Armchair Linguist

An amateur linguist drinks strong coffee and makes interesting observations about language from the comfort of his armchair.

Location: United Kingdom

Friday, July 09, 2004

Great films for linguists #1: The Graduate

One of my favourite films of all time is The Graduate (1967). The thematic mainstay of the film is the alienation recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) feels from the rest of the world. One of the ways this continually comes into play is through a number of linguistic jokes that serve to highlight the distance between Benjamin's way of thinking and that of people around him.

It's been a while since I saw this film, but allow me to recount just one example that comes to mind. There's this one amusing scene when Benjamin announces to his parents that he plans to marry Elaine Robinson (Katharine Ross). I paraphrase:

Father: This idea all sounds rather half-baked to me, Benjamin.
Benjamin: No, really, it's completely baked.

Hmm. In everyday English, an idea can be half-baked, but never completely baked. Unless you're Benjamin, of course.

Ah, only the Armchair Linguist would get a kick out of that one.


Anonymous David Roberts said...

Lines like the one cited are more of witicisms than strictly linguistic curiosities.

25 September 2006 at 01:46  

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