Figures of Speech HOME

Home

2017

2016

2015

December

November

The month

Shaken, stirred and rusted

Climatic

Language Lab

Tumbril for two

Engaging God

Enlightenment redux

Jigsaw grammar

Antisocial media

Highbrow cat-stroking

Myth Thwitzerland

Rousseau's NBFF

Mars speaks

Wiki-wacky

Microsoft. How do I hate thee?

All Souls' Day

All Saints' Day

How to lose money

October

September


Discussion group

Updated content

Contents list

Site search

Blogroll

About


Schubert collection

The dramatic Climatic Unit

Posted by Austin Morris on UTC 2015-11-27 09:54.

Our Department of Hopeless Causes has passed a request on to us that they recently received from a sufferer from Wittgenstein's Disease. Sufferers are advised not to read the rest of this post unless sitting or lying in a safe space.

As a Wittgenstein's sufferer, why does any mention of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia trigger an instantaneous, severe brain reboot? Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

For the benefit of other sufferers reading this, the first part of the explanation uses substitute words to explain the problem by analogy and can be read without risk.

  1. Drama: a play, an exciting event etc. This word really needs no further definition.
  2. Dramatic: events or a story having the nature of a drama, the characteristics of a drama etc.
  3. Drama Research Unit: can be construed either as a drama-research unit or a drama research-unit. In either case we understand that this thing is a unit carrying out research into drama.
  4. Dramatic Research Unit: can be construed either as a dramatic-research unit, a meaning difficult to comprehend, or a dramatic research-unit, in this case a research unit having the characteristic of drama, which sounds like a stressful place to work!

Every right-thinking speaker of English with any grasp of the language they use will appreciate that Drama Research Unit is the form to use if you are founding a unit to carry out research in drama, theatre studies, etc.

Into the climatic zone

Wittgensteiners should probably stop reading now, the point having been made and the analogy outlined. But, since the CRU is clearly run by language defectives, we have to put the dot on the 'i' for them explicitly.

  1. Climate: a long-term meteorological condition or state etc. This word really needs no further definition.
  2. Climatic: events or conditions having the nature of climate, the characteristics of climate etc. The climatic conditions in the early Holocene.
  3. Climate Research Unit: can be construed either as a climate-research unit or a climate research-unit. In either case we understand that this thing is a unit carrying out research into climate.
  4. Climatic Research Unit: can be construed either as a climatic-research unit, which tells us that the research undertaken by this unit is climatic, that is, has the nature of climate, which is nonsense. It could also be understood to be a climatic research-unit, in this case a research unit having the characteristic of climate, which is nonsense, too. The research is properly INTO climate, not HAVING THE NATURE OF climate, in which case the only clear name is Climate Research Unit.

The Climatic Research Unit (CRU) tells us that it was established (originally under that name, we presume) in 1972.

The only conclusion we can draw from the stupidity of this name can only be that this organization was set up more than forty years ago by language dullards and has been staffed by them ever since. We should not be surprised at all that their email writing skills are so bad.