Americanisms

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by OurJud, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    I've always been a little perplexed by the Americanisms in RD, and wondered if anyone could explain their influence. I'm talking about the frequent use of terms such as 'jerk', 'napalm' and 'bozo', for instance. This isn't a whinge in any way - for any American members reading - just an observation.
     
  2. CrazyFanNumber8725

    CrazyFanNumber8725 First Technician

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    Just a guess here... but maybe they are accidental? I mean... I speak with a lot of British-ism. "what he's on about" and "the lot" (as in, "cigarettes, special brownies, the lot!"). and my favorite adjectives now: "fantastic! brilliant!" and of course "quite mad".

    The other day I decided to role-play Lister in a bar (and discovered I love Lager) a lady asks me what I've been doing. "slobbing!" I said.
    that's a very funny word that americans have never heard of. So after laughing a lot, she made me repeat it. she'd thought I made it up, but I explained it was British.
    Now she probably uses it too.


    We do speak the same language and watch each other's TV shows.


    I don't think "napalm" is an Americanism though, rather it is a noun, an actual subsance.
    (If it is American, it makes me even more embarassed to be an american... did we really invent that stuff? I never thought about it but kinda assumed it had to have been the germans... but maybe it was us. Most of us are cool, but some of us are real smegheads....)
     
  3. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    Thanks, Corwyn. Maybe Napalm was a bad example, but I tend to hear it being spoken about my Americans... at least in my head, dunno why. As for the other terms being an accident, I don't really see that as being the case. I've certainly never called anyone a jerk... I've called plenty a XXXXXXX, mind, which is the English equivalent.
     
  4. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    It was invented in America, I'm afraid.

    Wikipedia link

    By the way, in which episode was Napalm mentioned? My bad memory is letting me down as usual.
     
  5. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    Polymorph, I think. Doesn't Lister threaten to give it a 'napalm enema' after it robs him of his fear?
     
  6. telegramsam

    telegramsam First Technician

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    Hm... I'm not sure about that. Maybe the writers watch American television?

    I have on occasion been accused of using numerous "British" terms (I live in Tennessee, formerly Georgia) and people I'm around think it's weird. I know I picked up a few phrases from a friend in school who was sort of half-and-half (his mother lived in England and his dad lived in the states, in Georgia specifically, and he got passed back and forth for most of his childhood - suffice it to say he had a rather, um, unusual accent) along with the large amounts of BBC programming I watch, but half the time I'm not even aware of it until someone gives me a O.o look. Maybe they just picked it up from someone/somewhere
     
  7. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

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    Billy, I've edited your post - please don't use that kind of language on the forum. It's not permitted, and could result in a ban. I should also say that the word you used is a long, long way from being the British equivalent of 'jerk'. It's significantly stronger!

    As to the topic in hand, I use American phrasing and words all the time. So I'd argue using those terms are 'realistic'. Particular when you consider the future setting - as time goes on, languages merge more and more. In my experience the only viewers who find Americanisms in British dialogue unusual are the same ones who expect all Brits to speak like John Cleese!
     
  8. petetranter

    petetranter Catering Officer

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    I think at the start, the idea was that countries had ceased to exist for example the currency being the dollar/pound and Red Dwarf (the ship) being crewed by all nationalities - Chen, Peterson, Mac etc. Rimmer wasn't even from Earth.
     
  9. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

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    In the books they had a president of Earth, so it seems likely there'd be a worldwide government in the Dwarf-verse. (It's not certain if this is the case in the programme's universe, but as it doesn't state otherwise, I'd go along with that.) They still have their various countries in the RD future though, hence all the nation related jokes (mechanoids on Italian ships coming 'equipped' for example.) Whether it's just a sense of regional identity or they are self governing too, I don't know. It makes sense they'd still govern their internal affairs though.

    I'd go along with Andrew's explanation concerning language though, just taking into account the amount of Americanisms we have in our language. I've read or heard British people use words like 'dude' and even 'guy' is pretty commonplace, as much as 'bloke'. Come to think of it I think even 'yeah' is an Americanism isn't it? And we've been using that corruption for years.
     
  10. petetranter

    petetranter Catering Officer

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    When The Beatles recorded 'She Loves You' (yeh yeh yeh), Paul McCartneys dad asked him:
    "Can't you sing yes yes yes son?" :lol:
     
  11. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    Well I certainly don't expect all Brits to speak like John Cleese. That's surely something the American's themselves are often accused of, isn't it? Of course we have Americanisms that we have adopted as our own for a long time now, but I think it's fair to say that the majority of English do not say 'jerk'.

    Anyway, the other explanations kind of make sense, so thanks for all the replies.
     
  12. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

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  13. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    Yes, that was it.

    "Anyone who gets in my way gets a napalm enema!"
     
  14. drumjay

    drumjay Catering Officer Fan Club Team

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    That would be a ring of fire then?
     
  15. garfie

    garfie Catering Officer

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    Bad James. Go to the naughty corner!
     
  16. Daniel

    Daniel Console Officer

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    Gives a whole new meaning to the Johnny Cash song doesn't it :P

    As for the use of 'Americanisms' this is a natural convergence of languages, particularly ones that are incredibly similar to begin with. What with so much showing of American shows over here and UK shows over in the US it is only natural that some terms become further integrated and it becomes harder to differentiate. I know I got into a spot of trouble with a piece of A-Level coursework over that, as my character kept jumping between UK and US speech and it sort of made it hard to know where the hell he was from!

    The number of terms that can be said to be specifically UK or US is very few now, when you think of it. "Jerk" definitely isn't one anymore, and tends to crop in conversation when being careful about what language is used.

    Thinking about it though... what would be the English equivalent of "jerk" if we never used it?
     
  17. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    Prat means about the same thing.
     
  18. telegramsam

    telegramsam First Technician

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    Not really. The actual original meaning of the insult "jerk" (at least as it was once explained to me) is someone who, uh, repeatedly engages in the act of self-pleasure, and it does in fact have more in common with that other word that got deleted out of that other guy's post than "prat" (note the similarity to the phrase "jerk-off" which is also sometimes used as an insult, such as "hey you stupid jerk-off!", usually by 10-year-olds). It's considered a pretty tame insult by comparison to the "w" word though it means basically the same thing.
     
  19. Daniel

    Daniel Console Officer

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    I guess it all relates to how the meanings of words change with time I suppose, based on how we see them. Maybe once upon a blue moon both "jerk" and "w......" were of similar status in how crude they were, but whereas jerk is tame the other one isn't. A bit like the word "burke" really on that front (an English term if ever I saw one!) which of course on its own is tame, if you don't know the root. I bet if I had used jerk in front of my mother when I was younger, after she learnt about the proper meaning, I'd get a smack for it... but without that knowledge the meaning is very different.
     
  20. Beth1983

    Beth1983 Second Technician

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    Actually it does mean about the same thing. The fact that Jerk used to mean something naughtier doesn't really mean anything now. Jerk has been an innocent insult like Prat for a very long time now.

    In fact I'd say most Americans use the work Jerk long before they learn about the phrase Jerk-off, and they are considered quite seperate insults. (at least by most people)

    Jerk is on the level of "Dork" in offensiveness and considering that Dork I believe orginally meant something's um...male bits it shows that language changes.


    So...Jerk is similar to Prat.
     

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