Monday, June 29, 2009

Synecdoche, cricket and colonialism

Joel has just come back from seeing the movie Synecdoche. Highly recommended, apparently.

But in an attempt to resolve a family disagreement on the pronunciation of this word, I reached for my Concise Oxford Dictionary. (I was right, of course, lest you were worried.) But get this: the example for naming the part but understanding the whole is 50 sail for 50 ships, while the example given for naming the whole but understanding the part is England beat Australia at cricket.

Oh they do find it hard to let go of their colonial grandeur, don't they? And oh yes, I'm aware of irony, in that I use the Oxford dictionary, and don't have the Macquarie here. Wonder what their example for synecdoche is?

But it's only a few weeks till the Ashes series begins. Just three words, England: Bring. It. On.

4 comments:

Pavlov's Cat said...

I would have thought the sentence 'England beat Australia at cricket' was just a desperate attempt at sympathetic magic.

Dr. Virago said...

Was the movie called only Synecdoche in Australia? Its original US title is _Synecdoche, New York_, which plays on the name of the town, *Schenectady*, NY, and might have provided a clue to pronunciation for Joel. Of course, not if he didn't know how to pronounce Schenectady!

And I have to say, I have to work hard NOT to say Schenectady when I mean synecdoche! Because of this, back when I used to give quizzes on literary terms, I often included a multi-choice question to which the correct answer was "synecdoche," but one of the false answers was "schenectady." But since none of my undergraduate students have ever been from New York State, I'm sure I was the only one who got it. Still, I was pretty amused when that movie was announced (still haven't seen it).

OK, so I'm easily amused. :)

Stephanie Trigg said...

Oh. No, I checked, and it's going by its full title here too. I have to say: it looks great.

The schenectady thing reminds me of the 'poughkeepsie' gag in Ally McBeal. Remember?

stray said...

I enjoyed the complete disagreement of pronunciation between two BBC radio presenters when they interviewed the director, Charlie Kaufmann. Neither of them got it quite right, and he was polite enough not to correct them, although it kind of killed the joke. (Since it partly takes place in Schenectady and has a certain amount of site-specific humor.)

As to the film overall, it is funny and fantastically disturbing.