Friday, 13 December 2013

Oxford blues

OK. Where's the one place you'd least expect to find a typo?

An academic institution perhaps? A university probably.

And, out of all the universities in the world, which is one of the most prestigious?

The University of Oxford?

OK.

But then, which department within the University of Oxford would be particularly careful about checking its use of English?

Even more so than the Faculty of English.

Ah yes. The Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics which, as it proclaims on its website, specialises in the study of the structure and history of languages, the evolution of language, and speech.

Well, I hear you say, if that Faculty has produced a typo, it's hardly surprising given that many of the concepts it researches on a daily basis are very complex.

So, the word which yields the typo must be some sort of complicated, highfaluting technical jargon, yes?

Er, no.

It's the word students.


Yes, students. The word which gives rise to the Faculty's existence. The word which portrays its very lifeblood.

And it's not as if the website has been lying unread for an age.

It was updated on 9 December. That's last Monday.

So, Oxford, never mind syntax, Proto-Indo-European and glottal stops.

Try a course in writing, reading and checking.

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