Sod this for a lark…
Posted: 21 June 2007 12:25 AM   [ Ignore ]
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... is a Rightpondian expression of exasperation that is capable of infinite variation (e.g. blow this for a game of soldiers) on the model VERB this for a NOUN.
Is it understood in Leftpondia or any Anglophone Dominion?
I’ve baffled Europeans who speak English perfectly but can’t resist the temptation to analyse it.

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Posted: 21 June 2007 02:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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’Sod this for a lark’ would certainly raise some bewildered eyebrows in South Leftpondia but the X(V) this for a(n) Y(N) snowclone is used.  Not that I can think of any examples at the moment.

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Posted: 21 June 2007 06:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The expression would be understood without any difficulty by almost all native speakers of NZ English.

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Posted: 22 June 2007 06:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Faldage - 21 June 2007 02:52 AM

‘Sod this for a lark’ would certainly raise some bewildered eyebrows in South Leftpondia but the X(V) this for a(n) Y(N) snowclone is used.  Not that I can think of any examples at the moment.

I think the operative word is “some.” Many Americans would understand it immediately even though it isn’t the sort of thing one would hear from other Americans. Many of us watch British movies and British television shows and are familiar with Britspeak in general.

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Posted: 22 June 2007 07:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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happydog -

I think the operative word is “some.” Many Americans would understand it immediately .

The operative words being “understand” and “many”. 

A lot of people would get the gist from the context and knowing “on a lark”, but would they grok it?  Put grass on a bird! This is a stupid.

We have BBCAmerica on cable, Masterpiece Theatre, and Britcoms on PBS, but I don’t think a great percentage of the US is that into it, e.g. 3 million is many people, but it’s only 1% of the US population.  Very very few of my friends have any inkling of what I’m going on about if I say “I’m freeeee” or “It’s not Bucket, it’s Bouquet!”. 

Do I look bovvered? (^_^)

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Posted: 22 June 2007 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Many Americans would understand it immediately even though it isn’t the sort of thing one would hear from other Americans. Many of us watch British movies and British television shows and are familiar with Britspeak in general.

What Myridon said.  “Many” here apparently means “a lot of people I personally know.” I guarantee you if you took a representative sample of the US population very, very few would have any acquaintance with Britspeak.

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Posted: 22 June 2007 04:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I think there’s a big difference between understanding an in-joke like “It’s not Bucket, it’s Bouquet!” and “sod this for a lark.” As you say, “for a lark” isn’t anything strange in the US and “sod” as a British swear word isn’t uncommon in British television or movies.

Faldage gave a data point for “South Leftpondia” and I gave another. I’m in Orange County, California and since the population of my county exceeds the population of the entire state of Mississippi (for example) I felt the difference was worth mentioning.

Just for fun, let’s consider a few numbers. The BBC World News is available to 80% of American households. That translates to something like 220 million people, a number more than 3 times the population of Great Britain. Look at a “small” movie like “Trainspotting” and you find that basically as many Americans saw it in theatrical release as did Britons and when you factor in HBO, which reaches 32 million households or roughly 80 million people then the potential, at least, that “many” Americans have seen it is not out of the question. I’m not implying that BBC presenters ever say “sod” or even that any significant percentage of Americans actually watch the BBC World News. I’m just saying that because the US population is so large and the availability of British television and movies is so widespread, that even a small percentage of Americans watching British television and movies translates to millions of people at least familiar enough with Britspeak to understand something as simple as “sod this for a lark.”

I’m not claiming to “guarantee” anything, I just said that “many” Americans are familiar with Britspeak because of exposure to British television and film. The numbers may be small as a percentage of the total population but they still represent at least millions of people. If that isn’t “many” to you, that’s fine with me. We all see things from different perspectives, eh?

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Posted: 22 June 2007 05:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Many of us watch British movies and British television shows and are familiar with Britspeak in general

.

I’ve been exposed to American English nearly all my life, but I never heard the expression “dogpile” until the search engine Dogpile came out, and I never understood what it mean until very recently (we’d say “scrum") so I don’t think duration of exposure is an indication of likelihood of understanding of any given phrase.

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Posted: 22 June 2007 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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How ‘bout “road apples” then?

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Posted: 22 June 2007 06:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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How ‘bout “road apples” then?

Not until I googled it just now - over here we call horse shit horse shit ...

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Posted: 24 June 2007 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I’ve been exposed to American English nearly all my life, but I never heard the expression “dogpile” until the search engine Dogpile came out, and I never understood what it mean until very recently (we’d say “scrum")....

We used to call that “pigpile” in the NE USA, meaning to gang up and jump on someone. I think the term comes from the way puppies or piglets will crowd on top of each other to get comfortable. It has nothing to do with “road apples” or any other sort of crap.

Why does the english language always diverge as it evolves? American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealander english all derived from English english, but now they’re practically all separate languages with completely different accents. I would have thought that assuming that people’s brains are “wired” using essentially the same plan that there would be more convergence. I can see that new words might develop in different environments, but that doesn’t explain the emergence of different accents for the same words.

[ Edited: 24 June 2007 06:37 AM by LatLong ]
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Posted: 28 June 2007 06:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I hope I’m not out of order here (I only just joined this group - really enjoying it so far! - and I’m not quite sure of its netiquette) so forgive any offense, but the above reminded me of one of my favourite expressions - American I believe - ‘goatfuck’: the scrum of journalists attacking an emerging celeb with microphones and general impertinence.

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Posted: 28 June 2007 06:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Goatfuck can be any confused scrum of people, not just journalists. Or more widely, it can be any confused and poorly organized endeavor.

Goat rope can mean the latter as well.

And welcome aboard. Don’t worry about discussing four-letter words. We’re all adults here (mostly).

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