søndag 25. juli 2021

Sheep, wolves, and the Hong Kong government’s epidemic of ‘so called’

We are in an official epidemic of the “so-called”. Readers with a taste for statistics will find the figures here. This article reports the results of an unusual academic pursuit, whose output for our purposes includes the fact that “so-called” appeared in no less than 80 Hong Kong government press releases and speech transcripts last year, compared with 30 the previous year and 18 the year before that.

The authors speculate that this may be the result of Hong Kong officials trying to demonstrate their loyalty to Beijing, where the use of “so-called” as a general term of abuse in official statements is well established. Ignorance is a possible alternative explanation.

The meaning of “so-called” is well established. It indicates doubt about the validity of the noun which is coming next. For example, someone who had doubts about the independence of the Independent Police Complaints Council might prefer to call it the “so-called Independent Police Complaints Council”.