At Language Log, Arnold Zwicky has a post on the misuse of allegedly and reportedly:
bq. I’ve seen numerous reports of some potentially felonious event, like an assault or a drive-by shooting, in which it is said that “the alleged perpetrator/assailant fled the scene”. We’re talking about an unidentified — in fact, for the moment, unidentifiable — person here, so it’s not that anyone’s rights are being protected. The hedge is just cautious icing on the journalistic cake.
This is a problem Ive seen in students translations from German, although Im not sure why. But at all events, if the German original misuses angeblich, its best to correct it in the translation. As is often said, if the style is bad, the translator takes the blame.
This reminds me of the problem of translating in der ehemaligen DDR (in the former German Democratic Republic). Its often used where it doesnt make much sense in German. In English, this misuse looks seriously wrong, partly because the expression is much less common than in German. For example, if someone was born in Karl-Marx-Stadt in 1970, they were born in the GDR, not in the former GDR. Nor were they born in Chemnitz, strictly speaking, or at least, if you translate a birth certificate, you do not translate Karl-Marx-Stadt as Chemnitz, a name the city had before and after the GDR.
Apparently it isnt fictitious after all. Heres one of Marks quotes illustrating the style:
bq. A man sat with a dog four to six feet from one of the signs that says “NO DOGS” on the Plaza. He claimed an officer said he could sit there and dog up the place, but a City ranger said hed warned the man to remove his dog a half-hour earlier. He was cited, while the dogs uncomprehending face glowed with unconditional love for all concerned.
(The last sentence is not typical, but the ‘dog up is). Arcata Eye.
The police blotter is a text form new to me. It explains itself, even to British readers (provided they remember ink).