Language ! Sheer bliss! (Stephen Fry & Matt Rogers)(Video + script and vocab)

Publié le par Marielle Bianchi


I've watched this video at least ten times ! It's a treat ! Listening to to the voice, to the English language, to the words and their meaning and watching this kinetic typography animation is a sensual pleasure ! I loved it and hope you will enjoy it too.

For further dicoveries, please click on the links below :

Matt Rogers : animation

Stephen Fry : audio and words

Because I really enjoyed it, I've written down the text and translated several words (*)

Language by Stephen Fry

For me, it's a cause of some upset* that more Anglophones don't enjoy language.

Music is enjoyable it seems, so are dance and other athletic forms of movement....
People seem to be able to find sensual* and sensuous* pleasure in almost anything BUT words these days.

Words it seems belong to other people. Anyone who expresses themselves with originality, delight* and verbal freshness is more likely to be mocked, distrusted* or disliked than welcomed.

The free and happy use of words appears to be considered elistist or pretentious. Sadly, desperately sadly, the only people who seem to bother* with language in public today bother with it in quite the wrong way. They write letters to broadcasters* and newspapers in which they are rude* and haughty* about other people's usage and in which they show off* their own superior « knowledge » of how language should be. I hate that and I particularly hate the fact that so many of these pedants assume that I'm on their side. When asked to join in a « let's persuade this supermarket chain to get rid of their « five items or less » sign, I never join in. Yes, I am aware* of the technical distinction between « less » and « fewer » and between « uninterested* » and disinterested* » and « infer* » and « imply* » and all the rest of them but none of these are of importance to me, none of these ARE of importance I said there, you'll notice the old pedantic me would have insisted on « none of them IS of importance ».

(…) But I'm glad to say that I've outgrown* that silly approach to language.

Oscar Wilde and there have been few greater and more complete lords of language in the past thousand years, once included with a manuscript he was delivering to his publishers a compliment slip* in which he had scribbled* the injunction « I'll leave you to tidy up* the woulds and shoulds, wills and shalls, thats and whiches » etc....which gives us all encouragement to feel less guilty*, don't you think ?

There are all kinds of pedants around with more time to read and imitate Lynne Truss and John Humphrys than to write poems, love-letters, novels* and stories it seems. They whip out* their Sharpies* and take away* and add* apostrophes from public signs, shake* their heads at prepositions which end sentences and muttter* at split infinitives* and misspellings* but do they bubble* and froth* and slobber* and cream with joy at language ? Do they ever let the tripping of the tips of their tongues against the tops of their teeth transport them to giddy* euphoric bliss* ? Do they ever yoke* impossible words together for the sound-sex of it ? Do they use language to seduce, charm, excite, please, affirm and tickle* those they talk to ? Do they ? I doubt it. They're too farting busy sneering* at a greengrocer's less than perfect use of the apostrophe. Well sod* them to Hades. They think they're guardians of language, they're no more guardians of language than the kennel club is the guardian of dogkind. The worst of this sorry bunch of semi-educated losers are those who seem to glory in being irritated by nouns becoming verbs. How dense* and deaf* to language development do you have to be ? If you don't like nouns becoming verbs then for Heaven's sake*, avoid Shakespeare who made a doing-word out of a thing-word every chance he got. He tabled the motion and chaired the meeting in which nouns were made verbs. I suppose new examples from our time might take some getting used to. « He actioned it » that day for instance might strike* some as a verbing too far but we've been sanctioning, envisioning, propositioning and stationing for a long time so why not « actioning » ? Because it's ugly whinge* the pedants ; well it's only ugly because it's new and you don't like it. Ugly in the way Picasso, Stravinski and Eliot were once thought ugly and before them Monet, Mahler and Baudelaire. Pedants will also claim with what I'm sure is eye-popping insincerity and shameless* disingenuousness*, that their fight is only for clarity. This is all very well but there is no doubt what for example « five items or less » means just as only a dolt* can't tell from the context and from the age and education of the speaker whether distinterested is used in the proper sense of non-partisan or in the « improper » sense of uninterested. No, no, the claim* to be defending language for the sake of clarity almost never, ever holds* water. Nor does the idea that following grammatical rules in language demonstrates clarity of thought and intelligence of mind*. Having said this, I admit that if you want to communicate well for the sake of passing an exam or job interview, then it's obvious* that wildly original and excessively heterodox language could land you in the soup. I think what offends examiners and employers when confronted with extremely informal, unpunctuated and haywire* language is the implication of not caring* that underlies* it. You slip* into a suit for an interview and you dress your language up* too. You can wear what you like linguistically or sartorially* when you're at home or with friends but most people accept the need to smarten up* under some circumstances, it's only considerate*. But that's an issue of fitness*, of suitability*, it has nothing to do with correctness. There's no right language or wrong language anymore than there are right or wrong clothes. Context, convention and circumstance are all. I can't deny that a small part of me still claims to a ghastly radio for newspaper letter writer pedantry but I fight against it in much the same way I try to fight against my gluttony, anger, selfishness and other vices. I must confess for example that I find it hard not to wince* when someone aspirates a word and it is a word « aitch ». (...)


*Helpful vocabulary :

an upset = (emotional) bouleversement

sensual (adj) = sensuel

sensuous (adj) = (music, arts) qui affecte les sens / (lips, person) sensuel

delight (noun) = joie, grand plaisir

ghastly (adj) (informal) = affreux, épouvantable, atroce

distrust (noun) = la méfiance

distrust (verb) = se méfier de

bother (v) = prendre la peine de...

a broadcaster (n) = une personnalité de la radio ou de la télévision

rude (adj) = impoli, grossier

haughty (adj) = hautain, arrogant

show off (v) = faire étalage de

knowledge = connaissance, savoir

be aware = être consicent de, être informé, au courant

uninterested = indifférent

disinterested = désintéressé

infer (v) = inférer, déduire, conclure

imply (v) = insinuer, laisser entendre, supposer

outgrow (v) = ne plus s'intéresser à, abandonner (en grandissant, en prenant de l'âge)

scribble (v) = gribouiller, grifonner

a slip (n) = un bout de papier

tidy up (v) = ranger, mettre de l'ordre dans

guilty (adj) = coupable

a novel (n) = un roman

whip out (v) = sortir vivement

Sharpie(s) = marque de feutres

take away (v) = retirer, enlever

add (v) = ajouter

shake (v) = secouer

mutter (v) = marmonner, grommeler

split infinitive = erreur de grammaire consistant à introduire un adverbe au milieu d'un infinitif, entre "to" et le verbe. (wordreference dictionary)

a misspelling (n) = faute d'orthographe

bubble (with joy) (v) = déborder de, être tout excité par...

froth (v) = mousser, écumer

slobber (v) = baver, s'extasier

feel giddy = avoir le vertige

bliss (n) = bonheur absolu, félicité

yoke (v) = lier, joindre

tickle (v) = (literal) chatouiller / (figurative) amuser, faire rire

sneer (v) = ricaner, sourire avec mépris

Sod them ! = Qu'ils aillent se faire foutre !

Sod them to Hades = qu'ils aillent se faire voir chez les Grecs...

Hades = Hadès, frère de Zeus et de Poséidon dans la mythologie grecque. Souvent considéré comme « maître des enfers ».

dense (informal) (adj) = bouché, obtus

deaf (adj) = sourd

For heaven's sake = pour l'amour du ciel

strike (v) = frapper

whinge (informal and pejorative) (v) = geindre, pleurnicher

disingenuousness (n) = manque de sincérité

shameless (adj) = effronté, sans vergogne

a dolt (n) = un lourdaud, une gourde = a stupid person

a claim (n) = affirmation

hold water (familiar) = tenir la route

mind (n) = l'esprit

it's obvious that...= il est évident que...

haywire (adj) = détraqué

care (v) = prendre soin de quelque chose

underlie (v) = sous-tendre

slip = glisser

dress...up (v) = habiller, orner

sartorial (adj) = vestimentaire

smarten up (v) = se faire beau

considerate (adj) = prévenant, plein d'égards, aimable

fitness, suitability (n) = caractère approprié

wince (adj) = grimacer

claim for something (v) = demander quelque chose


Pour être informé des derniers articles, inscrivez vous :

Commenter cet article

assignment help online free 04/03/2015 13:12

Absolutely correct, music is enjoyable and it's divine. It can change the mood of distress and sorrow to a good mood. It really satisfies the soul. When i get stressed in my assignment help online free i would prefer to listen some melodious music from my tracks. 11/04/2014 12:53

It is good to know that you have watched this video regarding the English language more than ten times and I do wish to view it Thanks for sharing us with this informative video in this post

Andriu de Gavaudan 17/01/2011 15:50

I took great pleasure listening to it

and, thanks to you, I understood every word of it.

Fantastic job ! No wonder the dear little ones love you. Lots of others love you too…

Marielle Bianchi 17/01/2011 16:36

I know !...Thank you !

michele camlann 17/01/2011 10:09

Great job!

Marielle Bianchi 17/01/2011 16:38

Thank you ! Hope it will be help web wanderers...

michele camlann 16/01/2011 12:03

Fabulous! No wonder one needs to listen to it many times to grab the whole pleasure of it! Thanks for these interesting bits of language!

Marielle Bianchi 16/01/2011 16:40

Wonderful, isn't it ?