Americanisms

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

  1. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    This is precisely what I find so annoying about bad language and the objections to it. A swear word is only offensive until someone decides it isn't anymore.

    'Damn it!' Anyone find that offensive? No, thought not, but go back 70 years and things would be different. Don't we live in a mixed-up, hypocritical world?
     
  2. Keir_FTGL_Shiels

    Keir_FTGL_Shiels Catering Officer

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    Is it just me that thinks that "jerk" simply refers to a sharp sudden movement and that the use of it as an insult is nothing to do with the "all time number one"?
     
  3. Beth1983

    Beth1983 Second Technician

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    Jerk....doesn't refer to the movement at all when it comes to insults, but as insults means "Not very nice person."
     
  4. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

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    That's not hypocritical, it's just a world in constant transition. It would be crazy to suggest one set of rules need to apply For All Time.

    Language obeys its users, not the other way around. We choose our level of objection to the words - their level of offence (or usefulness, or like-ability) is created by us, it's not intrinsic to the words themselves. And that's a world working correctly.
     
  5. Keir_FTGL_Shiels

    Keir_FTGL_Shiels Catering Officer

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    Indeed. Stephen Fry has a very good podcast on language. He's often held up by pedants as someone who will probably agree with them, but he isn't: he's a great linguist with a love of the evolving language.

    People who hate "verbing" probably still chair meetings and table motions.
    People who hate incorrect translations probably still eat "a pannini", not "a pannino"
    People who hate incorrect etymology are probably happy to watch "Television" rather than a "Teleoptic"
    and people who hate unfathomable metaphors probably think we're all going to Hell in a handcart.

    I must admit that some things really really grate on me. I can't stand misplaced apostrophes or other incorrect punctuation. I want to slap people who pronounce the eight letter of the alphabet as "Haitch", rather than "Aitch" ("Aitch" *is* a word, "Haitch" is not). "Homosexuality" is pronounced Hom-moe, not hoe-moe - the greek "homo" (with a short "o") meaning "the same" (as in "homologous") - the Latin "homo" (with two long "o"s) meaning "human" as in "homo sapiens". The fact that even gay friends of mine can't pronounce it properly is my problem, not theirs. Language evolves; and pedantic arses like me just have to live with it.
     
  6. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    No, you misunderstood. I wasn't saying it was hypocritical to not find the word damn offensive, just that we live in a hypocritical world generally. At what point does a swear word stop being offensive? When I say so? When you say so? When? And what about those people that STILL find words like damn etc offensive? Do they not count?
     
  7. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

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    I understood, and it's still not hypocritical. It's not hypocritical to accept the change of a society and the language it uses. And it's not hypocritical to find a word offensive now as opposed to a different one 70 years ago.

    The world doesn't think one single way about anything and so you have to look at context. When does a word stop? When enough of us decide. But enough within an area and context. Among countries, regions, cultures, classes, genders, ages, sexualities... Offensiveness is graduated, it's not 'on' or 'off', and it's not something that sticks in amber and never changes. It would be crazy if it were - it would be empowering the words over the users.

    Oh, and Keir - I loved that Fry podcast. Heard it a while back and kept it should it even require quoting!
     
  8. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    Okay, you win, Andrew. I'm bored of this conversation now anyway.
     
  9. Keir_FTGL_Shiels

    Keir_FTGL_Shiels Catering Officer

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    Are you agreeing with me again, Andrew...?

    Remember the last time you did that, the world nearly imploded...
     
  10. magnusgreel

    magnusgreel First Technician

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    I can already see that I'm going to break many rules of grammar and punctuation that matter a great deal to people here, without realizing it.

    Anyway, Lister seems to be a fan of America... he rides around on a tricycle with UK and US flags, and it shows in other ways too. The idea of the merging of cultures over time covers it pretty well, though.
     
  11. magnusgreel

    magnusgreel First Technician

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    You said all that well, thanks. It's hard to argue in favor of "the rules" without seeming like an anal-retentive lover of arbitrary rules and authority, and a know-it-all. I know that there are good reasons for the rules, but never can say why.

    More and more, I notice and value the nuances in this or that choice of words. I've had to reach middle age for this to happen. If meanings and spellings and grammar shift wildly and chaotically, people in the future won't have a chance to work their way to the point I'm reaching now. They won't have all those decades of hearing language and absorbing and digesting it, and won't come to understand what authors from previous times were talking about. Civilization can probably die in just one generation.
     
  12. telegramsam

    telegramsam First Technician

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    True, but all I can think of is teen "chatspeak" and society ending up like in that film "idiocracy" :?
     
  13. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    get used to it m8 dat is were our lanwage is goin innit
     

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