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(BBC)   Americans are sounding more like Brits every day. Bloody hell   (bbc.co.uk) divider line 278
    More: Cool, Americans, Chandra Levy, bloody hell, American English, Merriam-Webster, London Evening Standard, University of Delaware, British English  
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14264 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 Sep 2012 at 5:39 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-09-28 10:15:38 AM

I can't get the cap off!: Do tell.

The show is an examination of the futility of human existence. That doesn't exactly scream comedy, even if there were humorous moments.

I spent the entire second series waiting for David Brent's suicide, and given the tone of the show, the shoehorned-in happy ending given to us by the Christmas Special actually seems more likely to be the delusional product of his hypoxic brain as he is hanging from the ceiling of his old office.

That show was farking dark.


I'm sure you can explain how its being dark precludes it from being funny. It is black comedy and is acknowledged as being very, very funny.

At the British Comedy Awards in 2001, The Office won the Best New TV Comedy award. In 2002, the series won the Best TV Comedy award, and Gervais the Best TV Comedy Actor award.

In 2004, The Office won the Golden Globe Award for "Best Television Series: Musical Or Comedy", beating nominees Arrested Development, Monk, Sex and the City and Will & Grace. It was the only British comedy in 25 years to be nominated for a Golden Globe, and the first ever to win one. Ricky Gervais was also awarded the Golden Globe for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series: Musical or Comedy" for his role.

Also in 2004, the BBC's Britain's Best Sitcom public poll voted the programme the 25th all-time favourite out of a preselected list of 100.
 
2012-09-28 11:35:20 AM

cloud_van_dame: Ambivalence: Geeks like british comedy. Just look at IT Crowd, Doctor Who (it's funny), spacers.

Red Dwarf.


Talking of Red Dwarf, Series 10 is about to hit UK TV screens. It will either be awsome-sauce or total fail.
 
2012-09-28 12:10:42 PM

Pinko_Commie: cloud_van_dame: Ambivalence: Geeks like british comedy. Just look at IT Crowd, Doctor Who (it's funny), spacers.

Red Dwarf.

Talking of Red Dwarf, Series 10 is about to hit UK TV screens. It will either be awsome-sauce or total fail.


Sadly, judging by the last attempt, I think it will be the latter. Like all old relationships, you can't go back.
 
2012-09-28 12:32:36 PM

The Envoy:
I'm sure you can explain how its being dark precludes it from being funny.


It doesn't. However, it depends upon what the show is centered.

The UK Office is a drama with comedic moments. You could take the comedic moments out of the show, and it would still work. It may not be as good, but it would stand alone as an excellent mockumentary on the depressing futility of human existence.

The US Office is a comedy with dramatic moments. It is the exact opposite of the UK version. You could take the dramatic moments out of the show and it would still work as a comedy, albeit a bit slapsticky.

For whatever reason, the media has an obsession of labeling any show that cracks a single joke as a comedy. That doesn't make it correct.
 
2012-09-28 03:04:13 PM

I can't get the cap off!: The UK Office is a drama with comedic moments. You could take the comedic moments out of the show, and it would still work.


That's like saying you could take all the comedy out of "M*A*S*H", and it would still work as a great drama series... Maybe, but it wouldn't be the same show... It's so great precisely because it combines the two genres via skillful use of black comedy...

Plus, I'm not sure you're fully seeing all of the "comedic moments"... I suspect some of what you consider unfunny drama, a lot of us are laughing at... Because, honestly, if you cut out all the funny parts, I think you'd be left with maybe 5 minutes of runtime per episode, if that...
 
2012-09-28 04:33:46 PM
Wow. I just realised that a huge amoung of the coastal Southern New England English I grew up with is apparently 'British'. To be fair, I've long respected what I've termed 'North Atlantic English,' and I use some version of it most of the time myself. But I had no idea that so many common terms and expressions that I honestly believed were conventional American speech apparently are not.

One thing I started thinking about several years ago is that English hasn't been, well, English for many years -- really, not since the end of the 18th Century, when English-speaking expatriates started to exist in huge numbers and in their own countries. By this point, English is a truly global language, and no one owns it. And yet, and yet: What exists of the standardisation of English in international use (or at least the pretense thereof) IS predominantly, if not British, at least Commonwealth. And in that international community of large, wealthy, influential traders constantly yammering across oceans, only one of them follows the discrete habits of American English -- our dearth of 'ou,' our preference for 'z' over 's' in terminal syllables, and some other traits. As powerful as America is, we are nevertheless vastly outnumbered in the much more equanimious space of the Internet, where more and more of what happens of consequence in the world -- especially communication -- takes place.

In short, some form of International English almost has to win out, no matter how Americans may feel about it, and that form almost can't help but have a strong Commonwealth cast to it, as formal International English does now. Since people learn their language from daily conversation, and so much of that happens online now, it's probably inevitable that distinctly American English will slowly fade, along with other distinct dialects, over the course of this century, and we'll likely end it with a more uniform international tongue, probably looking and sounding more Commonwealth than American, though also coloured (yes, coloUred) with many other languages -- perhaps, as Jos Wheadon predicts, including Mandarin.
 
2012-09-28 04:50:02 PM

Louisiana_Sitar_Club: I was just thinking about this the other day as I was lobbing Bob the Knob across the gob.


Battle of Epping Forest Sweet!
 
2012-09-28 05:03:34 PM

JeffDenver: The two that annoy me the most are pluralizing "math" and using words like "hospital" by themselves. It makes me want to bomb them.

It is not "hospital", it is "THE hospital". Do they also go to Store as well?


Yes, This is Dog.

I am Police Chief.
 
2012-09-28 05:19:01 PM

SquiggsIN: The average American doesn't have all that good of a grasp on the English language anyway.

I blame hip/hop, texting, and MTV (not in that order).


And who was to blame before all that came along?

It's been parents all along, trust me.
 
2012-09-28 05:20:40 PM

thisispete: Enjoying the work of Stephen Fry is one of my personal litmus tests for whether I will probably like someone.


O yes, yes. Well, more like, if someone *doesn't* like Fry, then I probably won't enjoy their company.
 
2012-09-28 05:24:02 PM

xcv: Ambivalence: FirstNationalBastard: MaudlinMutantMollusk: FirstNationalBastard: See what happens when people start watching British dramas?

I blame Monty Python

Does British comedy transfer to the states as well as the drama does?

Sure, there's stuff like Python that's pretty much universal, but do other British comedies make it across as well? I mean, even The Office had to be Americanized.

/then dragged out for about 6 years too long, as is the American way.

It depends. Geeks like british comedy. Just look at IT Crowd, Doctor Who (it's funny), spacers.

Why haven't we gotten a remake of Doctor Who yet? Could connect to a whole new audience with Shia LaBeouf as the Doctor, Rihanna as a spunky, sorta-goth chick as his new companion and the wise-cracking TARDIS embodied by a holographic Dane Cook. Bonus cameo by Jack Black as every single Dalek.


I would piss myself laughing for about two minutes of that. Then look for who to kill.
 
2012-09-28 05:30:44 PM

fredbox: Any bird fancy a shag?

I'm also noticing American media omitting the definite article more often, such as "Fredbox is in hospital after asking if any bird fancies a shag"


We do that here, too, in New England. (Not everyone, but it's common.) We also commonly "go to university."
 
2012-09-28 05:31:33 PM

Camus' Ghost: "Now Rory knows that claret is imminent , but doesn't want to miss any of his game. So, calm as a coma, he picks up the fire extinguisher, walks right past the jam rolls who are ready for action, and plonks it outside the front door. He then goes back and orders an Aristotle of the most ping pong tiddly in the nuclear sub, and switches back to his footer. "That's farking it!" says the geezer. "That's farking what?" says Rory. He then gobs out a mouthful of booze, covering fatty. He then flicks a flaming match into his bird's nest, and the bastard's lit up like a leaking gas pipe. Unfazed, Rory turns back to his game. His team's won too. Four-nil."


Amusing, but I'm not sure that colloquialisms are the same thing as referring to a like object using completely different words truck/lorry elevator/lift diapers/nappies. Most of those phrases aren't used universally across the entire UK are they?

Just curious. Also what is the origin of lorry? I can understand a lot of them, but I've never heard where that one comes from.

If anyone could answer I would appreciate it.

=]
 
2012-09-28 05:40:44 PM

filter: Whatever---- American living in Europe.... no one understands half the American slang I use. If I say I have to run, they think I am going jogging.

Actually 'spot on' sounds ridiculous with an American accent, due to how the 't' is pronounced.

Speaking of "Americanisms" I have been away long enough that I find the American way of overstating everything to be hilarious. Everything is spoken using extreme descriptors--- 'the meal was excellent' etc.... 'everything was great'.... 'it was the best ever'..... 'it is wonderful to see you again....' "I loved the cheese" "I hated the movie" "it was the worst ever...." "I was very disappointed that....."


Eddie Izzard has a great bit about the overuse of the word awesome- it should mean something miraculous, rare, and wonderful that could literally bring you to your knees in amazement, and Americans use it to describe chili dogs and Nickelback songs :P

(obviously not everyone)
 
2012-09-28 05:50:46 PM

xria: Hermione_Granger: Actually, I think is the solution to a problem as Americans don't mind speaking like Brits and generally think it's fun, whereas Brits go positively apeshiat over supposed "Americanisms".

Brits: Overreacting to shiat since 1773.

Meh, my boss is like that, but it isn't all that common - plenty of Americanisms come across all the time, most people don't care. To take a non-linguistic example, over 1.5 million pumpkins were sold for Halloween last year in the UK, growing 10%+ each year, from almost none a decade or two ago.


The American version of Halloween seems to be catching on in Europe the last few years.

It's fun as hell, the kids are adorable and for them it's the most crazy, sugar charged holiday of the year.

It's a good excuse to don the French Maid outfit and get pissed with your friends.

What's not to love?

=]
 
2012-09-28 06:21:42 PM

Soulcatcher: Eddie Izzard has a great bit about the overuse of the word awesome- it should mean something miraculous, rare, and wonderful that could literally bring you to your knees in amazement, and Americans use it to describe chili dogs and Nickelback songs :P


I love that bit:

And the universe is unbelievable. I mean our galaxy, the Milky Way, a hundred billion stars - a hundred billion stars! We wouldn't count up to a hundred billion. We could count up to a hundred billion, but we would not. They have clusters of galaxies, and then there's big, big bits of nothing, so it's awesome, yeah?. The universe is awesome using the original version, the meaning of the word awesome, yeah? Not the new one which is sort of for socks and hot dogs: "Hey! Red and yellow - awesome! You got red and yellow socks, they're awesome!" You know. But if they were you'd be (gasps). I saw an advert for 'awesome hot dogs, only $2.99'. If they were awesome you'd be going, (gasping for breath) "I can not breathe for the way the sausage is held by the bun. It is it is speaking to me. It is saying 'we are lips and thighs of a donkey. Please eat us but do not think that we are lips when you eat us, otherwise you'll throw up'." Which is true! It's awesome!

America needs the old version of awesome, because you're the only ones going into space. You've got a bit of cash and you go up there, and you need 'awesome' because you're going to be going to the next sun to us. And your President's going to be going (American voice) "Can you tell me, astronaut, can you tell me what it's like?" "It's awesome, sir." "What, like a hot dog?" "Like a hundred billion hot dogs, sir. Sir, it's the dog's bollocks, that's what it is!"


/Link to video
 
2012-09-28 10:27:15 PM

Soulcatcher: JeffDenver: The two that annoy me the most are pluralizing "math" and using words like "hospital" by themselves. It makes me want to bomb them.

It is not "hospital", it is "THE hospital". Do they also go to Store as well?

Yes, This is Dog.

I am Police Chief.


This made me laugh.
 
2012-09-28 10:39:01 PM

Jgok: I constantly have to go back to get rid of extra u's, check for the s/z switches (recognised, etc), et al.


No, you don't. :)

I use some (constantly changing) version of the 'Atlantic English' I mentioned above (basically, most New England English with mostly British spelling, but more similar to Canadian overall), and I've worked successfully as an editor of American English. The variant spellings don't bother me, and I can keep them straight when I have to.
 
2012-09-28 10:41:26 PM

EyeballKid: Does this mean Niall Ferguson, Piers Morgan, Tina Brown, Simon Cowell, and Gordon Ramsay will be out of work, as Americans lose their fascination with the Brit-speak and realize these twats are just frothing out utter rubbish?


Not likely, I think, as our gibbering twats aren't any better, but British people just 'sound' smarter to most Americans. Which kind of tells you how smart most Americans are, don'it?
 
2012-09-28 10:46:08 PM

Ikam: FTFA "Yagoda notices changes in pronunciation too - for example his students sometimes use "that sort of London glottal stop", dropping the T in words like "important" or "Manhattan".

The glottal stop is not just confined to UK dialects, plenty of American dialects have it as well.


Connecticut-raised here. (Not -born, but I wasn't even five when we moved here, so as far as I'm concerned, this is where I'm from.) Lot of that here, among us natives. New Britain: "New Bri'ain," that sort of thing. And I've always known Manhattan as "Manhat'n," and so far as I can tell most natives there do also. None of this is even slightly new, at least not on the order of my lifetime.
 
2012-09-29 01:12:18 AM

Doctor Jan Itor: shiat = bad
the shiat = good
the dog's shiat = ... ok it breaks down here and I can't be arsed to find a better one


Same here, more or less. (PNSFW - bad werdz)
 
2012-09-29 02:45:43 AM

Jesus Burnt My Hotdog: Rufus Lee King: What bothers me is that I'm sixteen, right? Old enough to have...intercourse...with the partner of my choice, yet I still can't go drinkn' in pubs...

And if you filmed yourself doing it you'd have to wait another two years before you could watch it.


Those laws are indeed bizarre, and I think pretty obviously moulded on various people's notions of what's 'moral' or 'appropriate' in some other more or less arbitrary way. I've found it especially hard to defend that someone old enough to fight and die for their country can't legally drink in it.*

Some years ago, friends and I did a little thought experiment, wherein we each made up our own country and described it. In mine, all rights of majority came not at any predetermined age, but instead on a case-by-case basis through a process I called 'warrant'. In this process, all youth were legal minors by default, and remained so until they achieved warrant. The actual warrant of majority was a legal instrument, gained by the minor winning the support (warranty) of at least three legal adult citizens, none of whom needed to be the minor's own parents or other adult relatives. I thought this neatly solved a bunch of problems, from age of majority to minor emancipation, without pegging them to any arbitrary ages. The logic is that everyone ages and mateurs differently, at different rates, and so instead of the calendar deciding when you could do certain things, (presumably) responsible adults in your community would. O, and *all* rights of majority come with it, all at once. None of this teatotalling soldier nonsense.

Separately, I don't feel it's valid that a person who knowingly and willingly creates images or recordings of themselves in a manner that it would be illegal for others to is actionable themselves for it, since I think it's difficult to press the concept of 'victimisation' or 'exploitation' in such cases. Someone who takes phone snaps of their own naughty bits and shares them has done something they shouldn't, for a bunch of reasons, but I can't see how it could be called criminal. I can understand the perspective of law enforcement that it could be done under duress or coercion, and that could be a cover for legitimately illegal actions, but I feel there should be a way to avoid charging witless minors with sex crimes.
 
2012-09-29 03:00:47 AM

Jack Kerouac: brigid_fitch: Ikam: FTFA "Yagoda notices changes in pronunciation too - for example his students sometimes use "that sort of London glottal stop", dropping the T in words like "important" or "Manhattan".

The glottal stop is not just confined to UK dialects, plenty of American dialects have it as well.

Like people actually IN or even from the Manhattan area. I'm from Jersey City and, although I've (thankfully) lost 99% of that accent, I don't pronounce the t's in Manhattan or the 1st t in important. Nobody in my area does. You don't start to hear it until you get down by the Philly area.

I'm from Connecticut and I don't know anyone from this part of the state who pronounces the t's in 'Manhattan', though most people seem to pronounce 'important' with a very soft t at the end. Parts of CT lean towards what I call the Massachusetts pronunciation, while others are very influenced by NYC.


New Haven here, and I definitely have the New York / Corridor blend, like most people here do. Glottal stops in place of T's, vaguely watered-down British diction, a mixture of American and Commonwealth, the whole shebang. I notice that heading north through the Corridor, once you get past New Britain ("New Bri'ain"), there are a few subtle but noticeable changes. One of the more noticeable in the Hartford area is "aigs" (eggs), and along the Mass. border you start to hear the Eastern Mass. non-rhotic thing ("cah," etc., but *much* softer than the hard Boston sound); I also hear that east of Bolton Notch (Connecticut's Appalachia). Back in New Haven, from The Green on down, it's the East-of-Manhattan sound, as heard across lower Westchester and Fairfield Counties, and this extends as far east as Clinton, I think. But it drops off fast as you head inland: It's completely absent everywhere I've been in Beacon Valley, for example. (It's a pretty close correlation to the main Metro North line, no surprise.) And Waterbury is its own 20th Century museum of culture and dialect.
 
2012-09-29 03:04:01 AM

hubiestubert: Valiente: hubiestubert: Valiente: When British linguists want to take a better guess at how the Great Vowel Shift played out, they go to little barrier islands off the Mid-Atlantic states, or climb into the Appalachian hills. Suddenly, recitations of Shakespeare rhyme better.

Shakespeare wot loike he wuz spoke: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPlpphT7n9s

It's fascinating to hear and the case that "this is London English 400 years ago" is trechantly argued.

That was a great piece.

I had a feeling you'd enjoy it, and I didn't even have to write my post in IPA.

I had an English teacher in high school who was either the son of Danish immigrants to Canada or came here as a kid (maybe a WWII refugee thing). Because he spoke Danish, he had a leg up on Anglo-Saxon, and eventually mastered Middle English.

So we had recitations of Chaucer "as he was spake". Great stuff, if hard, at first, to follow. That naturally introduced Caxton's spelling innovations, the Great Vowel Shift and the concept of wandering rhotacisms and how the American accent of the northern Atlantic states is still similar to parts of East Anglia today. My favourite Fuddite is Lucy Worsley, a jolly hockey sticks sort of historian on the BBC with the least flattering haircut on Earth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_Worsley

I was lucky to go to high school when there were still teachers unafraid to bring university-level subject matter to the classroom, and there was still enough money in the system to allow such intellectual roaming.

I was lucky enough to have two great professors at UMF. Karl Franson was a brilliant Shakespeare scholar, and while he was perhaps the most buttoned down Ivy League educated, prep school accented wee man clad in Kelly Green possible, he loved the language, not just of Shakespeare, but Bunyon as well. He taught these works as living pieces, still. Clad perhaps in armor of a language that had shifted beneath them, but reaching out from that past into today, with power an ...


What a beautiful reverie. Thank you so much!
 
2012-09-29 03:16:57 AM

I can't get the cap off!: FirstNationalBastard: I mean, even The Office had to be Americanized.

The British version of The Office is not a comedy.

It is a dramatic mockumentary with the odd funny moment. Overall it is extremely dark and depressing. They are horrid people living meaningless, horrible lives.

Basically the US Office makes me wish I worked at a paper company.

The UK Office has convinced me that suicide is the only answe if I ever work at a paper company.

That doesn't mean either version is without merit, but for as much material as they share, they are in no way even similar shows.


That's the way it is for *every* version. It's in many countries now, and they're *all* very different, both from each other and from the original. None of them are loyal to the original except in the most basic ways.
 
2012-09-29 03:39:08 AM

kg2095: cman: alienated: FirstNationalBastard: Does British comedy transfer to the states as well as the drama does?

Aye, it does. Check out- Shameless- not, not the US version, the real one. Ideal . Spaced . Red Dwarf. The IT crowd has been mentioned. Only Fools and Horses . Porridge might, but its early / mid 70's .
Vicar of Dibley. Absolutely Fabulous .
I could go on, but you get the point, i hope.
Cheers

RED DWARF AND THE IT CROWD farkING RULES

British comedy is awesome. I would like to praise our English brethren for being some very funny farkers across the pond.

You should watch Coupling. It's like an adults only version of Friends and one of the funniest sitcoms I've ever seen.


I will watch anything with Gina Bellman in it.
 
2012-09-29 03:43:51 AM

I can't get the cap off!: The Envoy:
I'm sure you can explain how its being dark precludes it from being funny.

It doesn't. However, it depends upon what the show is centered.

The UK Office is a drama with comedic moments. You could take the comedic moments out of the show, and it would still work. It may not be as good, but it would stand alone as an excellent mockumentary on the depressing futility of human existence.

The US Office is a comedy with dramatic moments. It is the exact opposite of the UK version. You could take the dramatic moments out of the show and it would still work as a comedy, albeit a bit slapsticky.

For whatever reason, the media has an obsession of labeling any show that cracks a single joke as a comedy. That doesn't make it correct.


I'm beginning to think you don't really know what a "dark comedy" is.
 
2012-09-29 03:58:02 AM

Soulcatcher: Just curious. Also what is the origin of lorry? I can understand a lot of them, but I've never heard where that one comes from.

If anyone could answer I would appreciate it.


According to the few sources I checked, the origin is uncertain, but may be derived from the Northern English dialectical term 'lurry,' meaning to lug or haul. I can't help wondering, though, if it might be something else, or a blend of that and something else (as often happens). The reason I wonder is that the original usage was not for the modern motor-truck, but for a horse-drawn trolley, and specifically one with an unusually low bed, similar to the sort of thing used now to haul heavy vehicles -- very low bed, small wheels mounted alongside instead of underneath. The term then became applied to the motorised version of that, and then to motor trucks generally. What has me wondering about this is what seems to me the peculiar movement from 'u' to 'o' that would have to have occurred if it was derived strictly from 'lurry;' that seems an odd change by itself. But what if it was *also* (or instead) derived from something like "low-riding trolley"?
 
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