Rectification of Names, 'Oh Never Mind' Dept.

Last week the WSJ had a big feature on labor problems at Hon Hai Precision Industries of China. The headline, the photo caption, and all but one references in the story were to Hon Hai. The exception was a by-the-way mention that Hon Hai Precision Industries was also called "Foxconn."

Yesterday the Journal has another good story, by the same reporter, on the same topic, laid out in more or less the same way in the paper. But this time the headline says Foxconn, and so does the photo caption (beneath a picture of the famed "suicide nets"), and so does an early reference in the story.


My point is simply: Hmmm! Last week, I thought that the Journal was trying to speed-walk its readers into familiarity with what has always been Foxconn's "real" name. Now they're back to using the term that readers outside China would recognize. Just part of the chronicles of life and language in our time. And, again, the story itself is interesting and parallels the trends I was describing here and showing in pictures here.

I have nearly 1,000 "how to deal with guns" responses piled up, which I'll start sampling from soon.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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