Monday, May 14, 2007

Random acts of nounage

Here's a rather unfortunate choice of noun, courtesy of the Post-Dispatch. Looks like the hed writer reached into the lede -- The insurgent coalition that includes al-Qaida in Iraq asserted responsibility on Sunday for the ambush south of Baghdad that left four U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter dead and three other American soldiers missing -- without considering what the noun would look like without modifiers and articles.

The most available meaning for "coalition" in Iraq heds, alas, is the one in these recent tales from the AP:

Mixon has already received extra troops, but violence in Diyala is on the rise, he said, both because more militants have moved in and because coalition forces are taking the offensive. (May 12)

Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. (Randy) Mixon, commander of coalition forces in northern Iraq, said morale generally remains good "in terms of staying focused on the mission." (May 11)

It allows U.S. and NATO troops to use its airspace as part of their Afghanistan missions and is the only Central Asian nation to have sent troops to participate in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq. (May 10)

You always hate to encourage more "group" heds (if you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one hed, it'd probably be Group Mulls Plan), but as long as people insist on calling 9-count spex, "Group claims ..." would have been a far better choice. This isn't exactly the "Labels are not definitions" problem, but it does belong in a related conceptual category: The noun you see isn't always the noun to use.

The Obs gave the hed enough room to make sense (and for the day after Darlington, you have to admit, this is pretty good play for one of those darn international stories):


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