Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Separated by a common language

Spotted in the World's Pictorial News from 1929:

Not a few American talkies are responsible for introducing British film-goers to a new form of vocabulary. This is particularly apparent in the dialogue sequences of “The Broadway Melody,” in which some of the expressions used by the actors are, to say the least, rather spicy.

Thus we are beginning to learn that to “inhale poison” means to drink bad liquor; a “grand” means a thousand dollars; and “How about getting hitched up?” is not a polite invitation to a horse, but is an eloquent way of asking a girl to marry.

A joy ride in a high-priced motorcar is invariably referred to as a “buggy ride.” Expensive diamonds are “cracked ice.” A good provider is a “sugar daddy,” and an opulent lady is a “classy momma.”

If this goes on much longer we should really carry a glossary with us when we go to hear an American talkie.

Reg. Mortimer, 'A “Grand” from Your “Sugar Daddy”', World's Pictorial News, 2 June 1929, p. 8.


Dale said...

Speaking of which, has "unobtainium" caught on in England?

John Carter Wood said...

Neither in Britain nor in Germany...

Pity, really.