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Plain English campaign news articles

PEC rues departure of English football's 'finest orator'

Language group Plain English Campaign says it hopes to see Jose Mourinho’s swift return to football following his departure from Chelsea Football Club. Mourinho, who refers to himself as ‘The Special One’, is well known for his love of using strange and overextended metaphors during press conferences. He is already in the hat for the campaign’s annual ‘Foot in Mouth’ award as a result of his ‘omelettes and eggs’ comments earlier this week (see below).

“Not since Eric Cantona has a footballing figure had so unique an approach to the English language.” said a Campaign spokesman. “Jose Mourinho is possibly the finest orator the English game has seen since Eric Cantona, and will be sorely missed.”

Last year, Plain English Campaign supporters voted Bill Shankly’s famous ‘life and death’ line the best footballing quote of all time.

Six of the best Mourinho quotes

  • 'I am more than unhappy. Unhappy is a nice word.'
  • 'The moral of the story is not to listen to those who tell you not to play the violin but stick to the tambourine.'
  • 'Usually, when you score two and concede one, you win the game.'
  • 'Almost. But in football, almost is almost.'
  • 'It's like having a blanket that is too small for the bed. You pull the blanket up to keep your chest warm and your feet stick out. I cannot buy a bigger blanket because the supermarket is closed. But the blanket is made of cashmere.'
  • 'In the supermarket you have class one, two or class three eggs and some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes. So when the class one eggs are in Waitrose and you cannot go there, you have a problem.'

English standards debate begins as top grade A-level results top 25%

Plain English Campaign has joined the debate about the standard of English in British schools and colleges, as government test results revealed 40% of pupils are failing to meet required standards in the ‘Three Rs’. The Government’s Key Stage Three tests showed that nearly 200,000 children failed to write in a formal style or spell words with more than two syllables.

This week also saw the publication of a list of writing ‘howlers’ collected by the respected academic Dr Bernard Lamb, who claimed that foreign students were better at spelling than their British counterparts. Yet top grade A level results have risen from just over 15% to around 25% in the last ten years.

'It is so disappointing to know that children are growing up without being able to read and write properly’, said Campaign founder/director Chrissie Maher. ‘Pupils need to be taught grammar and spelling at an early stage so that they develop good writing skills for later life. I couldn't read or write properly when I was a child and I know how difficult life can be because of this.'

Poacher turns gamekeeper as radio DJ joins Plain English Campaign

Plain English Campaign has just announced the appointment of its new press officer. He is Steve Jenner, afternoon presenter and Operations Director on North West Derbyshire commercial radio station High Peak Radio.

Steve joins the Campaign immediately and will be based at Combs near Chapel-en-le-Frith in the High Peak district of Derbyshire. "I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” said Steve. “I’m setting up an e-mail news service and I’m hoping to be run off my feet with demands for interviews. We have our own ISDN studio and hope to provide you with quick, useable quotes on demand."

Campaign launches its Advanced Grammar Course in Manchester

Plain English Campaign announced the launch of the Advanced Grammar course in Manchester. Previously the course has only been available in London.

"It's a very popular course but it's not one for the faint-hearted", said the Campaign's Steve Jenner. "It is about the grammar of standard English - the language of print, education, business and the professions. It is very intense but there will be time to discuss problems. Now we're introducing the course in Manchester we're hoping for the same enthusiastic take-up we achieved in London."

The course will take place at the Thistle Manchester Hotel on Portland Street, Piccadilly Gardens on 18 September 2007. Please contact us if you would like to book a place.

Volkswagen launch plain English advertising campaign

The car manufacturer Volkswagen has launched a new marketing campaign which attacks the use of gobbledygook and 'spin' in modern advertising. The campaign, which promotes the firm's Passat model, features simple descriptions of everyday items such as a cup of coffee, alongside longer versions such as 'double-choc cinnamon mochaccino with cream'. The car is then 'positioned as a simple concept in a world of fluff' according to Proximity London, the agency behind the campaign. Volkswagen is keen to be seen as a company that 'thinks like its audience'.

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