FIREFLY CHINESE TRANSLATIONS

Goram?

POSTED BY: IMPULSIVELAD
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 9, 2008 18:05
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Tuesday, January 20, 2004 8:56 AM

IMPULSIVELAD


I don't know if this is Chinese... probably not since I can't find it translated anywhere but they sure say it a lot.

Example: "Goram, Reavers!"

What does it mean? IS it Chinese? A made up future word? What?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004 9:01 AM

PHLEBOTININ


As far as I know, it stands in for "goddamn." I guess it's supposed to represent a morphing of Engish in the 500 years since now.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004 9:01 AM

ZAPHODB


It's "gorram". Probably a contraction of goddamn.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004 9:01 AM

ASTRIANA


My personal opinion is that it ain't really either Chinese or English, it's both.

Like "Goddamn" + Asian pronunciation = Gorramn. This, of course, depends on who you hear say it. Some pronounce it "GORE-am", some "GAH-ram", and some even "GO-ram". Kind of like "toe-MAY-toe" versus "toe-MAH-toe." Then there's always Gorramnit (i.e., goddamnit) - all those pronunciations with "it" added, plus "gore-AM-it".

Just my English/linguistics teacher peekin' through...

~A~

...I'm still free,
You can't take the sky from me.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004 10:32 AM

HUMBLE


Think it's something Joss came up with as a "swear word" they could use that would spice up the dialogue on the show without upsetting the censors. Supposed to equate to Goddamn.( Pardon my French ladies.)

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004 10:47 AM

WERESPAZ


Quote:

( Pardon my French ladies.)


You have French ladies? I'm jealous.

-The SpAz

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004 10:54 AM

JAYNE'SJOJO


Sometime last weekend I started reading the script from the never filmed episode of FF about a fair - now I've lost it. Anyone know where I would be able to find it?
Thanks,
JoJo

JoJo

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004 10:57 AM

ZAPHODB


http://www.fireflyfans.net/feature.asp?f=45

"Dead or Alive"

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004 10:58 AM

JAYNE'SJOJO


Thank you!

JoJo

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004 5:54 PM

DARWIN


I never ever thought of "goddamn" as a swear word, probably cos i'm not religious.
But I always thought it should be something that can only be said by those who are catholic and what not. Kinda like how only black people can say the N-word, Because if you don't believe in god, then there's nothing there to damn with.
I remember saying it infront of some strangers and they all looked at me like I was hitler. Funny place.

So Go Ram it!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004 10:52 PM

FLAMETREE


goddamn is a swear word?

I always thought it was put in scripts when they wanted to show a charater was uneducated and from the country (like Jayne for example). now its swearing ! You live and learn I guess :)

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004 11:32 PM

LOADANDMAKEREADY


Yes, it's a deliberate mispronunciation of "God Damn," It's fairly common in certain parts of the British Isles -- Yorkshire for example.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004 11:54 PM

QUIXOTE13


Hi,

It doesn't sound like it's an Asian pronunciation of "goddamn," although that's a good theory given the linguistic implications of having a future language not just peppered with foreign idioms, but with complete sentences (indicating bilingualism or diglossia more than a merge).

Maybe if the word had been "gollum," I'd buy your etymological explanation more, given the common difficulty in hearing and pronouncing "L" for the native speakers of some Asian languages--like Chinese and Japanese. For those out there who are unaware, there are certain sounds that we lose the ability to perceive--and make--but maybe can regain with much effort in our adulthood, that exist in other languages. If you don't speak something like Bengali, it's almost impossible to tell the difference between an aspirated "B" and an unaspirated "B."

I think it's just something Joss and the writers made up, or figured if you said it fast enough--a double "R" sounds pretty close to "D."

And yes, "goddamn" is actually a swear or curse word, because you're calling on a deity/divinity to damn/curse someone or something. The use of various spellings like "goddam," "goddamn," "goddammit," etc. may have been a way to circumvent censors who were more keyed (legalistically) into "God damn it!" It's one of the words the FCC in the U.S. doesn't allow to be said on the radio, too.

Take care,

Quixote13



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Wednesday, January 28, 2004 3:21 PM

SAMURAIX47


Do you ever notice watching a movie a local stations or on TBS, or FX channel and they blankout the "god" when ever someone says goddamn... it's so they don't affend those who feel it is a blaspheme.

Jaymes

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Wednesday, January 28, 2004 4:32 PM

JASONZZZ



Ur. No, that's not right. There are plenty
of "L" sounds in both major dialects of
Chinese.

Quote:

Originally posted by Quixote13:
Hi,

...given the common difficulty in hearing and pronouncing "L" for the native speakers of some Asian languages--like Chinese and Japanese....

Take care,

Quixote13






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Wednesday, January 28, 2004 4:50 PM

ROCKETJOCK



"Goram" is an obvious attempt to sidestep censorship. American broadcast television doesn't allow you to say "God Damn" because it might offend some Fundie somewhere, who might initiate a boycott of your sponsors. Funny thing is that you can say "God", or you can say "damn", but if you say "God Damn", they bleep one syllable or the other, usually "God", which, to me at least, lends a humorous effect. "Oh ___damn it!" Sounds like they tried to swear, but hiccoughed instead.

Joss's other non-swear word, "Rutting" (or "Runnin', if it's Jayne talking) has been absorbed into my personal lexicon; it's convenient to have personal substitutes for strong language; useful in the workplace, for example.

Now I just need to learn how to curse in Chinese...

"A censor is someone who decides that, since the baby can't handle lobster, we must all eat pablum." -- Robert A Heinlein


RocketJock

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Wednesday, January 28, 2004 10:04 PM

FLAMETREE



There is a beginners chinese (pinyin) english characters chat site at

http://zhongwen.com/chat.htm

This is very good however I don't think they are into cursing but you can try you luck :)

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Wednesday, January 28, 2004 10:05 PM

FLAMETREE



There is a beginners chinese (pinyin) english characters chat site at

http://zhongwen.com/chat.htm

This is very good however I don't think they are into cursing but you can try you luck :)

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Thursday, January 29, 2004 11:25 PM

QUIXOTE13


Hi Jasonzzz,

The issue isn't that there are "L" sounds (I never said there weren't if you take what you quoted from me in the context of the entire paragraph) in Chinese, it's that it's difficult to hear and pronounce given that particular sound's context within a language that's foreign to the listener.

In my previous example with the aspirated and unaspirated "B" in Bengali, in English we don't have any words that start with "bh" or require an aspirated pronunciation like the Bengali word for "good," which is "bhalo." However, we do have the sound--it's just in between two words, like "job hunt."

When hearing the word "bhalo" spoken by native speakers of Bengali, most English speakers report hearing no difference between aspirated and unaspirated "B"--even though the sound exists in the English language.

So what I was discussing in this instance was perception. There are obviously L sounds in Chinese and Japanese, but I was proposing an explanation based on linguistic research as to why, even though those sounds existed in those languages, native speakers of those languages had difficulty making that sound when speaking a language foreign to them.

Take care,

Quixote13


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Sunday, February 1, 2004 8:14 PM

JASONZZZ



I agree with you about those linguistics principles in general. But using the "L"
sound with the Chinese and Japanese language
is not a really good example. Most Chinese
I know can pronounce the "L" sound just find
and they can recognize the same sound in
their own language. Japanese people on the
other hand often have difficulty with the "L"
sound exactly b/c their language has no "L"
sound in it and they are completely unfamiliar
with it.

The "bh" sound is a much better example, although using any language to compare with the sounds in the English language is terrible. English is the laziest language in the world. The sounds are completely imprecise and varies greatly depending on each person.

Quote:

Originally posted by Quixote13:
Hi Jasonzzz,

The issue isn't that there are "L" sounds (I never said there weren't if you take what you quoted from me in the context of the entire paragraph) in Chinese, it's that it's difficult to hear and pronounce given that particular sound's context within a language that's foreign to the listener.

In my previous example with the aspirated and unaspirated "B" in Bengali, in English we don't have any words that start with "bh" or require an aspirated pronunciation like the Bengali word for "good," which is "bhalo." However, we do have the sound--it's just in between two words, like "job hunt."

When hearing the word "bhalo" spoken by native speakers of Bengali, most English speakers report hearing no difference between aspirated and unaspirated "B"--even though the sound exists in the English language.

So what I was discussing in this instance was perception. There are obviously L sounds in Chinese and Japanese, but I was proposing an explanation based on linguistic research as to why, even though those sounds existed in those languages, native speakers of those languages had difficulty making that sound when speaking a language foreign to them.

Take care,

Quixote13


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Tuesday, February 3, 2004 12:19 PM

QUIXOTE13


Hi Jasonzzz,

It might help you to know that not only am I Chinese and speak Mandarin as well as Cantonese (and have been helping with the translations), but it's only one of five languages (Japanese included) that I speak.

With the perspective that gives me, it's very difficult for me to imagine that English is a language that's "lazier" than others or has a corner on the market when it comes to people speaking it differently. It's just another language, and it is treated like any other language when it's spoken (speech recognition programmers have not singled out English as the one language they can't work with, while reveling in others). There's no such thing as natural "precision" when it comes to speaking/pronouncing a language (words tend to run together and geography tends to encourage and maintain dialects and accents)--there may be artificially/socially designated forms that are considered precise, like the "Queen's English" or Mandarin as it's spoken in Beijing by native speakers, but that's quite different from saying English, as one example, is special in the laziness of its speakers (language itself not being able to be lazy).

Again, my apologies if my explanation and example didn't work for you. As we were discussing "gorram" and the implications of a future where Chinese will be used alongside English, it seemed the best example at hand for me to use when it came to the hypothesis that "gorram" was a Chinese-influenced modification of the word "goddamn."

My point was never that Chinese speakers could not hear the "L" sound at all, especially in their own language. (I stated so in my post that you quoted!) My point (also in my post that you quoted) is that hearing (differentiating) a sound made in a language foreign to a person, despite the presence of the sound in that person's language, is oftentimes difficult.

I'm not sure where your disagreement or question lies. Perhaps you're saying that you don't believe that native Chinese speakers have a difficult time hearing the "L" sound when it is used in English. Fair enough. If that's the case, I'm curious to hear your explanation for the difficulty in making the "L" sound in English for native Chinese speakers, and just to keep this thread somewhat on topic, your idea for how the word "gorram" came about.

Regards,

Quixote13


Quote:

Originally posted by Jasonzzz:

I agree with you about those linguistics principles in general. But using the "L"
sound with the Chinese and Japanese language
is not a really good example. Most Chinese
I know can pronounce the "L" sound just find
and they can recognize the same sound in
their own language. Japanese people on the
other hand often have difficulty with the "L"
sound exactly b/c their language has no "L"
sound in it and they are completely unfamiliar
with it.

The "bh" sound is a much better example, although using any language to compare with the sounds in the English language is terrible. English is the laziest language in the world. The sounds are completely imprecise and varies greatly depending on each person.




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Tuesday, February 3, 2004 9:23 PM

JASONZZZ



Quote:

Originally posted by Quixote13:
Hi Jasonzzz,

It might help you to know that not only am I Chinese and speak Mandarin as well as Cantonese (and have been helping with the translations), but it's only one of five languages (Japanese included) that I speak.

With the perspective that gives me, it's very difficult for me to imagine that English is a language that's "lazier" than others or has a corner on the market when it comes to people speaking it differently. It's just another language, and it is treated like any other language when it's spoken (speech recognition programmers have not singled out English as the one language they can't work with, while reveling in others). There's no such thing as natural "precision" when it comes to speaking/pronouncing a language (words tend to run together and geography tends to encourage and maintain dialects and accents)--there may be artificially/socially designated forms that are considered precise, like the "Queen's English" or Mandarin as it's spoken in Beijing by native speakers, but that's quite different from saying English, as one example, is special in the laziness of its speakers (language itself not being able to be lazy).




English is lazy and the nuiansances are the most difficult to learn because it is based in so many different roots. You have words that are traced back to French, German, Russian, Latin, Spanish, Greek, plus about 23 other roots. Things don't make sense b/c when you've learned one set of rules to apply the proper roots and the pronounciation to go with them, you also need to learn the 46+ other odd exceptions to each of the rules. Consider the the differences between Latin and English. Latin has hard and fast rules when it comes to verb conjugation. In basic Latin, there are about 27 different types of conjugation, but that's it, there are exactly 13 verbs that do not follow those rules - irregular verbs. There are no irregular nouns in Latin. If you learn those, that's it. In English, there are many more unexpected ones. English is easy to just speak because it's lazy and you can just mumble your way thru it, but it is difficult to learn the nuisances.


Quote:

Originally posted by Quixote13:



Again, my apologies if my explanation and example didn't work for you. As we were discussing "gorram" and the implications of a future where Chinese will be used alongside English, it seemed the best example at hand for me to use when it came to the hypothesis that "gorram" was a Chinese-influenced modification of the word "goddamn."

My point was never that Chinese speakers could not hear the "L" sound at all, especially in their own language. (I stated so in my post that you quoted!) My point (also in my post that you quoted) is that hearing (differentiating) a sound made in a language foreign to a person, despite the presence of the sound in that person's language, is oftentimes difficult.




I am quite interested in what literature it is documented that Chinese speakers (whether it be Mandarin or Cantonese) has a difficult time hearing or speaking the "L" sound in Chinese or in English. The word for the number 0 - ling0 - has that sound. I have no doubt that people who are not used to tonals or the difference between aspirated and non-aspirated sounds (and other linguistic nuisances present in other languages) have difficulty detecting them - such as the hoarse throat clearing sound that Korean people make when they want to emphasize (It actually sounds like the sound that the French make with thei "Cr" sound) an emotion. But I really don't
think Chinese people in particular have any difficulty at all hearing the "L" in their own or in other people's language.


Quote:

Originally posted by Quixote13:



I'm not sure where your disagreement or question lies. Perhaps you're saying that you don't believe that native Chinese speakers have a difficult time hearing the "L" sound when it is used in English. Fair enough. If that's the case, I'm curious to hear your explanation for the difficulty in making the "L" sound in English for native Chinese speakers, and just to keep this thread somewhat on topic, your idea for how the word "gorram" came about.

Regards,

Quixote13



I don't think Chinese speakers have trouble saying the "L" sound in English at all. However, I do believe that native lifelong Cantonese speakers do have trouble aspirating the final consonants in many English words because it is not done in Cantonese.

And Gorram or gorrammit is a construct the writers used to get around having to offend the people who are offended by "God Damn it".


Quote:

Originally posted by Quixote13:



Quote:

Originally posted by Jasonzzz:

I agree with you about those linguistics principles in general. But using the "L"
sound with the Chinese and Japanese language
is not a really good example. Most Chinese
I know can pronounce the "L" sound just find
and they can recognize the same sound in
their own language. Japanese people on the
other hand often have difficulty with the "L"
sound exactly b/c their language has no "L"
sound in it and they are completely unfamiliar
with it.

The "bh" sound is a much better example, although using any language to compare with the sounds in the English language is terrible. English is the laziest language in the world. The sounds are completely imprecise and varies greatly depending on each person.





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Wednesday, February 4, 2004 12:15 PM

QUIXOTE13


Hi Jasonzzz,

"English is lazy and the nuiansances are the most difficult to learn because it is based in so many different roots."

It sounds to me that it's not a "lazy" language if there are so many difficult things to learn about it. (And do you mean "nuances" or "nuisances"?) Again, the idea that an actual language can be lazy is like saying a hammer is lazy. It's the person who's using the tool that determines how the tool's used.

"Consider the the differences between Latin and English. Latin has hard and fast rules when it comes to verb conjugation."

First off, Latin is a dead language. The rules for it are extrapolated (and therefore questionable to the extent that it's a language with rules that may be greatly imposed by artifice rather than natural grammatical development). It not being a living language, the opportunity for it to evolve through use by different speakers/cultures--to develop a flexibility that doesn't involve hard and fast rules--is missing. Try looking at a living language--Italian, for example. It wasn't organized into a standard form until relatively recently, and some "dialects" (there's one in Sardinia, I think it's called Sardu, but I'm not sure) are considered the closest to Latin as it was spoken centuries ago. I think there are some Gypsy languages that also show a closer kinship to Latin than say, modern Spanish or Italian. Anyway, my point is that Italian is highly irregular and reflects how the language has been used and shaped over the centuries. It can be called "lazy" because there are contractions and arbitrary rules (when I was learning it, a lot of the times I would say something technically correct, but was considered grammatically wrong because it "just wasn't how you say it"), although in my opinion, I found this to be a difficult--or "hard-working"--language due to its nuances.

"English is easy to just speak because it's lazy and you can just mumble your way thru it, but it is difficult to learn the nuisances."

Just because someone "mumbles" their way through a language doesn't make the language "lazy." That's the oddest piece of reasoning that I'm having difficulty understanding from you. If your name is Jason, and I mumble "Jezzin"--does that make your name lazy? People mumble but that's wholly different from how people run their words together when they speak. All people run their words together when speaking, even when they are enunciating. It's why speech recognition is so difficult, because the human brain can tell when one word ends and another begins (usually), but a computer hasn't developed that sophistication yet. The only time a person isn't running words together is. If. They. Speak. Like. This.

Regardless, I'm going to let this discusion on the laziness of English go. It's obvious we're not understanding each other, agreement or disagreement aside.

"I am quite interested in what literature it is documented that Chinese speakers (whether it be Mandarin or Cantonese) has a difficult time hearing or speaking the "L" sound in Chinese or in English."

Look it up on the internet or talk to a linguist. I did, but that was years ago.

"The word for the number 0 - ling0 - has that sound."

It's actually "ling," second tone. And once again, yes, Chinese has the "L" sound. I've written this repeatedly, and you've quoted me writing it, so you must have read it! I've also told you that I speak Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese), so I'm fully aware of this sound's existence in that language. I don't understand why you insist on not hearing me when I acknowledge (and preemptorily state) that there is an "L" sound in Chinese. So, for my sake if not this thread, I'm dropping this part of the discussion as well.

"I have no doubt that people who are not used to tonals or the difference between aspirated and non-aspirated sounds (and other linguistic nuisances present in other languages) have difficulty detecting them - such as the hoarse throat clearing sound that Korean people make when they want to emphasize (It actually sounds like the sound that the French make with thei "Cr" sound) an emotion."

The sounds used to express emotion are a subset of language (they usually aren't words per se), and your example doesn't quite make sense to me: how is the throat clearing to emphasize an emotion in Korean difficult to detect? Are you saying that people who are not native speakers of Korean don't recognize/detect/hear the verbal emotional emphasis? I'm not familiar with Korean, so please explain.

"But I really don't think Chinese people in particular have any difficulty at all hearing the 'L' in their own or in other people's language."

I agree. I would also like to deepen this understanding by saying that an "L" is not a singular sound when it comes to language. An "L" in context is a different thing than an "L" in isolation. Regardless, if you don't think this is true of native Chinese speakers, that they have difficulty hearing "L" *within the context* of a foreign language, that's cool. What's your hypothesis for why "L" is so hard to pronounce for native Chinese speakers? (Personally, I don't have a problem with "L" in English, but I grew up bilingually).

"I don't think Chinese speakers have trouble saying the 'L' sound in English at all."

My experience, as a Chinese person with plenty of contact with Chinese people of all backgrounds, makes me disagree with your belief there.

"And Gorram or gorrammit is a construct the writers used to get around having to offend the people who are offended by 'God Damn it'."

Yep, we established that earlier in the thread--however, we were also having fun speculating as to how the word was constructed by the writers, what the etymology of it was.

Regards,

Quixote13

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Wednesday, February 4, 2004 12:42 PM

OKKAY


I'm sure most chinese people (including me) could tell you that the mixup between R's and L's is not uncommon. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think it has something to do with the way L's are pronounced in Mandarin by certain groups of people, in that they actually say something that comes out in between the English "R" and "L" sounds. So depending on the kind of Mandarin they speak, the mixup is more or less pronounced.
One thing I'll always remember (for some reason) was back when we were kids, one time at the swimming pool my mom asked if we needed a towel, and it came out "tower", and we kind of made fun of her for that.

Anyways, here's a joke for you all that has to do with this topic:

What do you call a girl with only one leg?

Eileen

What do you call a chinese girl with only one leg?

Irene

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Wednesday, February 4, 2004 1:47 PM

KALATHENA


I can assure you that English is NOT an easy language to learn. I work with a majority of Spanish-speaking 2nd graders and they have a hell of a time with all of the different phoneme (sound) to letter correspondences we have. Spanish has *almost* a one-to-one correspondence.

There are also plenty of sounds in other languages that English speakers have a near impossible time with. The un-aspirated /p/ of Hindi leaps to mind or most of Hindi's palatal sounds (those made on the roof of the mouth; it has about 3 times more than English does, depending on which segment of the palate the tongue hits) English speakers also have trouble with the glottal fricative of semitic languages and the alveolar fricative of Spanish (the rolled "r").

Last fall I had to take a very interesting linguistics class called Language and Culture. Among linguists, the only certainties about language is that 1) Languages *will* change over time and 2) Those changes are entirely unpredictable.

Any type of qualitative descriptor for languages are considered culturally biased by linguists. Languages are not "simple" or "primitive" or "lazy". They are also not "advanced" or "civilized". They are different and have different sounds, word formation, sentence formation and meaning. Our instructor once asked us why we consider people who take shortcuts in other aspects of life to be "efficient" but someone taking a shortcut in language is "lazy". If it is mutually intelligible then it serves its primary function.

--Kala

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Wednesday, February 4, 2004 2:51 PM

KALATHENA


BTW, "Goddamn" is actually on the "Big Six" list of things you can't say on network television. It was the "Big Seven" up until about five or six years ago when they removed "bitch".

As puritanical as our roots are, I would be willing to bet the "f" word is allowed long before they let you say "goddamn" on American TV.

--Kala

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Wednesday, February 4, 2004 11:19 PM

QUIXOTE13


Kalathena,

THANK YOU! :)

Take care,

Q13

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Thursday, February 5, 2004 6:53 AM

JASONZZZ



Fine... if particular regions or segments of Chinese people do have difficulties forming the "L" sound in English, whether it's b/c they have trouble understanding their own "L" sound, or they can't hear the "L" sound in another language, or some other personal reason. It's all fine. But let's stop perpetuating the myth that *ALL* chinese (native chinese, not necessarily chinese people, since the language difficulties are learned and not necessarily genetics - that is short of actual physiological defects) have difficulty doing the "L" sound. There are 52 major dialects of "Chinese" and 200+ some minor ones with that many different types of people speaking them. I make the statement that I don't think Chinese people have difficulty speaking the "L" sound b/c I have never ever met a single one. They might have misspoke - as any one can do when their tongue trips over, but they have a good chance of murdering any other syllables as well. Let's just leave it at that. Since mandarin is spoken differently for every 100 yards you walk, I have no doubt that there *are* in fact mandarin speakers who have difficulty with forming the differences between and "R" and "L" sounds.

So, let's just say that: "Some mandarin speakers have trouble distinguishing and learning the "L' sound in English".

Lazy - I didn't specify that any other language is Lazy - I called English lazy as a language, but not with the same connotation that everyone seems to like - stupid and dumb. Let's not get too worked up or carry over. I didn't call any culture or entire race lazy. English as a language allows it's speakers to "take it easy" and slur and mumble their way thru not only the sounds, but the structures and constructs and still be understood. Most English speakers allow these slurring and mumbling and "taking it easy" on sounds and structure b/c the language allows them to. The language is filled with ambiguities on mooses and meeses, there lacks hard and fast conjugation rules to determine tenses, gender, places in time.
I never eluded to anything about English being superior or inferior. The language is probably lazy is you called me "Jazzin" instead of "Jason" and I still allow it and it's understood. Maybe I should call it "Relaxed", but then I run the risk of people thinking I am calling it "loose fitting" or maybe "ill fitting".

Good luck being understood in a romance language if you misconjugated any other thing than "Can I have another beer?"

That's what I mean when I say a language is "Lazy".

Yes, Latin is a dead language and it might not be evolving at the same MTV pace that American English is. But it had a much further run during its prime *and* it is still being used extensively in academic pursuits. Learning Latin is important b/c of it allows us English speakers to learn the basic roots, constructs, and a good set of principles within the confines of a good set of rules. I have mentioned before, English has more exceptions than rules. Often times, no one agrees with the exact usage of some of its constructs.

Let's not get too technical at it, the entire field of linguistics is made up anyways, it's all based on approximations of the sounds and constructs. People learn thru passing it from person to person. Yeah sure, it's done a lot of good documentating and studying; and it has a lot ancillary uses in other anthropology and medical fields. But it's ruined a couple of good languages as well. But then it might not be the techniques, it's probably the people doing it. I found the constructs help clarify and categorize concepts, but you can't lean on them too much, otherwise you are always arguing about which romanization system is better, or if Cantonese actually use 8, 10, 12, or 16 different tones. Bah!




Quote:

Originally posted by Quixote13:
Kalathena,

THANK YOU! :)

Take care,

Q13

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Thursday, February 5, 2004 10:36 AM

QUIXOTE13


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Quote:

Originally posted by Jasonzzz:

Fine... if particular regions or segments of Chinese people do have difficulties forming the "L" sound in English, whether it's b/c they have trouble understanding their own "L" sound, or they can't hear the "L" sound in another language, or some other personal reason. It's all fine. But let's stop perpetuating the myth that *ALL* chinese (native chinese, not necessarily chinese people, since the language difficulties are learned and not necessarily genetics - that is short of actual physiological defects) have difficulty doing the "L" sound. There are 52 major dialects of "Chinese" and 200+ some minor ones with that many different types of people speaking them. I make the statement that I don't think Chinese people have difficulty speaking the "L" sound b/c I have never ever met a single one. They might have misspoke - as any one can do when their tongue trips over, but they have a good chance of murdering any other syllables as well. Let's just leave it at that. Since mandarin is spoken differently for every 100 yards you walk, I have no doubt that there *are* in fact mandarin speakers who have difficulty with forming the differences between and "R" and "L" sounds.

So, let's just say that: "Some mandarin speakers have trouble distinguishing and learning the "L' sound in English".

Lazy - I didn't specify that any other language is Lazy - I called English lazy as a language, but not with the same connotation that everyone seems to like - stupid and dumb. Let's not get too worked up or carry over. I didn't call any culture or entire race lazy. English as a language allows it's speakers to "take it easy" and slur and mumble their way thru not only the sounds, but the structures and constructs and still be understood. Most English speakers allow these slurring and mumbling and "taking it easy" on sounds and structure b/c the language allows them to. The language is filled with ambiguities on mooses and meeses, there lacks hard and fast conjugation rules to determine tenses, gender, places in time.
I never eluded to anything about English being superior or inferior. The language is probably lazy is you called me "Jazzin" instead of "Jason" and I still allow it and it's understood. Maybe I should call it "Relaxed", but then I run the risk of people thinking I am calling it "loose fitting" or maybe "ill fitting".

Good luck being understood in a romance language if you misconjugated any other thing than "Can I have another beer?"

That's what I mean when I say a language is "Lazy".

Yes, Latin is a dead language and it might not be evolving at the same MTV pace that American English is. But it had a much further run during its prime *and* it is still being used extensively in academic pursuits. Learning Latin is important b/c of it allows us English speakers to learn the basic roots, constructs, and a good set of principles within the confines of a good set of rules. I have mentioned before, English has more exceptions than rules. Often times, no one agrees with the exact usage of some of its constructs.

Let's not get too technical at it, the entire field of linguistics is made up anyways, it's all based on approximations of the sounds and constructs. People learn thru passing it from person to person. Yeah sure, it's done a lot of good documentating and studying; and it has a lot ancillary uses in other anthropology and medical fields. But it's ruined a couple of good languages as well. But then it might not be the techniques, it's probably the people doing it. I found the constructs help clarify and categorize concepts, but you can't lean on them too much, otherwise you are always arguing about which romanization system is better, or if Cantonese actually use 8, 10, 12, or 16 different tones. Bah!




Quote:

Originally posted by Quixote13:
Kalathena,

THANK YOU! :)

Take care,

Q13

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Friday, February 6, 2004 2:39 AM

KALATHENA


Quote:

...there lacks hard and fast conjugation rules to determine tenses, gender, places in time.


At the risk of getting "too technical"...

English does have what is considered mostly an isolating type of conjugation. The conjugation is only actually done for tense and we add a second word (he, she, it...) for things like person and to denote gender. We also isolate for mood. And we have no case to our language; many eastern European languages have case (Lithuanian has 7, for example).

In the 19th century, there was a tremendous amount of research done in linguistics to make certain that the world knew that the more cases and tenses and the less isolating a language is, the superior the language and the more "civilized" it was. Guess what? Most of these studies were done by Eastern Europeans. Go figure. Remnants of those beliefs still exist today.

Quote:

Yes, Latin is a dead language and it might not be evolving at the same MTV pace that American English is. But it had a much further run during its prime *and* it is still being used extensively in academic pursuits. Learning Latin is important b/c of it allows us English speakers to learn the basic roots, constructs, and a good set of principles within the confines of a good set of rules.


This is not a good reason to learn Latin. Latin is a good language to learn because in and of itself, it has very interesting rules and structures. It is also very important to learn if you want to be able to understand any of the cultural nuances of the millions of works of literature that were written in Latin.

But to say that you need to learn Latin to understand the roots of English is like saying you need to learn Sanskrit to understand the roots of Japanese. English is a Germanic, not a Latin language. Because Latin was elevated to "superior" status for so long, many people still believe this. They have done things to "ruin" the language by proscribing stupid rules like "you can't split an infinitive" when English infinitives are made up of two words and Latin infinitives are one. Applying Latin rules to English is just rediculous.

Quote:

But it's ruined a couple of good languages as well. But then it might not be the techniques, it's probably the people doing it.


I'd be interested in knowing which languages the field of Linguistics has ruined.

I do agree that there has been misuse of the field. Every field has people who misuse the data. Misuse of the field of linguistics has also led to some pretty cool things sometimes, such as the independence of the Baltics, particularly Lithuania. If they had not discovered the connection of Lithuanian to Sanskrit and promoted Lithuanian as an "ancient" language, the nationalist movement may never have had the fuel it needed. (I apologize for my obvious bias here; my in-laws are Baltic...)

Disagreements within a field are expected. Actually, I think they're a good thing. If there were never any disagreements, there would not be a reason to study any further.

--Kala

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Tuesday, February 24, 2004 6:51 PM

JASONZZZ


?

Quote:

Originally posted by Quixote13:
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Quote:

Originally posted by Jasonzzz:

... ... ...




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Tuesday, February 24, 2004 7:15 PM

JASONZZZ


Quote:

Originally posted by kalathena:
Quote:

...there lacks hard and fast conjugation rules to determine tenses, gender, places in time.


At the risk of getting "too technical"...

English does have what is considered mostly an isolating type of conjugation. The conjugation is only actually done for tense and we add a second word (he, she, it...) for things like person and to denote gender. We also isolate for mood. And we have no case to our language; many eastern European languages have case (Lithuanian has 7, for example).




So I am not sure if you meant that English has do in fact have a set of rules for conjugation (other than the tagging on 'ing, ed, so on , but there are so many exception to how you conjugate with the different tenses that it makes my head spin) or not - I think you are saying that there is a type of conjugation that we use in English. Maybe you could use some examples to help me understand what you are saying.

At the same time, I don't think I said that there aren't any conjugation in English. There obviously are. I am saying that the rules are not very well set and are not taught. There are also so many exceptions that, well, we might as well not have rules with so many dang exceptions.


Quote:

Originally posted by kalathena:


In the 19th century, there was a tremendous amount of research done in linguistics to make certain that the world knew that the more cases and tenses and the less isolating a language is, the superior the language and the more "civilized" it was. Guess what? Most of these studies were done by Eastern Europeans. Go figure. Remnants of those beliefs still exist today.

Quote:

Yes, Latin is a dead language and it might not be evolving at the same MTV pace that American English is. But it had a much further run during its prime *and* it is still being used extensively in academic pursuits. Learning Latin is important b/c of it allows us English speakers to learn the basic roots, constructs, and a good set of principles within the confines of a good set of rules.


This is not a good reason to learn Latin. Latin is a good language to learn because in and of itself, it has very interesting rules and structures. It is also very important to learn if you want to be able to understand any of the cultural nuances of the millions of works of literature that were written in Latin.

But to say that you need to learn Latin to understand the roots of English is like saying you need to learn Sanskrit to understand the roots of Japanese. English is a Germanic, not a Latin language. Because Latin was elevated to "superior" status for so long, many people still believe this. They have done things to "ruin" the language by proscribing stupid rules like "you can't split an infinitive" when English infinitives are made up of two words and Latin infinitives are one. Applying Latin rules to English is just rediculous.




Latin is a great language to learn for the sake of learning Latin. Latin is still very much alive in an academic way. So is Greek. Medical students, physicists, and mathematicians also need to learn Latin for advance studies (Actually Medical students are required to learn basic Latin). I wouldn't recommend Sanskrit unless if you really have to or if you have a need to study the original Buddhist scripts.

However, my point was that, since English isn't taught with any type of rigorous endeavor in the country. The proper understanding of the different tenses, gender, and basic grammatical structure can only come from learning another language. Latin is the only class I know out of the many other languages that I have learned that actually took a study of the basic grammar structure, tenses, and proper gender forms in the process of learning the language. What I am saying is that I gained a new appreciation of not only Latin, but English and languages in itself from studying and learning Latin.

Quote:

Originally posted by kalathena:


Quote:

But it's ruined a couple of good languages as well. But then it might not be the techniques, it's probably the people doing it.


I'd be interested in knowing which languages the field of Linguistics has ruined.




Ok, we can start with the South Pacific islands in general to start off with. Fijian and Hawaiian languages, which are completely oral languages past from generation to generation, have practically been mutilated from the systematic
categorizing on the supposedly sounds that the "natives" made. It took years of self preservation efforts to undo the harm.


Quote:

Originally posted by kalathena:


I do agree that there has been misuse of the field. Every field has people who misuse the data. Misuse of the field of linguistics has also led to some pretty cool things sometimes, such as the independence of the Baltics, particularly Lithuania. If they had not discovered the connection of Lithuanian to Sanskrit and promoted Lithuanian as an "ancient" language, the nationalist movement may never have had the fuel it needed. (I apologize for my obvious bias here; my in-laws are Baltic...)




That sounds cool. But I was thinking more along the ideas of misuse of the entire field of linguistics - as in the misapplication of the linguistic as a topic to begin with. Not misuse of the data gathered from the target country area. If the data is genuine, then any subsequent use of it, if misguided is merely anecdotal.



Quote:

Originally posted by kalathena:


Disagreements within a field are expected. Actually, I think they're a good thing. If there were never any disagreements, there would not be a reason to study any further.

--Kala



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Tuesday, February 24, 2004 7:26 PM

JASONZZZ



Which region of China are you from? I am interested to know. How do you think Mandarin "L"'s are pronounced, official Mandarin goes, L
is pretty much like an L .

Quote:

Originally posted by Okkay:
I'm sure most chinese people (including me) could tell you that the mixup between R's and L's is not uncommon. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think it has something to do with the way L's are pronounced in Mandarin by certain groups of people, in that they actually say something that comes out in between the English "R" and "L" sounds. So depending on the kind of Mandarin they speak, the mixup is more or less pronounced.
One thing I'll always remember (for some reason) was back when we were kids, one time at the swimming pool my mom asked if we needed a towel, and it came out "tower", and we kind of made fun of her for that.





I think I've heard English speaking people mispronounce pretty often too. For some reason, that's also when folks start making fun that they are Chinese and pull up the corners of their eyes. I think it's a very idiotic thing to pass around.


Quote:

Originally posted by Okkay:


Anyways, here's a joke for you all that has to do with this topic:

What do you call a girl with only one leg?

Eileen

What do you call a chinese girl with only one leg?

Irene




I think the joke's only point is to serve to further spread that myth that all Mandarin speakers have trouble (and in "fact", all Chinese people) with the R and L sound. Which is completely untrue and derisive at the very least.
There might be certain subsets of Chinese coming from very specific region, b/c of their local dialect differences that have difficulty distinguishing those sounds. Exceptions by themselves do not make a rule. Heck, there is a Chinese joke (if you wanted to hear one that isn't meant to make fun of the Chinese) that every step you take in China, you hear a different "sort" of Mandarin - it's not too far from the truth either. Even the "official" Beijing dialect of Mandarin is hardly spoken outside of Beijing.




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Tuesday, February 24, 2004 7:47 PM

JASONZZZ


Quote:

Originally posted by kalathena:
I can assure you that English is NOT an easy language to learn. I work with a majority of Spanish-speaking 2nd graders and they have a hell of a time with all of the different phoneme (sound) to letter correspondences we have. Spanish has *almost* a one-to-one correspondence.




I believe that is exactly my point. The English language has so many exceptions to pronounciation rules and the rest of the grammatical rules. But rarely is it enforced. For example, I know that many Cantonese speakers have an interesting time distinguishing long vowels and short vowels - there is no such thing in the native language. So words like "video" gets pronounced as maybe "veeedeo" or "video" - they sound alike to many Cantonese speakers. *BUT* that same speaker will not be penalized, in understanding, even if misspoken. The same can be said with most of the rest of the English language. Even if a sentence has a grammatical problem. It can still be understood.

Unless if you are taking an English course and your grades depended on it - outside of the classroom, anyone can pretty much slur their way around words, mis-conjugate, poorly or incorrectly structured sentences are still fine. There is a very wide range of latitude as far as acceptance in what rules are applied and which ones aren't.



Quote:

Originally posted by kalathena:


There are also plenty of sounds in other languages that English speakers have a near impossible time with. The un-aspirated /p/ of Hindi leaps to mind or most of Hindi's palatal sounds (those made on the roof of the mouth; it has about 3 times more than English does, depending on which segment of the palate the tongue hits) English speakers also have trouble with the glottal fricative of semitic languages and the alveolar fricative of Spanish (the rolled "r").




I have no doubt that native American English speakers have trouble learning other languages which are more definitive and strict in how words and sounds *must* be pronounced - most other languages have a smaller allowed variance in acceptance on mispronounciation. Since English has such a wide array of acceptability - maybe there is even a linguistic term for it, that I consider it 'lazy' and 'relaxed' attitude towards the English language itself.



Quote:

Originally posted by kalathena:


Last fall I had to take a very interesting linguistics class called Language and Culture. Among linguists, the only certainties about language is that 1) Languages *will* change over time and 2) Those changes are entirely unpredictable.




Well, I certainly agree with that. If I made up something today and start saying it, within 5 years it will likely end up in the OED.


Quote:

Originally posted by kalathena:



Any type of qualitative descriptor for languages are considered culturally biased by linguists. Languages are not "simple" or "primitive" or "lazy". They are also not "advanced" or "civilized". They are different and have different sounds, word formation, sentence formation and meaning. Our instructor once asked us why we consider people who take shortcuts in other aspects of life to be "efficient" but someone taking a shortcut in language is "lazy". If it is mutually intelligible then it serves its primary function.

--Kala




Again, I make no distinction as to whether English is advanced or primitive (or any other language for that matter). The words Lazy doesn't have one restrictive meaning - slothenly. I don't wish to debate whether a language is simple, complex, advanced, civilized, or primitive. If we don't use these words to make qualitative judgements, we might as well throw them out. Linguists and Anthropologists are always so upset when someone makes a qualitative judgement - 'there aren't primitive or advanced societies, there are only different ones'. It's a degree of comparison, it's not a biased opinion. If a language I made up has only 3 words and 2 ways of putting them together, it's a pretty simplistic language and very limited in its use.



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Friday, May 28, 2004 10:02 AM

SCSIWUZZY


From jasonzzzz:
I believe that is exactly my point. The English language has so many exceptions to pronounciation rules and the rest of the grammatical rules. But rarely is it enforced. For example, I know that many Cantonese speakers have an interesting time distinguishing long vowels and short vowels - there is no such thing in the native language. So words like "video" gets pronounced as maybe "veeedeo" or "video" - they sound alike to many Cantonese speakers. *BUT* that same speaker will not be penalized, in understanding, even if misspoken. The same can be said with most of the rest of the English language. Even if a sentence has a grammatical problem. It can still be understood.

Unless if you are taking an English course and your grades depended on it - outside of the classroom, anyone can pretty much slur their way around words, mis-conjugate, poorly or incorrectly structured sentences are still fine. There is a very wide range of latitude as far as acceptance in what rules are applied and which ones aren't.
***************

Sorry to disapoint, but if you are speaking in english, and you mummble, use the wrong words or the wrong structures, your meaning may be understood... but you will also be understood to be an idiot. Or at the least, ignorant.
I speak enough mandarin to get through the basics among my friends and family, but even my incorrect pidgin mandarin is understood. Frowned upon, yes. But understood.

The L sound in mandarin/cantonese: It is there, certainly, but it seems to me that native speakers have trouble in english that depends on where the L is in work. At the front of a word, 'like' as an example, seems easy (I've never hear 'rike'). But when the L is in the middle or end, after a silent/soft vowel or a hard consonant, that seems to be where the trouble occurs. Take the word trouble, actually. I know quite a few chinese adults (came to US/Canada in their 30s) who have trouble with trouble. But that's just my exp.

As for english being unruly, lazy or however you'd like to put it, another term would be flexible. Since the language has borrowed so much from so many languages, there is almost always a way to express something, without resorting to metaphors (which are nearly always culturaly based).

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Friday, May 28, 2004 11:10 AM

JASONZZZ


Quote:

Originally posted by SCSIwuzzy:


Sorry to disapoint, but if you are speaking in english, and you mummble, use the wrong words or the wrong structures, your meaning may be understood... but you will also be understood to be an idiot. Or at the least, ignorant.
I speak enough mandarin to get through the basics among my friends and family, but even my incorrect pidgin mandarin is understood. Frowned upon, yes. But understood.




That's my entire point, if you go to most other countries. They are not going to try and understand you - maybe it's b/c we are Americans and we were just born to know only American English ( and apparently damn "proud" of it - sigh ). I don't know if we will brand every single person who mis-speaks a damn fool. Maybe it's just a thing that you and people around you do.
I also don't know to what degree you call your Mandarin "Pidgin Mandarin" (Is it Chinglish ?), so I have no comment regarding that. But I think we are speaking of different contexts here.

Besides, I would rather not go back and read this 3 months old (at least) thread to get a sense of what this entire thing was about in the first place.

Quote:

Originally posted by SCSIwuzzy:



The L sound in mandarin/cantonese: It is there, certainly, but it seems to me that native speakers have trouble in english that depends on where the L is in work. At the front of a word, 'like' as an example, seems easy (I've never hear 'rike'). But when the L is in the middle or end, after a silent/soft vowel or a hard consonant, that seems to be where the trouble occurs. Take the word trouble, actually. I know quite a few chinese adults (came to US/Canada in their 30s) who have trouble with trouble. But that's just my exp.




If the L is in a different place in English. Phoenetically, it's a different sound. English is one of those "flexible" languages in the world where it borrowed from way too many different cultures and the damn sounds are all different not only dependent on position within the word, but the word itself and the context.

So, as far as the "L" sound is concerned, we aren't talking about the same thing...



Quote:

Originally posted by SCSIwuzzy:


As for english being unruly, lazy or however you'd like to put it, another term would be flexible. Since the language has borrowed so much from so many languages, there is almost always a way to express something, without resorting to metaphors (which are nearly always culturaly based).



hmmmm. no. I am pretty sure I want to use the word "Lazy" to convey "without much care" where as flexible would connote "it has many uses". Where as "Flexible" could also be correct, it's not accurately conveying what I want to say...



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Friday, May 28, 2004 2:20 PM

SCSIWUZZY



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Sunday, May 30, 2004 9:04 PM

KOHAN


Quote:

Originally posted by impulsivelad:
I don't know if this is Chinese... probably not since I can't find it translated anywhere but they sure say it a lot.

Example: "Goram, Reavers!"

What does it mean? IS it Chinese? A made up future word? What?




so, back to the oringinal topic...
I think the "Goram" refered to here, means "Of course!" or "Just as I suspected!" which would make the sentence "Just as I suspected, Reavers!" or something like that.

anyways, just my penny's worth

"If you take sexual advantage of her, you're going to burn in a very special level of Hell, a level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater."

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Monday, May 31, 2004 1:49 AM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


Quote:

Originally posted by kohan:
Quote:

Originally posted by impulsivelad:
I don't know if this is Chinese... probably not since I can't find it translated anywhere but they sure say it a lot.

Example: "Goram, Reavers!"

What does it mean? IS it Chinese? A made up future word? What?




so, back to the oringinal topic...
I think the "Goram" refered to here, means "Of course!" or "Just as I suspected!" which would make the sentence "Just as I suspected, Reavers!" or something like that.

anyways, just my penny's worth.


I think you got a bad penny there, kohan. I don't think it could mean that in the context of the majority of times it is used in the show.

How about in "Serenity" when Badger says, "Well, this is my gorram den." Or in "Objects in Space" when Jubal says "You're not in my gorram mind, you're on my gorram ship!"

I think it is obvious that it is a substitution for goddamn, and more than likely is a result of a commonly mispronounced or slurred use of that word.




wo men ren ran zai fei xing.

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Monday, May 31, 2004 2:44 AM

JUMPY


Hey if the crew were transporting the sheep from Babe would the sheep be saying, "GOR-RAM-YOU!"

(I aplogise for the terrible joke stated above, if, of course, that is in fact what it is. Actually I'm not really sure...)

__________________________
There's no show I'd rather see, than the one with Serenity.
You can't take the sky from me...

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Monday, May 31, 2004 10:16 PM

KOHAN


I think it was funny ^^

"If you take sexual advantage of her, you're going to burn in a very special level of Hell, a level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater."

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Monday, May 31, 2004 10:17 PM

KOHAN


Quote:

Originally posted by ecgordon:I think you got a bad penny there, kohan. I don't think it could mean that in the context of the majority of times it is used in the show.

How about in "Serenity" when Badger says, "Well, this is my gorram den." Or in "Objects in Space" when Jubal says "You're not in my gorram mind, you're on my gorram ship!"

I think it is obvious that it is a substitution for goddamn, and more than likely is a result of a commonly mispronounced or slurred use of that word.




yeah, you're right ^^|||

"If you take sexual advantage of her, you're going to burn in a very special level of Hell, a level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater."

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Tuesday, June 1, 2004 5:56 AM

JUMPY


haha thanks kohan

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Sunday, June 13, 2004 6:51 AM

SAVIGAR


Interesting discussion, folks. Joss has stated "I like me some cussin'" in an interview not too long ago. For anyone who's watched Buffy or Angel, we see how he has Spike say plenty of things that would be considered tremendously offensive in Great Britain, but most folks in the US don't have a clue as to the meaning. So, to me, it's pretty obvious that words like 'gorram' and 'humped' are just more creative ways of Joss getting by the censors.

I have a question, for those who might know: Would the Chinese embedded in 'Firefly' make it impossible to air the show in China? Would they have to bleep it? That would be kinda ironic.

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Sunday, June 13, 2004 3:57 PM

SHINYSEVEN


Although when Book first arrived, Mal would probably have gone out of his way to *offend* Book, no one else would, and over time Mal would probably have joined in the general desire to avoid actual blasphemy (as in Not Taking the Lord's Name In Vain) as opposed to mere vulgarity like [sexual act] [excreta] [hostile characterization] etc.

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Sunday, June 13, 2004 5:01 PM

SLOWSMURF


I think airing the show in china, their chinese would be non-understandable. Based on what I've heard from those who have done translations, the pronounciations are just horrible often.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004 6:45 PM

KOHAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Savigar:

I have a question, for those who might know: Would the Chinese embedded in 'Firefly' make it impossible to air the show in China? Would they have to bleep it? That would be kinda ironic.




Well, those of us who "understand" Chinese with an american accent probably end up listening to most of the phrases over and over again before actually making out what they are trying to say.

so if they do decide to air it over there at all, I don't think they will need to beep too many words out...

who knows, maybe they won't air it because so far all of the high government offical positions are being held by the "american" side of the alliance.



"If you take sexual advantage of her, you're going to burn in a very special level of Hell, a level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater."

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Friday, June 25, 2004 9:56 AM

MALIGN


I believe its definatly a way to get around cursing. Its like when they say "ruttin" we all know what it means but theres nothing for the censors to say about it.

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Friday, June 25, 2004 10:20 AM

LIZ


"gorram" seems like a good evolution of "goddamn"... i mean "sheesh" came from "jeez" which was shortened from "Jesus." interesting, no?

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008 6:05 PM

XXMACGUYVERXX


Old post but oh well .....a little side note I actually think Joss used to live on a street called gorham

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