Wednesday, 5 June 2013

News: Literary Magpies, Tweets, And The National Language

Did Rudyard Kipling cop to plagiarism in a letter? In the Daily Telegraph, Christopher Howse says no. Plagiarism might be "the fairy godmother of invention" but also of lawsuits, pulped books, and ruined reputations.

Writing in the Guardian, Sarah Churchwell suggests that Kipling was a "literary magpie" who reworked certain themes from other works into his own. "Shakespeare's reliance on various older chronicles for his characters and plots is a commonplace," she writes, "and it would be ludicrous to suggest that in Paradise Lost Milton was 'plagiarising' the story of Genesis."

"As the columnist at a literary website, I once wrote about tough truths related to self-publishing. ... That editing and cover design are hard. That most self-published books earn only a modest return. That a lot of the advocates are just selling themselves. ... And that resulted in scores of people calling me profane names."

Rob W Hart's shift from self-publishing to traditional opens his eyes to how indie publishing has become a cult.

Erna Mahyuni, our favourite Sabahan laments the "slow, sad death of Bahasa Malaysia", which she suggests is partly aided by state media agencies. "According to Bernama, 'hurricane' is 'hurikan' and 'billionaire' is 'billionair' in Englayu," she writes, coining a new word of her own. "Utusan has coined the very rempit-sounding 'dijel” instead of 'dipenjara'."

Not to mention 'subjek' (subject) and 'bajet' (budget), But 'hurikan' is not a recent coinage. I remember seeing it in an old geography textbook once in school, along with 'siklon'. Odd, considering both refer to the same phenomenon.

Are the alleged offenders going to chalk it up to the pressure of tight deadlines? Erna cheekily suggests that, "Perhaps this is an insidious plot by seditious individuals who are trying to make English the national language. At the rate Bahasa is 'evolving' into English, we might as well just give up and replace the Kamus Dewan with the Oxford Dictionary."

Dengar, dengar.

Some tweets to share, including one from Sufian Abas:

...and Michael Ruhlman, marriage counsellor:

All in jest, I'm sure.

Right. What else is out there?


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