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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Grammatical filibustering


The senators of the PP, the Junts and other groups committed an act of filibusterism on July 19, aided by grammatical sanity. Changing a simple letter in a bill (‘forced’ for ‘coerced’) has him returning to Congress, which may delay its approval by a few months.

“Filibusterism” is synonymous with “parliamentary obstruction” and to avoid this deadlines were set, shifts arranged and the agenda fixed. Now it may be necessary to add a caveat to the regulations: the purely linguistic corrections in the statutes will be applied by the barristers and board of directors on the fly, without delaying the process.

Such a regulation would be good, because a certain grammatical incompetence is increasingly appreciated in political and administrative language.

That Law on the Comprehensive Guarantee of Sexual Freedom it was already shrieking with that inner rhyme (“integral” and “sexual”), a cacophony that poets and those with good ears will immediately identify. For example, it would sound better “Law of Full Guarantee of Sexual Freedom”. And also, in the 5,682 words of its preamble, someone spotted an erroneous concordance that expresses what was not intended: “[La ley prevé] to recognize and respond to the most covert acts of sexual violence such as female genital mutilation, the detection of cases of abortion and forced sterilization”. It was already based on a horrific formulation because it seems that “case-breaking” is part of the most covert violence. But yes, they are not the same “abortion and sterilization cases forced” that “cases of abortion and sterilization forced” (because “forced” includes “abortion” and “sterilization”). The law is not intended to combat voluntary abortion, which is legal under certain conditions; however, the meaning of ‘forced’ should be clarified, as forced abortions may occur because of the danger to the mother’s life or health. With all that said, perhaps it would be better to write it like this: “[La ley pretende] to identify and counteract the most covert acts of sexual violence – such as female genital mutilation or the inducement of abortions and sterilizations”.

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Well, the grammatical problem was in the preamble, not in the operative part. Delaying the entry into force of such an important law for such a minor matter was therefore more of a political maneuver than a linguistic contribution.

If the emendants were interested in adding luster, they had other avenues for improvement (besides the many and obvious stylistic errors). For example, let’s see how the syntax of this phrase is explained: “Mandates the public authorities to promote the conditions that make the liberty and equality of the individual and of the groups into which he is integrated real and effective.” and instead “The boarding of violence” would be better “the treatment” so as not to add more violence with this approach. When speaking of acting “from a gender perspective”, it would be more convenient to write “with focus”. Three erroneous gerunds (“assume”, “assess” and “consider”) should be replaced by infinitives or personal forms of the verb. Where it denotes “the other administrations”, it should read “the other administrations”. the administrations”. And it seems strange to refer to the fields of “education, health and social health, digital and communications, advertising, labor, public administration and military” since they are more than one field, like a few. And where it says “requirements” you should have written “requirements”.

So if language improvement was the goal, they made bread like cake.

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Source elpais.com

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