Yesterday's Observer carried the following story: Mind your language, critics warn BBC.
About flaming time...
As a child, I can actually remember being told that the BBC was the arbiter of the Queen's English (we lack the equivalent of an Academie Francaise, you see). My English has always been extremely good, hence why I ended up in this trade, but even up until recently if I was unsure of something I could rely on the BBC to point me in the right direction on matters of language. Sadly, this is no longer true. And we certainly can't rely on the government to set standards - standards in English are what have been falling in schools for the last 30 years.
Tot take one example, the BBC website is a disgrace, from the language point of view. Most news reports on it carry at least one spelling error, not to mention poor punctuation and distinctly dodgy grammar. For a while I took a perverse pleasure in finding the errors then emailing BBC News Online to complain and see how long it took them to correct the page. But no more, because the errors are so many and widespread I'd never get any work done. It does make for an amusing read, though.
I hope the BBC does appoint a language chief. It certainly needs one. This may also be the only time I will ever agree with Ann Widdecombe on anything.