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January 20, 2009 3:35 AM   Subscribe

The Guardian is knocked for six by American sport references in British media Creeping cultural imperialism? The effect of internet media from foreign news outlets? Or just Guardian handwringing about something no one else notices? Is British media alone in this trend?
posted by Grrlscout (111 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I thought "stepping up to the plate" was a culinary metaphor.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 3:45 AM on January 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Over the past few years I've heard quite a few Brits (private citizens and public figures" use the "ballpark figure" expression. Let's face it, baseball and baseball analogies have always been great metaphors for life and life events, and they obviously resonate with people on both sides of the pond. They should embrace it.

I've also heard an increasing number of Brits use "guy/guys" as opposed to "bloke" or "fellow". Granted, Americans didn't come up with the word, but it wan't in common usage in Britain when I lived there a million years ago.
posted by Devils Slide at 3:49 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it's 'stepping up to the plate' specifically that has been really annoying recently. A while ago nobody could appear on UK news shows without talking about 'an accident waiting to happen', now it's the plate business.

I agree wholeheartedly about how lazy this is and how annoying it gets, but I notice an ambiguity in what the Guardian piece prescribes- should we switch to cricket metaphors, or should we stick to metaphors drawn from things we have seen and understand? The two are not at all the same, even in England.
posted by Phanx at 3:55 AM on January 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is the Academy Francais still all bent over le drugstore and les bluejeans?
posted by jfuller at 4:03 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought "stepping up to the plate" was a culinary metaphor.

I thought it was the working title for the highly anticipated sequel to "Step Up 2 The Streets".
posted by mannequito at 4:05 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would personally welcome British sport references in the media of other countries, but watching sports for me is something like watching my nails grow, or counting to a million. But that aside, opinion pieces about how people should speak, and what words or phrases people should or shouldn't use make me shrug. Irregardless of grammar, of course.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:05 AM on January 20, 2009


Make up your own metaphors? hmmm.

I think the Guardian have failed their saving roll on this one. If we all started making up our own metaphors, then you may as well try and get your dog past Mayfair without paying £400.00. I suppose that the idea of it creeps inside you like a warm kitten, but at the end of the day, we're all left with hedgehogs pressed against our foreheads.

I for one - will not be stepping up to this particular plate. Mainly because it's covered in beans, but secondarily because language doesn't work in that way.
posted by seanyboy at 4:13 AM on January 20, 2009 [11 favorites]


Football hooligans in the UK can also be equated to drunken American Football fans in the States.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:21 AM on January 20, 2009


Cricket? Pah. I know even less about cricket than I do about baseball despite currently living in England.

There's an example of something I find much more annoying than sporting metaphors in this very thread. "Irregardless". However, even that pales in comparison to "I could care less". Argh!
posted by knapah at 4:23 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


An admirable forward defence ;). BTW, for years i thought "stepping up to the plate" was a steam engine metaphor
posted by MrMerlot at 4:26 AM on January 20, 2009


I was just discussing this with my significant other, and I agree wholeheartedly with the Guardian article. I mean, let's not beat around the bush; you should only use metaphors that represent things you have actually done or watched someone else do in a local context; otherwise, how are they supposed to make any sense at all? Only current, local metaphors make sense. Metaphors originating in other places: avoid those like the plague! Give it the old college try! They're only designed to curry favour. It goes without saying, doesn't it? Sure, you want to keep up with the Joneses with all those fancy metaphors, but it's okay to be the low man on the totem pole. Put your shoulder to the wheel on this one.
posted by Hildegarde at 4:34 AM on January 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oooh +1 insightful: the nation that produces the vast majority of Anglophone media tends to propagate its memes. I wonder if this bloke's heard of the interwebs. I expect the cliche "up to the plate" exists in British English because of its use in American English. So what?

I'd be more disturbed by a Clinton using cricket analogies, as he suggests, because I can't imagine they'd get them right.
posted by pompomtom at 4:37 AM on January 20, 2009


I think there's a definite subtext to the writer's anxiety about cricket terms losing column inches to baseball terms is a bit of nerves about cricket losing ground to other sports in the national attention span. Football isn't a terribly British sport anymore, at least in terms of the national origin of the vast majority of the Premiership. Cricket's slightly more British in makeup, and a bit more of a canary in the coal mine of cultural shift.

Summer sport? Check. Involve a ball and bat? Check. Catcher/wicketkeeper? Check. But that's kind of where the baseball/cricket analogy ends.
posted by Grrlscout at 4:49 AM on January 20, 2009


It's been happening in Australia as well, for quite a long time and except for Dermott Brereton using the term "quarterbacking" during Aussie Rules commentary, no-one really cares. In fact I think we'd refer to the linked article as "farnarkeling a pile of Heinz".
posted by awfurby at 4:55 AM on January 20, 2009


This certainly is a sticky wicket.
posted by orme at 4:57 AM on January 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Tangentially related:

It's weirder when other languages start adopting American expressions. In recent years, in Finnish, people have started adopting anglicisms and translating them into Finnish directly. 'Doesn't ring any bells.' 'In the long run.' etc. all sound ridiculous in Finnish and they are starting to replace the original Finnish expressions for the same things.

I used to do this when I was younger because of my muddled bi-lingual brain, but learned quickly thanks to the blank stares of non-native speakers of both Finnish and English.

The influence of American culture and the pervasive nature of dominant languages in general shouldn't be underestimated.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:59 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Irregardless".

I would of said "regardless", but I didn't want to loose that "ir" prefix.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:00 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


what seems to be the sticky wicket?
posted by es_de_bah at 5:01 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


damn, beaten to the punch!
posted by es_de_bah at 5:01 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's weirder when other languages start adopting American expressions. In recent years, in Finnish, people have started adopting anglicisms and translating them into Finnish directly. 'Doesn't ring any bells.' 'In the long run.' etc. all sound ridiculous in Finnish and they are starting to replace the original Finnish expressions for the same things.

Well of course direct translations of English expressions into Finnish are going to sound strange, those are two different languages. The columnist's complaint is people using metaphors derived from foreign sports, not a foreign language.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:04 AM on January 20, 2009


jfuller Is the Academy Francais still all bent over le drugstore and les bluejeans?


Dear Mr. Fuller,

first of all, it's the "Académie Française". Even if one is to concede that they are somewhat on the anal retentive side, that should be no reason to mangle the French language when naming them, of all people.

Moreover, I can't really understand this strange reverse snobbery concerning language which English-speakers often show. What you should keep in mind with the use of alleged Anglicisms in French (or other languages) is that the biggest perpetrators usually are les managers who introduce in this way all sorts of Godawful Globish phrases such as le marketing, le downsizing, l'empowerment, etc. Words and phrases that, if I had it my way, I would not only ban from the French language, but altogether from the face of the Earth.

Unfortunately, I'm not (yet) Absolute Ruler of the Universe, but, in the meantime, kudos to the Académie for its worthy, if doomed, efforts.
posted by Skeptic at 5:04 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Swing la bacaisse dans l’fond d’la boite à bois!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:10 AM on January 20, 2009


Remind me again what the raison d'être of the Académie Française is again?
posted by MuffinMan at 5:12 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've noticed that Americans rely far more heavily on these phrases / clichés as sentence constructors than the British, who seem to have a much closer relationship with the language and who are able to piece together sentences that sound more unique or thoughtful. It could be that I'm merely more accustomed to hearing American speech (being an American, living in America) and thus don't pick up on the British idioms.

But I find it enticingly easy to simply string together a bunch of common metaphors rather than actually thinking about and then constructing what I want to say. If it's true that the British are picking up on this (extremely bad) habit, well... I weep for the English language.

(See? Right there! "I weep for the..." —another one of those damned linguistic crutches.)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:13 AM on January 20, 2009


Americans using Euro-isms is far more annoying.
posted by jonmc at 5:19 AM on January 20, 2009


American cultural imperialism is asking for a bunch of fives!
posted by Joe Beese at 5:30 AM on January 20, 2009


This article is out in left field. Campbell's plea for cricket metaphors didn't make it to first base.
posted by netbros at 5:34 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


'Doesn't ring any bells.' 'In the long run.' etc. all sound ridiculous in Finnish and they are starting to replace the original Finnish expressions for the same things.

I used to do this when I was younger because of my muddled bi-lingual brain, but learned quickly thanks to the blank stares of non-native speakers of both Finnish and English.


My (fellow Iranian) friend and I used to this all the time because it made us laugh. For instance we'd directly translate this particular Farsi expression into English, and it became "Don't gargle my shit!". The Farsi metaphor means "Don't copy me" or "Don't say what I just said", but it sounds bizarre in English.
posted by Devils Slide at 5:46 AM on January 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Don't gargle my shit!". The Farsi metaphor means "Don't copy me" or "Don't say what I just said"

Hello, new catch-phrase.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:48 AM on January 20, 2009


I don't know about y'all, but I've always thought that gargling shit was a rum go.
posted by rdone at 5:55 AM on January 20, 2009


I used to do this when I was younger because of my muddled bi-lingual brain, but learned quickly thanks to the blank stares of non-native speakers of both Finnish and English.

This is an almost universal phenomenon in French immersion students here in Canada, we learn the French equivalents of English words but often the teachers either aren't familiar enough with how French is actually spoken or they have become so acclimated to the awkward phrase constructions that students come up with that they stop correcting them. One I remember was universally using "baiser" for "to kiss" without ever being told that there are times when this can have much more vulgur implications.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:00 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: pitching to an outside googly.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:00 AM on January 20, 2009


Bored newspaper columnist cranks out yet another thumbsucker ranting about some temporarily popular catchphrase—film at 11!

I've noticed that Americans rely far more heavily on these phrases / clichés as sentence constructors than the British, who seem to have a much closer relationship with the language and who are able to piece together sentences that sound more unique or thoughtful.

Hahahahaha!

...Er, have you ever known an actual Brit, or read a British newspaper, or... oh, never mind, enjoy your fantasies. Gosh, those accents are so sexy!
posted by languagehat at 6:08 AM on January 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


Is "run-up" a cricket metaphor, as in "the run-up to the election"? I always assumed it was a reference to the bowler (not that kind of bowler) running up to the line to bowl. It is becoming quite popular here in the US.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:12 AM on January 20, 2009


Weirdly, I was just wondering last night if there is any cricketing equivalent term for "switch-hitter." I mean, there must be batsmen who can do the same trick, right? What are they called?
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:17 AM on January 20, 2009


slimepuppy: It's weirder when other languages start adopting American expressions. In recent years, in Finnish, people have started adopting anglicisms and translating them into Finnish directly. 'Doesn't ring any bells.' 'In the long run.' etc. all sound ridiculous in Finnish and they are starting to replace the original Finnish expressions for the same things.

That's a common form of humour in the Netherlands as well. F.i. gangsta rap in Dutch. All the 'tough' expressions become ludicrous.

And yeah; similar concerns about the 'corruption' of Dutch by words from English origin go back to the WWII. Complaining about this is very much the domain of cranky curmudgeons writing letters to the newspaper.
posted by jouke at 6:18 AM on January 20, 2009


ah, they have skin in the game or a googly wicket

anyhoo, multilingualism rocks but multiple dialects of English confuse
posted by infini at 6:22 AM on January 20, 2009


I don't know if this is the problem in the UK, but in the US it isn't so much a love of cliche that's the problem. It's the echo chamber.

Some powerful person will frame a particular issue using a cliche. "The economy is a perfect storm" say. The media don't want to examine the issue, of course, they just want to give the illusion of depth while doing no thinking. Therefore all the talk shows and "journalists" just repeat the same frame without minor modifications, even if they are nominally disagreeing with the frame: "The economy? Perfect storm?" "How perfect is the storm of the economy?" "Economy is bad, but no perfect storm." Etc.
posted by DU at 6:28 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


...the British, who seem to have a much closer relationship with the language and who are able to piece together sentences that sound more unique or thoughtful.

Obviously you were not around for the great "at the end of the day" fiasco of 1999-2002. I swear to god if I'd heard one more news anchor/sportscaster/tv personality use that phrase I would've climbed into the tv and ripped his or her head off.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 6:34 AM on January 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


What a long-shot; all that running-around seems to be for the popularity of the phrase, 'step up to the plate'. You don't field from a silly mid-on position on linguistic changes; it's a bit like pinch-hitting, really, things mix unexpectedly. All part of the glorious uncertainities that a global tongue entails.
Sorry! :-(
posted by the cydonian at 6:39 AM on January 20, 2009


"Even the footballer, Joey Barton, on emerging from prison to play again for Newcastle United, said that "I am always one to step up to the plate." Oh, Joey, Joey. Couldn't you just have been the one to step up to the penalty spot?"

I expect he felt he'd just left there, and wasn't eager to go back.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:40 AM on January 20, 2009


I was just wondering last night if there is any cricketing equivalent term for "switch-hitter."

"Kevin Pietersen."

(The cricketing version of switch-hitting is playing reverse sweep. It's kind of show-offy, not terribly useful except in rare circumstances, and quite likely to go catastrophically wrong, which is why not many people bother. Pietersen is one of the only batsem who does it with a degree of regularity and success. See, for example, this clip.)
posted by flashboy at 6:41 AM on January 20, 2009


No doot aboot it.
posted by furtive at 6:41 AM on January 20, 2009


A message to English speakers everywhere: YOU DO NOT GET TO COMPLAIN ABOUT KEEPING YOUR LANGUAGE "PURE" OR "UNADULTERATED"!
When you come up with one of your own, one that isn't a hodge-podge of twenty or thirty others, with similes, metaphors and imagery stolen from all of them, then you can complain. Until then you get the red card for such attempts.

And "flicked silkily through the covers for four" sounds like one of those perversions British MPs die from.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 6:58 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everyone should read Orwell's Politics and the English Language. An excerpt:
Dying metaphors. A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically "dead" (e.g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles' heel, swan song, hotbed. Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a "rift," for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying. Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning withouth those who use them even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes written as tow the line.
posted by delmoi at 7:00 AM on January 20, 2009


...playing reverse sweep...

No, that's one of Sooty's favourite leisure activities.
posted by Phanx at 7:08 AM on January 20, 2009


Maybe it's really a matter of choosing the sport which has just the right nuances. You say you're ready to step up to the plate, Minister, but are you really going in to bat on this one? Are you ready to dive in? Is it all about to kick off or are we merely in the starting blocks?
posted by Phanx at 7:19 AM on January 20, 2009


It is what it is, you googly bastards.
posted by Mister_A at 7:21 AM on January 20, 2009


My ex-Boss used to always say "touch base" as a synonym for meeting, and it drove me batty. Baseball is just about non-existent in India.
posted by dhruva at 7:21 AM on January 20, 2009


Worried about colloquialisms creeping across the pond, are they? Wankers.
posted by Johnny Porno at 7:22 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know what stinks? When an American says "shite". It makes me want to scratch someone's face.
posted by Mister_A at 7:23 AM on January 20, 2009


Dear British Press:

You get your baseball-free linguistic purity just as soon as you stop placing flagrant Anglicisms in the mouths of North Americans. I can't count the number of times I've been reading an interview in the Guardian or some other unimpeachable source with, say, a starlet born and raised in the American Midwest, and she'll be quoted as saying "I would have done" or "That's spot on" or some other load of crap (not pile of shite). Unless it's Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones mode or Madonna in whatever alternate reality she's living in this month, no North American says "would have done." Not even by accident. Ever.

Thanks,

The Assholes (Never Arseholes) in the Colonies
posted by gompa at 7:30 AM on January 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Canadians can say whatever they want though, because no one cares.
posted by Mister_A at 7:35 AM on January 20, 2009


When a sport is rich in evocative metaphors, it's a sign that it's more fun to talk about than actually watch.
posted by Phanx at 7:37 AM on January 20, 2009


This is the hulcut6 of essays. It's like a sneezy blend of bluer niperiders with an occasional gunthrop tossed in for steamshiss.

Oh, not up on the Martian lingo, eh? *sniffs*

I do enjoy the cross-language mash up. Had a non-English speaking guy try to curse me out a bit back. We were in a pretty tense situation. I upped the tension a notch. The guy looked at me dead level and said "Hey you, mister!" (Like it was a class of being) "Shit on my face!"
We paused to comprehend that. Really busts up your tough guy schtick if everyone starts cracking up.
At least it broke the tension.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:40 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Smedleyman: I remember a Turkish guy doing similar. Instead of calling me a motherfucker, he yelled "You fuck my mother!" - I couldn't help laughing.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:48 AM on January 20, 2009


I don't care much about cross-pollination of language by other anglophone countries, but two things I would definitely like to shoot people on site for are:

- Overusing "like", like every other word, like.
- That incredibly grating habit of rising intonation at the end of every sentence so that everything sounds like a question.

Like, this one time at band camp...
posted by MuffinMan at 7:55 AM on January 20, 2009


Shoot people on site sight. Aargh.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:57 AM on January 20, 2009


I don't think this is about linguistic purity or French Academy stuff, btw. It's about people using expressions they don't really understand. Virtually none of those British people who talk about 'stepping up to the plate' have ever seen a real baseball game. If American culture had spread more, and Brits actually played baseball, there wouldn't be the problem.

It's actually more like those idiots who talk about 'Bollywood films' all the time, without being able to name one, never mind having seen any.
posted by Phanx at 7:58 AM on January 20, 2009


MuffinMan - you can't really shoot people on site, unless maybe it's some kind of first person shooter forum.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:59 AM on January 20, 2009


Aargh.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:59 AM on January 20, 2009


You mean upspeak? MuffinMan?
posted by Mister_A at 8:01 AM on January 20, 2009


Mister_A: consider yourself shot on site.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:04 AM on January 20, 2009


This site sucks! It's all shooty!
posted by Mister_A at 8:08 AM on January 20, 2009


just let it go through to the keeper.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:09 AM on January 20, 2009


Canadians can say whatever they want though, because no one cares.

Ah yes, that rich vein of sophisticated American wit that so readily explains why every other comedian in Hollywood is Canadian.

*checks seat for whoopee cushion*

*sits back down*
posted by gompa at 8:11 AM on January 20, 2009


Fourth base!
posted by Artw at 8:59 AM on January 20, 2009


All your wicket are belong to us!
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:14 AM on January 20, 2009


This whole situation is just a hurf waiting to durf.
posted by tehloki at 9:23 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yankees Endzone
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:35 AM on January 20, 2009


I touched a lady in the yankees endzone once.
posted by Artw at 9:49 AM on January 20, 2009


Whoop! BIG PLATES!
posted by Artw at 9:49 AM on January 20, 2009


It's about people using expressions they don't really understand.

Well, they clearly understand the meaning, so what's the problem? You don't need to understand the origins to use a phrase, as Hildegard ably pointed out.
posted by smackfu at 9:50 AM on January 20, 2009


A message to English speakers everywhere: YOU DO NOT GET TO COMPLAIN ABOUT KEEPING YOUR LANGUAGE "PURE" OR "UNADULTERATED"!
When you come up with one of your own, one that isn't a hodge-podge of twenty or thirty others, with similes, metaphors and imagery stolen from all of them, then you can complain. Until then you get the red card for such attempts.


Ha ha. Do you speak Sanskrit?
posted by Summer at 9:53 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


You're going to shoot people on sight because of something they said? Do they have speech-balloons coming out of their mouths when you see them saying those things?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:56 AM on January 20, 2009


"How distressing to see a man... using a baseball metaphor so lazily when our own national games offer so many richer ones."

Because that's an argument you can prove. Yawn.

And I am completely with smackfu on the not having to understand the origins of a phrase to use it. All kinds of common metaphors have origins you won't know a thing about, doesn't stop you from using them.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 10:24 AM on January 20, 2009


Following on from Smedleyman and UbuRoivas, I have shamelessly nicked this from a friend's Facebook page:
A german director said to an actor "You think I know fuck nothing but let me tell you, I know fuck all".
posted by 999 at 10:30 AM on January 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


You will probably hear Al Michaels use the term "scrum" during the Super Bowl.


And as a hater of all things Steelers, It was still nice (albeit for a split second) hearing the anchor say "Pittsburgh are through" on SkySports News yesterday.
posted by Zambrano at 10:59 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


To be fair, Americans frequently misuse the word "football".
posted by Artw at 11:02 AM on January 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


> first of all, it's the "Académie Française".

Well tonnerre mes chiens, Sceptique! Never been throwed down on by a member before. (Ah did mah French immersion in Baton Rouge.)
posted by jfuller at 11:23 AM on January 20, 2009


When I got hired to edit a UK-based magazine, I had about a gazillion OMG NO NOT A YANK comments on one of our particular niche industry's fave community websites. And so I made this cover mockup and claimed it was our next cover, just to screw with them.

After that, they left me alone, more or less.

(Also, I pointed out the editor of US Vogue Knitting is Australian, so everyone should just shut up).

It's all English language media, more or less, so who cares?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:25 AM on January 20, 2009


Ha! Honestly, if you showed me a magazine cover called Vogue Knitting, I would think that was the mockup.
posted by smackfu at 11:37 AM on January 20, 2009


Hey, smackfu, I get paid to write about what I love...and make cheap Sarah Palin jokes. What's not to like?

(That mockup was done much earlier in the fall, btw...)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:52 AM on January 20, 2009


Obviously you were not around for the great "at the end of the day" fiasco of 1999-2002.

I lived in the UK during this time and "At the end of the day..." was an omnipresent idiom. I haven't consumed UK media in as great a quantity since then and so I assumed it was a more or less permanent thing. Good to know it has passed.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 12:06 PM on January 20, 2009


No, no, no...

At the end of the day it's good to know it has passed.
posted by Artw at 12:08 PM on January 20, 2009


Is empire still randomly pending "uber" (with and without umlauts) on to everything?
posted by Artw at 12:09 PM on January 20, 2009


I, for one, welcome the presence of so many rounders metaphors in our beautiful dialect.



While we're on the subject: are Green Bay Packers union or league?
posted by Sova at 12:11 PM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Slambed-Duck!
posted by Artw at 12:22 PM on January 20, 2009


'Hey, I hate it when those lazy bastards in the media say [insert recycled phrase] instead of something original'

Didn't we do this really recently? Don't I get to wait till December before we have to have this discussion again?
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 12:22 PM on January 20, 2009


Your favorite national sports metaphors suck.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:42 PM on January 20, 2009


I'm hitting it out of the ballyard! GOOOOOOOOOOAAAL!
posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on January 20, 2009


Oh, we brits can't even get our own sporting metaphors right anyway - Margaret Thatcher once accused Neil Kinnock of 'bowling from the Nursery End' - which sounded cutting until you thought about it and realised that that would mean he was bowling at Lord's and so presumably was quite good at it.

The problem with Americanisms in the UK is not the Academie Francais argument that your wholesome, well-fed, straight-toothed metaphors are crowding out our weedy stammering figures of speech - it's rather that speaking like an American when you are British sounds like an affectation in the same way that speaking like you are British when you are American sounds like an affectation.

gompa - really? you don't say 'would have done'? What do you say instead?
posted by calico at 2:44 PM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


TOUCHCLOWN!
posted by Artw at 2:57 PM on January 20, 2009


What do you say instead?

Oh, we say all kinds of stuff, like "there's a whole nother one in the fridge," "nucular weapons," "my boss literally exploded" and "I don't believe in getting my dog spaded" for example.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:58 PM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


good, well. carry on.

I suppose I should of thought about it before asking.
posted by calico at 3:11 PM on January 20, 2009


I CAN SMELL WHAT THE ROCK IS COOKING!
posted by Artw at 3:14 PM on January 20, 2009


you don't say 'would have done'? What do you say instead?

Americans will say "would have done" but you will never heard one alter it around to say something like "to not have done". They'll at minimum throw a "that" at the end.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:19 PM on January 20, 2009


gompa - really? you don't say 'would have done'? What do you say instead?

Got a MeMail about this as well - not enough context, I guess.

So say someone asks, "Did you watch the cricket?"

The Brit answers, "No, I was stuck at work, but otherwise I would have done."

The North American answers, "No, but if I'd been locked in a sensory deprivation chamber for a week and then when I emerged that was the only station the TV could get, then I guess I would have." (Or "would've" or "woulda.") "Now shut up, Nigel, I'm tryin' to watch a real sport."
posted by gompa at 4:04 PM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah. Got you. It seems obvious now you say it - I really think I have a terrible ear for differences in dialect sometimes.
posted by calico at 4:40 PM on January 20, 2009


Margaret Thatcher once accused Neil Kinnock of 'bowling from the Nursery End' - which sounded cutting until you thought about it and realised that that would mean he was bowling at Lord's and so presumably was quite good at it.

Until you thought about it and realised that that would mean he was bowling for England and so presumably was quite mediocre at it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:46 PM on January 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


-chuckle-

/has UbuRoivas burnt down, puts ashes in trophy.
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


*ashes hereafter used as a trophy for the winner of Australia v England snarkfests on MetaFilter*
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:06 PM on January 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


TOUCHCLOWN!

In Soviet Russia, clown -- oh nevermind.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:53 PM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.

--James Nicoll

Other dialects are fair dinkum.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:30 PM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


What do you say instead?

GO STEELERS!

OK, not every American -- just the best ones.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:08 PM on January 20, 2009


I reckon most people don't mind use of US cliches that don't make sense out of context (baseball metaphors etc). It's more that the ones that really get out of hand (stepping up to the plate and so on) have usually become popular in management/motivational speak or as spokespersons' filler phrases for when their brains freeze up on TV.

Robotic language of that kind annoys people and they reach for the incomprehensible-American-sport-metaphor thing in defence. The same people would have no problem with the many other American usages that have long since become normal English idiom.
posted by Mocata at 2:54 AM on January 21, 2009


"Now shut up, Nigel, I'm tryin' to watch a real sport."

Like curling?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:01 AM on January 21, 2009


time to get on the front foot...could obama's victory be likened to The Ball of the Century?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:37 AM on January 22, 2009


Are you comparing Obama to Shane Warne? Obama has way more class and taste!

More like a fast bowler who favours yorkers. Kind of like the Darren Gough of US politics, minus the desire to host cheesy Saturday night game shows.
posted by Grrlscout at 2:53 AM on January 22, 2009


"More like a fast bowler who favours new yorkers"

fixed for you & that damn east coast lib'rul media.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:10 AM on January 22, 2009


(but yeh, gough was all class. warney's more like clinton, yeh?)
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:19 AM on January 22, 2009


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