^ I think it’s all related, Jazz. We start with incomprehensible accents, difference between them and regions, and then move “for real” into film.
off to bed, you lot! and have a cracking week-end!
Jazz – I think it’s tough to avoid this when you bring up contrasting countries. Inevitably the discussion is going to go off on random tangents that aren’t cinema specific.
“@ Ari – we don’t burn a fag we have a fag. The French go out and ‘brûler une’ (‘burn one’) but I’ve never heard that over here.”
Bum (as in borrow) not burn. Admittedly, I was taken aback the first time I was asked that question. Pardon me.
Indian English is interesting. I bought a book on it when I was traveling in India called “Entry From The Backside.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1563290/The-rise-of-Indian-English.html).
I used to like this kind of stuff. I once started using cricket slang even though I have no idea how to play cricket. But “batting on a very sticky wicket” is much better than any baseball or american football metaphor.
Recent North American slang makes me feel old and out of it. Kids today call everything “sick”. I’m not sure why but it bothers me.
The only films where I really struggle to understand people speaking in English are films with really thick UK-backcountry accents, like Lynne Ramsay films.
I think I’ve been exposed to so much ‘Britishness’ in my entertainment-watching life that I’m pretty used to it. The only times the culture kind of confuses me is in films like Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp and The Bridge On The River Kwai. I know, the point of those films is “We’re at war, who cares about manners?” But my reaction is still “They’re Nazis! It’s okay to be rude to Nazis!”
It’s like, they came up with it to assert their cultural superiority back when they ruled the world, and now that they don’t, they’re still doing it.
Also I don’t get Parliament. So, you vote in local elections, and the party that wins the plurality, not the majority, of elections, gets to hand-pick the leader? That’s even worse than our electoral college. It pretty much guarantees all your PMs will be this guy.
^ I don’t know what’s worse, PMs like the “Yes Minister” series or this guy below:
If America had Parliament, the president would be this gal:
I love all the intentional overreaction to Barack Obama.
Obama wants to raise taxes 1% for the wealthiest people in the world? HE’S WAGING CLASS WARFARE!
Why is everyone picking on Cary Grant? It’s not ’is fault ’e was born and raised in Bristol, England, ’till ’e was sixteen.
As for post-WWII England vs USSR, Orwell was rightly wondering if certain elements of England’s political system and culture might follow a course toward something like the hideous totalitarianism the Soviets had established.
But in, say, 1952, anyone standing in Sloane Square could not for one second suspect they were in Red Square. No rational person would choose life in the latter over the former.
(And if you think the English are tough to understand after several pints, try hanging out with the vodka-and-ushanka crowd some night.)
I think it’s tough to avoid this when you bring up contrasting countries. Inevitably the discussion is going to go off on random tangents that aren’t cinema specific.
Oh yeah. I completely understand, but the conversation exploded and sprawled so quickly. I’m not sure we can reign this puppy back into films. :) But if we don’t, it’s not a big deal. (Anyway, it might be better to start separate threads for specific films/filmmakers such as the one Cat recommended.)
The problem I’m having is remembering specific British films that I had trouble with. I recall wondering if depiction of the small town in The Guard was accurate or just silly movie-making.
“also true in America that most mainstream liberals are considerably more conservative than leftists.”
Since I moved to the Middle East, I have had to redefine in my own mind the term “liberal” and “conservative” as not only does each culture use it differently, but each culture uses them in sometimes contradictory ways. In the US, for instance, there is economic liberalism which is free-market, which means economic liberalism is actual political conservatism because political liberalism is regulatory markets, but political liberalism is tied in with social liberalism which ironically dictates “leave people alone to do what they choose” whereas social conservatism says, “You need to be a good Christian home with 2.5 children and neither abortion nor contraception for your woman working in the kitchen, and definitely definitely not gay, because that matters to me for some reason”. In comparison to most countries in Europe, yes, the US is much more conservative, though I’m not convinced we’re much more conservative to Australia, and I can tell you straight up we are outright leftists as compared to South Africans (but that seems sort of obvious, n’est pas? ).
As for the majority of the world itself, having now been in several areas of the Middle East, some of North Africa, been through Istanbul, and so on, and also because of being here talked to lots of people from East and South Asian countries, quite frankly Americans and Europeans alike vastly underrate their own liberalism. Yes, even as we argue about detaining terrorists without due process on American soil, we are outright the Land of Do as You Please in comparison to 90% of the world. I went home for Thanksgiving last year and this American guy looked me in the eye and told me that he read a report about how the United States is actually ranked fifth as the most censorship-filled country in the world. This is total absolute downright 100% false. People point out corporate censorship which don’t get me wrong, is a real thing, but the only way I can feasibly see the US being ranked fifth most is if it’s in comparison to Western countries only, or if it’s only measuring amount of complaints about or submissions for censorship in which case the US is going to have a high rating because 307million people debating Catcher on the Rye comes out more in registers in comparison to dictatorial regimes ruling over people who cannot read.
I live in the most liberal country in the Middle East, and here if you complain about some third cousin to the Sheikh’s brother-in-law’s driving on the Internet, you can be imprisoned for up to a year. And to risk jail in the same paragraph, the Emirati’s driving is godawful, though it ain’t as bad as the Egyptians. A blog I’ve never been able to visit because it’s blocked called Secret Dubai details (I’ve heard), much of what goes on in this country that never gets reported at all. Sounds familiar? Well in the West if something doesn’t get reported, some grassroot campaign can exist to bring the issue to national attention. Here, it gets blocked entirely and the woman who created this blog can never, ever enter into this country again. She now works for Sky News in Australia. You know, the conservative television network.
Meanwhile, what is “leftist”? Much of what is leftist in Europe is economic socialism and even communism. But that would make China “leftist” and look at how socially conservative they are. China, N. Korea, Venezuela, Cuba… does the censorship of omission in the United States really come to nearly the level of censorship of repression in leftist states like those? Not buying it.
So really, as much as things at home still concern me a lot, and I keep politically active in order that I can still say twenty years from now that the West is the Land of Do as You Please, the United States is intensely more “liberal” than most of the world and thankfully much less “leftist” than various parts of it! :-)
@Cat: I absolutely adore Keiller’s work, and I’m glad to see whenever you bring it up. More recommendations of filmmakers like him would be great.
In reference to accents, as I said I work with English, Scottish, Australian, S. African, American, and even the occasional French and German special forces. I still cannot really discern accents all that well, but to be fair, all special forces people have their own special forces lingo, so I’m also learning how to speak “military” as a language too. Thus, you “take leave” as opposed to “taking a vacation,” you’ll “send it up the chain of command” instead of “talking to your manager,” and you follow procedure, not the rules. But I’m also in a place where burritos are not called wraps but sandwiches, you don’t get take-out you get parcels, and a store doesn’t hold regular hours, it holds timings.
Thus, you “take leave” as opposed to “taking a vacation,” you’ll “send it up the chain of command” instead of “talking to your manager,” and you follow procedure, not the rules.
I work in government and this lingo is used where I work as well, and it’s not military (I don’t work in a military org that is). That’s a bureaucratic government thing.
Re his Irish accent; yet Welles had spent time in Ireland, setting off on his precocious journey to greatness. What an adventurous soul!
Re his Irish accent; yet Welles had spent time in Ireland…
Well if he picked up anything there for his precocious journey, it definitely wasn’t the ability to speak in a convincing Irish accent.
Gor blimey, guv. Where’s the Pearly Queen then? An aside: I was mentioned on the radio once for giving my wife pearly rings
yes, Odilon, Welles’ talents, even with the advantage of familiarity, obviously weren’t all-encompassing
question for the other brits: does the pants/trousers distinction still stand for you? i’m the only person i know that hasn’t been horribly americanized, and it occasionally causes some confusion….i don’t know, i just think i’d rather have more words for underwear, and it’s much more satisfying to spit out ‘pants!’ and mean a ridiculously giant white pair of gusty parachutes than any old dreary pantalons…
and this might just be the historical poverty of the yorkshire lingo (in that they never managed to get near the fresh stuff)….but everyone calls orange squash ‘juice’…but they also call orange juice ‘juice’…and what about the roulette tendency to call all fizzy drinks ‘pop’ regardless of brand, colour or flavour?….(whereas i just call all fizzy drinks ‘diet coke’)…but yorkshire’s weird….pie, peas + mint sauce??? who thought that one up?
Yorkshire speak, with subtitles
Kenji, why do the British call the Welsh “sheep shaggers”? I’ve never understood that. They have as many sheep in Britain and Scotland, don’t they?
Good question, Ari. By the way, the Welsh are British; the ancient Welsh were the original Britons, before the Anglo-Saxon (English) invaded. It’s just that the meaning has been twisted by Rule Britannia and that nonsense- the idea that England = Britain. There are millions more sheep than the 3 million humans in Wales, but given the purity of the Welsh people, i can only assume the Welsh are called sheep-shaggers by the English from spite, jealousy, petty national rivalry and pervertedly imagining what they would do with so many sheep. The English are truly abominable and diabolical (mubi users excepted), ha ha.
the first boy to ever give me drugs was welsh.
Ah, a descendant of druids.
haha! that’s it.
Sheep May Safely Graze (Bach)
“In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep.” (Albert Einstein)
Channel 4 News has always been the most fair-minded and enlightened here
My favorite scene re: sheep shagging…
Ah yes, an exceptionally lovely sheep
Heh, heh, thanks Mais. :D It’s the ch sound and the long vowels – half Lancashire half Irish and all catarrh, I’m very reliably informed.
Also, Scouse has a plural You. It took a Scouse linguist (I mean, a specialist in linguistics who spoke broad Scouse) to make me notice that. A’youse comin down the chippy?