The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

Another pretty little americanism Options
lazarius
Posted: Friday, May 25, 2018 10:01:52 AM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 8/27/2016
Posts: 39
Neurons: 30,131
Location: Kotel’niki, Moskovskaya, Russia
I hate to confess it but I do not understand the joke:


FounDit
Posted: Friday, May 25, 2018 11:51:48 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 9,042
Neurons: 48,465
The idea is that if a person remains in one place for a long time, they will be like a tree, or plant, that has grown roots into the ground and cannot move.

The phrase is also used at times as a joke. If someone is in one place for what seems a long time, you might ask, "Have you grown roots?" or, "Are you rooted to that place?"

It is also sometimes used to tease family members or friends who take a long time in the toilet. "Did you grow roots in there?"
Also heard, "Did you fall in?"

Be aware, however, that "root" has a different meaning in Australia. It is my understanding that "root" is a euphemism for sexual intercourse in that country. So you wouldn't want to say you "root" for a particular team, or person. Perhaps one of our Oz members can verify.


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Romany
Posted: Friday, May 25, 2018 1:52:23 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 14,082
Neurons: 43,440
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Oh yes,the impulse to snigger at every sentence ever uttered utilising any meaning but the one dealing with meaningless sexual activity; lies deep in the heart of every 'Strine speaker.

Because it also has underlying comedy value in Australia by being really coarse|: so if an Aussie was describing the Royal Wedding and said "Then they went home for a good root." it would be hilarious, on a number of levels, to Aussie-speakers everywhere!
lazarius
Posted: Friday, May 25, 2018 2:16:48 PM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 8/27/2016
Posts: 39
Neurons: 30,131
Location: Kotel’niki, Moskovskaya, Russia
FounDit wrote:
The idea is that if a person remains in one place for a long time, they will be like a tree, or plant, that has grown roots into the ground and cannot move.

As I understand it this is meant by the lady. But I do not understand why this would seem funny to a reader of Punch on 31 May 1864.
Romany
Posted: Friday, May 25, 2018 3:18:54 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 14,082
Neurons: 43,440
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Lazarius,

Why it's called an "Americanism" is because American girls were renowned for the way they spoke which, to the "Society" of the day was considered shocking and broke all the rules of Society. But the younger set thought it "refreshing".

The point of the joke isn't meant to make you laugh as to make a social comment - to both sides of a question. It's |Satire.

English women of the time were still very proper:a "nice" girl never mentioned her nether regions; or admitted to discomfort in public; or would draw attention to the fact that she had been by herself rather than up for every dance.

And the standard formula for asking/accepting for a dance was laid down in etiquette books.

But to the young people of the time, though not many would be brave enough to break their own cultural rules,it was exactly the way they wished they could express themselves. It was marvelous.

And of course, no-one could deny that many of these young American girls were attractive; many too had lots of money.
So the young heirs to great families were making marriages more and more between the two "norms".Some people thought all of Society - if not of England! - would be ruined.Others thought that it was about time they stopped doing/saying the things they did just because that's how it had been for the past 40 years. It was an "Issue" of the time amongst the upper middle class.

|Thought it's written in a cartoon format it isn't a joke. Satire causes wry amusement, not belly laughs:- a huge difference

The cartoon made readers of the time (and now)look at all sides of the question, and made them think about their own position. And of how important it really was.

(Sorry this is so long, but understanding British satire is often necessary to understanding when we're joking and we aren't in normal conversations.)
lazarius
Posted: Friday, May 25, 2018 4:05:36 PM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 8/27/2016
Posts: 39
Neurons: 30,131
Location: Kotel’niki, Moskovskaya, Russia
Romany wrote:
Sorry this is so long

That was interesting. Thanks for expounding.

ChrisKC
Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2018 12:29:13 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/27/2014
Posts: 274
Neurons: 98,196
Location: Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai, Thailand
lazarius wrote:
Romany wrote:
Sorry this is so long

That was interesting. Thanks for expounding.



Yes, very interesting Romany.
Satire of this kind goes back at least 200 years and reflected often through Jane Austen's novels.
Romany
Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:31:36 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 14,082
Neurons: 43,440
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

ActuA|lly, Chris, it goes bAck Almost 400 yeArs to A| femAle writer cAlled mArgARet CAvendish, the Duchess of newcAstle. However, it wAsn't until Adison et.Al. in the 18thC thAt "sAtire" As A genre is usuAlly sAid to hAve stArted - by men.

(Arghh! my computer is throwing A hissy-fit. I do apologise|: my post is just About impossible to reAd,isn't it)
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 3:27:39 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 29,157
Neurons: 167,475
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Looks like the three keys at the lower-left of your keyboard are shorting (or being hit at the same time . . .Whistle ) - the "a", the <shift> and the "|".
Did someone spill a few drops of coke or sugary coffee on that corner of the keyboard?


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Parpar1836
Posted: Monday, May 28, 2018 6:46:36 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2014
Posts: 209
Neurons: 9,119
Location: Rochester, New York, United States
Perchance, she spilled root beer.
leonAzul
Posted: Tuesday, May 29, 2018 9:09:58 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/2011
Posts: 8,334
Neurons: 26,471
Location: Miami, Florida, United States
lazarius wrote:
I hate to confess it but I do not understand the joke:




There is also another dimension to this satire: the stereotypical impatience of a New Yorker, as "in a New York minute".

The tempo of living in New York City is noticeably faster than most of the rest of the world. It's "the city that never sleeps — and looks like it."

Whistle

I must confess that I have been guilty of trodding on a few toes by not observing the niceties of local conventions and getting straight "to the point" when interacting with persons in places other than New York City. Only retrospectively have I come to understand that sometimes the interaction itself is the point.

Think

The critique is that the stereotypical American Woman expected a more direct and succinct approach rather than a nuanced invitation to dance.


"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, May 29, 2018 8:02:27 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 14,082
Neurons: 43,440
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Don't often disagree with you,Leon, but I don't think the idea of new York as the city that never sleeps etc. hit the UK until the 20thC.

In the Victorian age we were too full of ourselves as the largest Empire in the world! It wasn't until the 1920s that 'syncopated rhythm' took the country by storm, and people in the UK began to look upon new York as a city of fun and dissipation!

But I don't quite understand that women "expected a more direct and succinct approach". Surely, even in 'Gone With the Wind' the young men asked if they could "have the pleasure|" of a dance; which seems pretty direct to me.I don't think there even was a more succinct way to say it in the language of the day, really.

What am I missing, I wonder.
leonAzul
Posted: Tuesday, May 29, 2018 8:31:27 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/2011
Posts: 8,334
Neurons: 26,471
Location: Miami, Florida, United States
Romany wrote:
Surely, even in 'Gone With the Wind' the young men asked if they could "have the pleasure|" of a dance; which seems pretty direct to me.


That is exactly the stereotypical difference between Atlanta and New York City.

By the late 19th century, all females from Atlanta were ladies, and New Yorkers hussies; all males were either gentlemen or hustlers — according to stereotype, that is.

The stereotypical invitation in the Big Apple would be a breezy "Let's dance!".

Of course, it's her own fault she didn't arrive a half-hour early to make sure her dance card was filled.
Dancing




"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Romany
Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 5:40:56 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 14,082
Neurons: 43,440
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
'Pon my soul, Mr. Azul! Then indeed your New York girls sound like hussies! Little wonder then that they find themselves adrift when mingling with Polite Society!!
Romany
Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 5:40:57 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 14,082
Neurons: 43,440
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
'Pon my soul, Mr. Azul! Then indeed your New York girls sound like hussies! Little wonder then that they find themselves adrift when mingling with Polite Society!!
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2018 5:39:59 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/4/2016
Posts: 425
Neurons: 2,220
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Romany wrote:

Some people thought all of Society - if not of England! - would be ruined.


Think
I do not think I am a conservative person. Not at all. But I do wonder if there was something in these fears.
(This applies not only to England, of course. Certainly even to a much greater extent to Russia - with its 1917 revolution and all that followed).

I mean, on the one hand faster pace of life does require more soccinct protocols of communication. On the other hand, though, it is just as important that things like respect (to the lady in this case) somehow remain part of the message. So it's not stripped to just unit of information ("let's dance").

I am afraid I am very far from being an exemplar of a refined speech, myself, so I'm just thinking... and self-critically, too.
Romany
Posted: Friday, June 1, 2018 3:14:04 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 14,082
Neurons: 43,440
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Kirill,

I think this is one of the differences which is growing wider between English as spoken in England and American English.

Years ago we had a thread on here where someone was talking about asking questions. It was pointed out that in England and amongst those who spoke BE, if asked something like "Do you want to stay for dinner?" the answer would be some variation of "I'd love to. Thank you" or "If you're sure it's not a problem?" or "That's really kind, thank you, I would."

Whereas in AE "Yeah, sure." was perfectly acceptable.

The BE speakers were horrified at this, considering it really rude; while the AE speakers thought the BE responses were unnecessarily formal or long, or as if they were sucking up.

Obviously this example is a vast generalisation but it speaks to your point: AE tends to pare itself down to the essentials of what's important (the person only wants to know if you are staying or not for catering purposes) while BE tends to think along the lines of "it's not so important what you say, it's the WAY you say it."Dancing

Vast over-simplification of course, but a pretty major difference.
coag
Posted: Friday, June 1, 2018 5:52:54 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/27/2010
Posts: 1,048
Neurons: 5,505
leonAzul wrote:
There is also another dimension to this satire: the stereotypical impatience of a New Yorker, as "in a New York minute".
The tempo of living in New York City is noticeably faster than most of the rest of the world. It's "the city that never sleeps — and looks like it."

This reminded me of one of David Letterman's jokes.
"How do you know it's Christmastime in New York City? People first say Merry Christmas then they show you the finger."

A couple more New York jokes.

Traffic signals in New York are just rough guidelines.
New York now leads the world's great cities in the number of people around whom you shouldn't make a sudden move.
It was so hot today (in NYC) I went to a cash point machine just to enjoy the feel of a cold gun against the back of my neck.
-->

The murder rate in New York City is at a 30-year low. With rates this low, anyone can afford a murder.
-->
TMe
Posted: Saturday, June 2, 2018 10:53:14 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/12/2017
Posts: 719
Neurons: 4,567
coagApplause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause

I am a layman.
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Monday, June 4, 2018 4:37:43 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/4/2016
Posts: 425
Neurons: 2,220
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Romany wrote:
"it's not so important what you say, it's the WAY you say it."Dancing



I think I read somewhere that according to psycologists most (i.e. more than half) of the information we recieve when talking to another person is recived and analysed subconciously based on the way one speaks.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, June 4, 2018 2:44:55 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 29,157
Neurons: 167,475
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hi Kirill (and everyone),
Yes - this is why, often, it is difficult to answer "What does this sentence mean?"

And more than that . . .
A lot of the other half of what we say is not said at all, even by voice-stress or body-language. It is contained in "mutually understood background and cultural information".

A pair of good friends meet. One says "How's it going?"
BOTH know that two weeks ago, John had a 'bust-up' with his fiancee. They both know that, in their society, the father of every family is very dominant, and that John's father is particularly conscious of his power . . . and so on, hundreds of personal data and hundreds of thousands of "things they have known all their lives" (the culture).

So "How's it going?" means "Are you and Mary speaking to each other yet? Have you broken off the engagement? Are you upset? What does your father have to say about it? Is he giving you a hard time?"

This is what some 'communications specialists' call 'Natural Language' as opposed to 'Artificial Language' or 'Machine Language'.

Often, communications between countries and cultures breaks down because each side assumes that the other "understands" some bit of 'cultural background information' - but the cultures are different.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Users browsing this topic
Guest


Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Main Forum RSS : RSS
Forum Terms and Guidelines | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2008-2018 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.