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Thread: U.S.A. Culture and Language Help

  1. #81
    Wizengamot Hufflepuff
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    Thank-you so much for all your help. I've now got so many ideas buzzing round my head.

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    Sorry another one. Is 'Dick' a term of abuse in America?

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  2. #82
    emily_the_poet
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    Dick has several uses in slang. It isn't a word for abuse that I know of. If you're dicking around, it means your generally hanging out and making a real *** out of yourself. When a person is called a dick, it's like calling someone a prick. Sometimes it is referred to when talking about anatomy... <--*hates her friends for that* Someone can correct me, but I've never seen it as a form of abuse.

  3. #83
    beccleroo
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    I have heard the word dick used multiple times as derogatory.
    Most of the time it meant jerk, but in a very unnice way. We would use it to refer to our band director who annoyed us. The verb form is another way to say the "f word"
    Definitely not used in front of nice company. A teacher would not use this in front of students.

    However. It does mean "pal" in England. So he could be confused and insulted if he was called a dick by someone.

  4. #84
    Wizengamot Hufflepuff
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    Okay

    My understanding was that 'Dick' was used far more as a nickname in America than it is here (despite Enid Blyton's Famous Five!). We use the term 'dickhead' to mean a prat or idiot. 'Dick' being a nickname for part of the male anatomy.

    I was thinking that James and Sirius would call their Professor Dick- his real name being Richard. I wanted him not to understand at first that it was derogatory but from what you're saying he'd understand straight away.

    I've never heard of 'dick' being used to mean pal. Interesting.

    Another question. In the American versions of Harry Potter do you have a Defense against the Dark Arts Professor or is it spelt Defence.
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  5. #85
    emily_the_poet
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    It's Defense against the dark arts.

    Also, there was this movie made in the 80s called The Breakfast Club, and the premise was a saturday detention where five students from all different cliques--basketcases, jocks, spirit club, criminals and geeks--all got to know each other than what they saw every day at school. The presiding teacher happened to be named Richard. The Criminal called him Dick. He just ignored it, but he knew it was deragatory... I suppose it would depend on the presentation. If your character knows straight off that they're trying to get under his skin, then he'll know. However, if they seem like good kids at first and it gradually gets worse, than it might be a different story. He could ask them to call him by his last name, but they continue to call him Dick.

  6. #86
    BleedINink
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    In the 70's it was all about peace and love and lots of drug usage here. He would have said things like Groovy, awesome, peaces baby, and the HAIR...

    He would have had fluffly, floaty hair or long girl like hair: http://bigearflux.files.wordpress.co...d-confused.jpg

    Hope some of this helps.

  7. #87
    Inverarity
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    How much slang he'd use would depend partly on how much of a "hipster" he was. If he was a teacher trying to speak in a professional manner (especially among Brits), he might get mocked for his accent, but I wouldn't have him throwing a lot of expressions like "Hey, man" and "Groovy!" around. On the other hand, if he's fairly young and still tends to talk like someone just out of school, do a Google search for 70s slang for some ideas.

  8. #88
    Striped_Candycane
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    Here are a few ideas you might be able to use...

    I'm American and I say “eraser” instead of “rubber”, which my friend always teased me about. I would retaliate with the fact that he called "cursive" "joined-up writing" (come on, its obvious what word is more practical ). And then there was always the pants vs trousers dilemma.

    Pronunciation wise, the only thing that I remember discussing was hygienic as hy-gehnic rather than hy-geanic.

  9. #89
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    Ah, yes. The old "eraser" vs. "rubber" argument. How very many laughs we got out of this little cultural plurel at the exchanged students' exprence. And how many red faces spotted the class one they learned what asking for a rubber meant in American English.

    Poor, poor Claudia. She never asked to borrow school supplies again...

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  10. #90
    Wizengamot Hufflepuff
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    Oh yes the pants/trouser debate. Actually I'd thought of that but not the eraser/rubber thing. ha ha - begs the question do wizards and witches use protection?

    Another question.

    What major coffee houses were around in America in late 70's? I'm going to make something of the tea/coffee difference as well as cold/warm beer.

    In UK at that time I think coffee was very much instant and really vile. Were Americans into cappucino's and the like at that time?
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