Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Writer's Block: Everyday I write the book

If you were to write your autobiography, what would be the title?

Cat Got a Foot: identity in idiom and idiosyncrasy

When I was growing up my mama would typically reply to an obvious question with the phrase "Cat got a foot?" or less commonly "Is the Pope Catholic?"  My vernacular is peppered with the odd little sayings that my family and friends habitually use in languages as diverse as Latin and Urdu.  But most of them are southernisms.  I communicate in colloquialisms that reveal the influences that shape my life. 


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2011 11:41 am (UTC)
Ha! What a perceptive and thought provoking remark little piece!

We all speak in the manner you've detailed but with very little thought as to why and how it develops in each of us. In a country as vast as the US I guess there are many thousands of sayings, some that travel, others that don't and based on the diverse culture that built the country.

What caught my eye is that I've never heard of, 'cat got a foot?', and yet I commonly use, 'is the Pope Catholic?'! And in a country as small as the UK as the US is vast it's amazing to me how confined some of the idioms are.

I was born and brought up in a town 30 miles from where I live now but was totally confused when I heard people often saying, 'it's black over Bill's mother's'!! (It means to warn that there's rain on it's way! ^_-)

The other problem I have is writing fics for a (mostly) US audience and using sayings that no-one has ever heard of...I used to worry...

And the weirdest one of all? We always say, 'I could not care less', and yet in the US the most common expression is, 'I could care less'. Is it irony? I dunno!

Jan. 19th, 2011 12:29 am (UTC)
It's black over Bill's mother's.
Actually, it's already raining here! It is amazing how some phrases are so very localized while other phrases are universal. How did the term "ok" become so widespread? I think the whole world knows ok.

I like that there are still regional colloquialisms in this age of mass-media. Lends a little local flavor and maintains a sense of place. By the same token, I like the variety of language that becomes available with the degree of connectedness that exists in the digital age. It's the trademark of the English language to appropriate words and phrases and make them our own.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )