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Lax vs salmon
Posted: 28 February 2014 07:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Thanks, happydog.

Note to SL:  although Scottish smoked salmon is delicious, it is not technically lox, as I understand it, which is first preserved by brining and then, if smoked, cold-smoked.

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Posted: 28 February 2014 08:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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What sitcom/episode was it?

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Posted: 28 February 2014 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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languagehat - 28 February 2014 06:49 AM

Just to state the (hopefully) obvious, the lax that comes from OE is irrelevant to the program Ratatosk was posting about; the only reason we’re talking about it is that Ratatosk, unfamiliar with the word lox, spelled it with an a

I am not sure whether it was pronounced with an o or an a.
But afterwards when I looked up the word lax online I got this result:

lax [laks] adjective, lax·er, lax·est.
1. not strict or severe; careless or negligent: lax morals; a lax attitude toward discipline.
2. loose or slack; not tense, rigid, or firm: a lax rope; a lax handshake.
3. not rigidly exact or precise; vague: lax ideas.
4. open, loose, or not retentive, as diarrheal bowels.
5. (of a person) having the bowels unusually loose or open.

And then it made sense to me.
So a play with the word; standing at the buffet bending over the (smoked?)salmon she had the opportunity to point out that her friend did not have a strict moral by shouting LAX/ LOX.
Both his parents were committing adultery and she wanted him to acknowledge and speak out the truth.
Anyway is was the comedy “Will and Grace”, taking place in New York and she was portraying a women with a jewish background.

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Posted: 28 February 2014 04:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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The episode is “Star Spangled Banner” and you can find the transcript online. Although sometimes those transcripts have errors, it seems clear enough that she is just saying lox, and that with your suggestion of a lax/lox play on words is reading too much into it.

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Posted: 28 February 2014 04:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Yes, the pronunciations are not very similar in standard American English: no more so than fox/fax or rocks/racks.  I really doubt there was any intentional play on words here.

I found (a script for) the same episode ("Star Spangled Banter,” actually) online, but I’m not sure if it’s the same one Ratatosk is referring to; the scene really doesn’t match his description.

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Posted: 28 February 2014 09:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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The episode is online and I just watched it, or at least the part where the word “lox” is said a few times. To my ear it’s pretty clearly pronounced as “lox” at the buffet table by Anne Meara, playing the part of Mrs. Friedman.  The young woman playing the part of Grace also says “lox” with the usual pronunciation.

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Posted: 01 March 2014 01:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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It’s not in the least surprising that Ratatosk should hear “lox” pronounced [more or less] the way he/she pronounces “lax”.
When one hears a word not in one’s native language, I think one tends mentally to transpose the sounds, into those sounds in one’s native language which feel closest to the original. Subsequently, one says the word, and spells it, in the sounds of one’s own language. It takes a lot of practice for an adult to learn to make language sounds which he/she didn’t learn in childhood. Any Westerner who has learned an Eastern language knows this well.

(EDIT) P.S. Loved your subtly nuanced analysis, Ratatosk. If you haven’t already, you should have a shot at Biblical exegesis.  ;-)

[ Edited: 01 March 2014 02:10 AM by lionello ]
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Posted: 01 March 2014 06:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Don’t worry, Doc, you’re not invisible to all of us.

I was not mantling the Good Doctor, I was emphasizing his point and stating it more definitively because people were continuing to talk about lax as if it had some relation to the original topic.  Furthermore, Ratatosk still seems to think it does, though it’s hard to tell exactly how much of the “play with the word” comment is tongue-in-cheek.

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Posted: 01 March 2014 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Yes, it is clearly lox in this context. As OP Tipping and Languagehat state, connecting it to lax is reading way too much into it. The notion that elsewhere someone might refer to it as lax is just not thinkable to a Jewish New York. It’s lox.

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