Monday, April 19, 2004

We command you to speak well!

The Prague Post published a story April 1 about parliament tacking on an amendment to a media bill requiring nationally broadcast commercial radio and TV news programs to use correct grammar.

Media types were not amused.

"Language is a living and constantly evolving thing, and punishing broadcasters for using language evolving in a different direction than that which appeals to communist deputy Ivana Leva is ridiculous," said a programming director, referring to the sponsor of the bill.

Leva taught grammar for 30 years and couldn't believe the amendment caused such a ruckus. "I, as a Czech teacher, had to speak correctly in the classroom, and moderators should, too, because where are people supposed to hear proper Czech if not in the media?"

The law doesn't specify what good grammar is. How could it? Nor does it list the consequences of bad grammar.

The story has a box with some common Czech phrases you might not hear anymore if such a bill were passed. And a picture of the sponsor.

Also, a nice headline: Parliament backs good grammar; Shoddy grammar is a thing up with which parliament will not put.

Yes, I considered that this might be an April Fool's joke. I mean, it's crazy, right? But here is a story from another source confirming that when the amendment went to the Senate, it was voted down.


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