Thursday, August 30, 2012

G is for Gobsmacked


Doctor Tardis 8-30-12

I think I might’ve said before that I don’t really have “guilty pleasures” in terms of my TV viewing, since I don’t really watch anything that I consider so inherently bad in any way that I shouldn’t be watching it.  But, one of the programs I do take some grief over is Doctor Who.  Mostly I think that’s because a lot of people only think of older episodes with goofy looking aliens, and they don’t go much beyond that.  But that’s like only remembering the original Star Trek for the Horta, or something.  Sure, it’s cheap special effects, but that is so not what the show is about. 

But, I’m not here to convince you that Doctor Who is worth tuning in to, though it certainly is.  No, I’m here to say that one of the things that I always enjoy when watching it is hearing some of the British expressions and turns of phrase.  It’s always been interesting to me how American and British English are so close and yet still so far apart.  Subtle little changes that give a language character.

Of course, you’ve got the normal substitutions that we’re all pretty accustomed to:  loo instead of bathroom, petrol rather than gas, lift for elevator.  When I was a kid, those were some of the earliest “Britishisms” I learned, and they always made me laugh.  I’m also still fond of the way they say “brilliant” where we Americans might say “awesome”, and “spot on” instead of our more mundane “precisely”. 

I’ve been watching quite a few rerun episodes of the Doctor this past week or so, as BBC America tries to get us all excited about the upcoming new season beginning this weekend (it worked for me), so I’ve had occasion to hear a few.  None of them were entirely new to me, which maybe means I really have spent too much time watching the adventures of the wandering Time Lord, but they’re still entertaining to me, just the same, and I thought I’d share a few with you.

NutterCrazy.  As in, “I think people who believe in alien life are all nutters.”

Bits and bobs: Little bits of this and that.  “What say we pop over to Saturn and pick up some bits and bobs?”

WhingeComplain. “So we’re stuck in a time loop again; quit your whingeing.”

Bollocks:  Seems to have a few uses, but I like nonsense.  “A 900 year old man travelling through space and time in a police box? Now you’re just talking bollocks.”

Gobsmacked: Jaw-droppingly amazed.  “The Doctor dances? I’m gobsmacked.”

Those are just a few of the expressions I’ve enjoyed recently.  And the thing that I love best about them is that we share enough language that they all make perfect sense in context, even if it is the first time you’ve heard them.  Well, that and the fact that I just think they’re kind of fun. 

So, if you want to have a bit of a grin, spend an afternoon tuned in to BBCA (most any show will do, though I am certainly partial to the Doctor), and see what kind of words you can learn.  I think you’ll be glad you did.

And, if you want to take a gander at an entire gaggle of G posts, do graze the entries over at ABC Wednesday.  You’ll be gobsmacked at the good things you’ll find.