Saturday, April 11, 2009

University of Calicut and its stupid certificate

Are you a graduate from the University of Calicut? If you are, there is ample chance that you are in possession of an ungrammatical certificate like the one I got in the early 90's. A few weeks back I needed it for some small purpose and laid hand on it after years. Out of curiosity I pored over it and found that it has a stupid howler on it. Half of its contents is a subordinate clause starting with 'whereas' and ending with a period without a main clause! Yes, on a certificate bestowed by a university is this howler.
The certificate reads thus:

Whereas it has been certified by duly appointed Examiners that [my name] is qualified to receive the Degree of Bachelor of Arts, he having passed and been placed
in Third Class in Part I,
in Third Class in Part II,
in Third Class in Part III, in [year], [year], [year] respectively.
The Senate of the University confers on him...

What follows after the period (The Senate of ...) should have been the main clause of this sentence. However, nobody in this university knew enough grammar (at least in the last 20 years) to correct this blunder. The grandiosity of the language may have served to hide this pitiable error. And the university has conferred/ continues to confer on thousands of unsuspecting students its diploma in the form of a certificate with this ridiculous blunder! During the last twenty years several vice-chancellors have come and gone and all of them must have manually signed these certificates in thousands. Who cares to read these diploma papers! Even if they had read, most of them wouldn't have recognised the howler. Each of the certificates thus issued is closely checked for errors but grammar or language is no concern during this check. One can never blame section officers and assistants when professors make stupid errors of this sort. Surely, no section officer or assistant could have composed this bombastic nonsense. It has a genuine 'professorial' imprint to it.
Is it that no body in these years brought this howler to the attention of the authorities? I don't know but I would like to tell you that it wouldn't have made any difference. I brought this to the attention of the university authorities. They never bothered to give a reply. Maybe you can bring about a change if you go the right way, that is, through proper channels, which would mean proper party channels. You need to be politically correct for that and I am not.

Here's a discussion about this on Wikipedia Reference Desk:Language.

PS: Not all certificates sold by this university bear this howler. For example, the BCom certificate doesn't have it but the BBA certificate has it. Not sure of BSc or PG certificates. If somebody reading this is intrigued into checking her certificate I would be thankful if they would give me some feedback.

Friday, April 10, 2009

English Language Column in Mathrubhumi Weekly

Mathrubumi and its periodicals has a special liking for idiots and I have treated this in a few of my earlier posts. Not content with stupidity in Malayalam, the weekly, Mathrubhumi Azchapathippu, has now an English language column to churn out puerile crap week after week. The columnist is one P.K. Jayaraj who can't put together a couple of reasonable sentences in decent language. In an earlier post I commented on this column.
Plainly, this guy who writes:
The history of modern English begins around A.D.450.

doesn't deserve an academic treatment as he is nowhere near the subject he pretends to be teaching through his naive, platitudinous utterances. Maybe, it is unwarranted harshness to call naïveté idiocy. Yet, abusing a popular weekly's pages to spread misinformation and foist idiocy on gullible learners is a crime. This columnist has been doing this for nearly a year now. If good-for-nothing fellows don't confine their good-for-nothing jobs to their private perversity, they are more than likely to get rude shocks in their public enterprises.
This week the columnist is zooming back in time in a time machine to survey the development of English language.
He starts his business with a ridiculous redundancy. "science fiction story". I don't know if it is acceptable elsewhere but certainly not in an English language column.
He talks of Celtic thus:
This language is entirely different from English.

A mere platitude but idiocy to boot. Celtic is a language family and not one language.
During 55 B.C. the British Isles were conquered by Romans. As a result a number of Latin words entered English.

So, English was there when Caesar arrived! How fast he zooms back in his time machine from his own A.D. 450!
Old English or Anglo-Saxon English was primarily Germanic.

Anglo-Saxon English! Anglo-Saxon was another name for Old English. So, Anglo-Saxon English is nonsense.
If you look closely you will have to find fault with every sentence he writes but it is not worthwhile. This is just a case of calling a spade spade. What else would a faculty member of this institution deserve? Oh, boy! that asinine page belongs to an "Institute of English"!

Click here and here to see the scanned pages of the column.