Quotation Newsletter Going Digital; Annual Subscription Fees Discontinued

January 18, 2009 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
The "Quote Unquote" Newsletter, a British language quarterly, will be converting exclusively to an electronic format beginning with the first quarter issue of 2009. Print versions will be extended beyond 2009 to current subscribers who prefer them, but all new subscriptions and renewals will be for the electronic issues.

With the change, the former annual $40 subscription fees have been eliminated. New and renewing subscribers will receive a continuing subscription for a one-time payment of $20.

Edited and published by author and BBC broadcasting personality Nigel Rees, the quarterly publication features articles on quotations and colloquial language and serves as an international forum for solving difficult quotation queries.

First published in January 1992, the newsletter grew out of an informally circulated sheet of quotation queries and its basic function remains to assist readers in tracing "lost" quotations. In addition it explores the origins and use of popular phraseology, including catchphrases, slogans, colloquialisms, idioms, clichés, and nicknames. The newsletter is supplemented by a companion website that includes archives of quotation queries, an index for past issues, and other language related features.

Nigel Rees has authored over 50 books on various aspects of language and quotations and is the originator and host of "Quote Unquote", the long-running celebrity panel BBC radio program about quotations, including questions posed by listeners.

In the January 2009 issue, Rees discusses possible sources for a phrase that has been prominently featured in president-elect Barack Obama's speeches:

"In this neck of the woods, it is especially good news that the next President of the United States is someone who has already proved his quotability and indeed his way with words both written and spoken. While we look forward to Barack Obama's inaugural speech with an anticipation not experienced since hearing John F. Kennedy's classic of 1961, we can reflect on an aspect of his victory speech in Chicago, round about midnight on 5 November 2008. Towards its end, Obama repeated, like Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream', the phrase 'Yes we can', culminating in his penultimate paragraph:

'This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.'

"There was nothing new about his phrase, except in the way it was used and, of course, the voice that spoke it. In The Guardian (November 8, 2008) Allegra Stratton marshaled some previous instances. Ironically, the Scottish National Party, which had just lost the Glenrothes by-election, had apparently been using the slogan since 1997 'a rejoinder to all those who say Scottish independence could never be achieved.' Stratton went on: 'Obama is also on the record as loving the Pointer Sisters. And in 1973 they sang Yes We Can Can, with its suitably uplifting sentiment: 'Now's the time for all good men to get together with one another."'

"Glyn Garside of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, added: 'I had always thought Obama was adopting an English translation of the slogan "Sí, se puede!" made famous by the late Céasar Chavez, leader of the United Farm Workers. On the other hand, my 10-year-old daughter remarked the other week that if Obama is Bob [the Builder], then McCain is Lofty, with the less convincing catchphrase "Er, I think so!"'

"Indeed, Bob the Builder, the British TV stop-motion animated character, but also well-known in the U.S. and thirty other countries, is chosen by most people as the source of Obama's inspiration. Keith Chapman, Bob's inventor commented: 'He must have picked up "Can we fix it? Yes we can!" subliminally. I think it's really amazing. It all came from a little idea that became a show that became a global success and now the President of the United States is using the phrase in his speech. It's a bit unreal.'

"The show's theme song 'Can We Fix It?' became a British No. 1 hit record (in 2000) but has also been included in a list of the 100 worst No.1s of all time. Celia Walden affirms that 'Yes We Can' is also a mantra of self-help groups 'They sit in a circle, hold hands and say it,' she avers.

"Anyway, that's enough of earlier sources, for the moment."

For information on subscriptions:
Bob Skovgard, distributor
Telephone: 937-294-8493
E-mail: info@qunl.com
Website (includes sample issue and articles from past issues): www.qunl.com
Mailing Address: Box 292437, Kettering, OH 45429 USA

For editorial queries and information:
Nigel Rees, Editor and Publisher (UK)
E-mail: nigel.rees@btinternet.com
Website: www1c.btwebworld.com/quote-unquote/