…is not a good idea. But let’s see what we can do. Even if you’re not a big Star Wars fan (I quite like the original three and Rogue One, though I first saw the originals when I was 14, slightly too old for them to really have a nostalgic hold on me. The Force Awakens, the first new Star Wars film in 32 years, is OK, but a bit derivative), you probably know Yoda.
Some Thoughts on Subtitles
I’ve mentioned before how I prefer, while living in Belgium, to watch English-language films in English with French and Dutch subtitles, though that’s not always easily available.
I also mentioned recently that I was going to see Blade Runner 2049 (which is good, but could never be as good as the first film). One of the advantages of watching films with subtitles is that it reveals interesting differences between the two or three languages involved, or gives you interesting translation choices to ponder.
Who is The Last Jedi? Or is it, “Who are…”
You might have noticed that December will see the release of the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi. When the title was first announced, people immediately picked up on an ambiguity: is Jedi singular or plural?
I Shall be Released
Browsing the internet yesterday, I noticed an article headlined thus: Marvel’s Dr. Strange has already released in the UK (and here in Ireland too, so I might catch it soon). Nothing too strange (no pun intended, but gladly accepted) there, you might think. But that has already released… really bothers me. It shouldn’t, but it does. Why? Because every fibre of my pedantic being tells me that it should be:
Marvel’s Dr. Strange has already been released in the UK.
Let’s step back for a moment and look at the grammar behind that feeling. Continue reading
An ambulance passed me by yesterday, and as I was looking at the word written on the side, I got to thinking about its etymology. Ambulance: surely there’s some association with walking in its history, considering similar words derived from the Latin verb ambulare (to walk) still exist today. To amble is an obvious one, but also the adjective ambulatory (associated with walking) Less obvious is pram (stroller or baby carriage in American English), a short form of the now outdated perambulator. Continue reading
Stop the Monkey Planet, I Want to Get Off
—Have you seen the new Monkey Planet film?
—Monkey Planet! You know the ones with the talking monkeys. That guy’s in this one, what’s his name, James Franco. It’s pretty good.
—Yeah, you know the first one, it’s from the 60s, with the astronauts and they crash land on a planet with talking monkeys!
—Are you ok?
—Monkey Planet, it’s a classic, how do you not know it!
—You’re talking nonsense, I’m leaving!
—Monkey Planet!! Ah, putain, attend, en anglais c’est Planet of the Apes!
Monkey Planet. Beneath the Monkey Planet. Escape from the Monkey Planet. Conquest of the Monkey Planet. Battle for the Monkey Planet. Tim Burton’s ill-advised Monkey Planet remake. Rise of the Monkey Planet. Dawn of the Monkey Planet. Untitled Monkey Planet Sequel.
How many of these films would you like to see (Battle for the Monkey Planet sounds like it could be good fun to be honest)?
They might all sound like fun, but aren’t they lacking the grativas of the title Planet of the Apes? It’s a good thing that the film’s producers went with that title then. But that wasn’t always the case… Continue reading
Teaching on TV
Teacher: Good morning class!
Class: Good morning!
*teacher writes Hello, my name is Niall. on the board*
*teacher points to self, says Hello, my name is Niall*
Teacher: Now Saud, you!
Pedro: Hello, my name is Saud.
Teacher: Very good! Now Anna, you.
Anna: Hello, my name is Anna.
Teacher:Yes Anna, very good! Now Chen, you.
Chen: Hello, my name is Anna.
Teacher: Ha ha, no Chen, your name is Chen!
Chen: Ah sorry! Hello, my name is Chen!
Teacher: Ok everyone, before you go, I want you to write Hello , my name is… 50 times on a suitably blank surface. Class dismissed!
I think the above is pretty representative of most of the depictions of English-language classes I’ve seen in films and TV programmes. I know everyone gets annoyed when their profession is depicted on screen and it’s quite inaccurate. We can’t expect film and TV writers to be experts in a job that might appear briefly in only one scene. But what annoys me about the way English classes are shown is that it’s indicative of a lot of people’s misconceptions of English-language classes.
Let’s look at what’s wrong with the lesson above.