December 04, 2007

Mass songs, mass enemies and muss

A news item on next day's programmes in the metropolis one day described a session as of 'mass songs' by which the writer meant people's songs, from the Indian People’s Theatre Association of theatre-artists and others to bring about cultural awakening among the people in the early 1940s. Mass is a convenient translation of the Bangla word in question, gana. A student of journalism (mass communictions and journalism, gana yogayog o sangbadikata) in a story quoted political party leaders terming their rivals 'mass enemies' (people's enemy, ganashatru). Yet in another report the word was spelt 'muss.'

December 02, 2007

Including or such as

Crimes are crimes, nothing more and nothing less. But a report that landed the desk the other day defined crimes with an abused 'including' --- 'serious crimes including the arrest of a criminal with arms happened...' The arrest of criminals is a crime of a sort and an arrest with firearms is a crime of a more serious nature. 'Including' defines the nature of the phrase that precedes it; it does not make any addition. 'Three people, including a dog...' only equates dogs with humans.

'Including' is also misused in cases where 'such as' fits in. 'Concentrated urbanisation is typical of cities such as Khulna, Chittagong and Rajshahi.' An 'including' would have made the sentence go wrong. But the use of 'including' in 'the government will set up the plants in four cities including Khulna and Rajshahi' is correct. 'Such as' explains the nature of the phrase that precedes it.