    Amazing! I had never noticed this on my Mac. That’s why you guys can write in Chinese, Hangul, Georgian, you name it.
    Churchill and I. Berlin: so it was Churchill, but the scene you link to is apocryphal, since it is reported by Isaiah Berlin, who was not present at the conversation; he must have invented the dialogue and the circumstances (he makes it sound like Lady Churchill wanted to meet Irving Berlin, while it is more likely that Sir Winston wanted to meet Isaiah Berlin).

  55. Thanks for the ✒ characters. I always know I’ll learn something here, but it’s often not what I expect. Also thanks to Peter Robins for the Guardian typesetting story.
    In case anyone hadn’t noticed, the lyrics for “I Got Rhythm” are by Ira, not George. (The lyric is?)

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