Sunday, November 16, 2008

The billionaires’ thinko

A lovely word (which I think might have been coined by Daniel Dennett) is ‘thinko’. This is when you think (and possibly also say or write or type) the wrong word. You say or write or type it perfectly well, it’s the thinking that’s gone astray. You know what you mean, and an instant’s reflection would alert you to your mistake, but your brain momentarily associates the wrong word with the right meaning, and it just slips through.

Here’s a nice one in the Independent (which also slipped past the sub):

Last year, the shadow Chancellor George Osborne won plaudits by pledging to raise the threshold for inheritance tax to £1bn.

There’s no way that ‘bn’ is a typo for ‘m’. And the writer, Andrew Grice, certainly knows his stuff. So, a thinko. Either that or it’s a great scoop and Osborne’s far more right-wing than I thought.

Update: And while we're on the subject of everyone's favourite shadow chancellor, I am almost willing to forgive the Mail everything on account of this story:

Embattled Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has had voice-coaching lessons from a £100-an-hour expert in London’s Harley Street in an attempt to improve his image, it was revealed last night.
Some observers claim that in the past year his voice has dropped in tone and his speaking style sounds less posh.

If it weren't 10.57pm on Sunday, I'd now launch into a spoof Osborne-as-cockney routine. Instead, I'll get some kip.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Aoh, it's a jolly nashunal insoorants 'oliday wiv yew Davy Poppins! Garn!

Although I should point out that going to a voice-coach is probably not a good way to change your image.