September 28, 2011

"Nelly Furtado Gives Gadhafi Money"

The elevators of the office building I work in contain screens run by the distastefully named "Captivate Network" (not because it's captivating, but because you are a captive in the elevator for twenty seconds; the name probably appealed to marketing geeks who have internalized their science). It's not all ads, and does feature news and sports scores, but I think it's most fascinating for the abuse the news headlines inflict on English. Tonight I saw "Nelly Furtado Gives Gadhafi Money"--by which they meant that she gave money from Qaddafi away to a charity; but it was pretty shocking to read. (If you don't see why, test the effect of the word order with the sentence "N. gives me money.")

The same little screen told me yesterday something like "77% of employees go to restaurants recommended by their work spouse." By work spouse, they mean what I would call a work-wife (a friend of either sex at work whom you regularly commiserate with), and some women call a work-husband. "Work-wife" is a joke; I don't think anyone is entitled to regularize it along the lines of wife-husband-spouse.

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