More "dude" lexicography

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In the spirit of this, this and this (but maybe not this):

Update — Ben Zimmer posted the same commercial a few years ago ("Lounsbury on linguistic martyrdom and the transience of slang", 2/7/2008). I remember the post (or at least the "linguistic martyrdom" part), but I forgot the commercial.

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14 Comments »

  1. Carl said,

    December 20, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

    It takes a pretty good advertising department to make someone want to drink Bud.

  2. Steve Kass said,

    December 20, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

    Would you like that "dude" with or without vocal fry?

  3. Alacritas said,

    December 20, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

    This is fantastic! Hilarious video… It's amazing how much meaning one word can have — as noted in Duding Out (Lieberman), any word can have a myriad of meanings based on factors outside of phonemic structure.
    [(amz) Mark Liberman might be too nice to say this, but I'm willing to say that if you can't spell his name right, you should probably consider not posting comments on Language Log. Especially if there's no new content to the comment.]

  4. DaveK said,

    December 21, 2011 @ 12:10 am

    If the whole meaning of the utterance is conveyed by the tone and the vocal expression, and any other word or sound could be substituted without changing the meaning, is "dude" even functioning as a word here?

  5. GWS said,

    December 21, 2011 @ 1:00 am

    Does this mean we have more meanings for dude then the…?

  6. SlideSF said,

    December 21, 2011 @ 2:33 am

    @ Carl- Nice thought, but not really. The people who the ad appeals to already want to drink Bud Lite, or at least something very much like it. That ad will never change the taste of someone who prefers Pliny the Elder or Chimay White Label; only those who like Coors Lite or Miller Lite. It is designed to appeal solely to a certain class of white males (admittedly, sadly, the majority of them in the U.S.) who desire to adhere to a certain "macho" esthetic – one that is already defined for them. It espouses the ideals of 'individualism" and "good taste" while cleaving determinedly to their opposites. In many way it is not so different from American notions of "freedom", "liberty", and "democracy".

  7. pj said,

    December 21, 2011 @ 6:04 am

    @SlideSF

    That ad will never change the taste of someone who prefers Pliny the Elder

    I'm slightly disappointed, now that I find there is a Californian beer of that name, to have it confirmed that you're not actually commenting on the likelihood of the Bud Light-drinking demographic intersecting with the fan base of the Roman naturalist.

  8. Mr Fnortner said,

    December 21, 2011 @ 9:31 am

    Laugh-out-loud funny. Thank you.

    Did Stan Freberg do this thing first, or best? (One version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08T8Dt9tnFk&feature=related)

  9. violet dundas said,

    December 21, 2011 @ 10:35 am

    How many other words can we come up with where the meaning depends on tone, location and etc. besides: shit, what, f*ck and dude?

    [(myl) This is true of pretty much anything you can say, I think.

    A few years ago, we put together a collection of utterances where actors performed the same (emotionally neutral) text while simulating 14 different "emotional" states, as well as variation in degree of arousal. (The directions for the actors are here.) In this case, the texts were numbers (e.g. "two thousand three") and dates (e.g. "April fourteenth").

    This was not especially hard for the actors to do, and (as usual in such cases) they succeeded reasonably well in communicating the state that they were simulating, even though the cues had to be carried by voice alone, not including the situation, posture, gestures, facial expressions, etc. as found in the commercial.

    By the way, the original purpose of the collection was to facilitate the research of a grad student who was interested in the question of whether patients with Parkinson's, who have relatively flat affect in their own communications, have the same perceptions of communicative affect as matched controls do, both in terms of guessing the intended emotion and in terms of fMRI measures of brain response.]

  10. Keith M Ellis said,

    December 21, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

    "the question of whether patients with Parkinson's, who have relatively flat affect in their own communications, have the same perceptions of communicative affect as matched controls do"

    And…? (I followed the link, but the extract didn't answer the question.)

    [(myl) See e.g. Kelly Davis, "Comprehension of emotion in neurodegenerative disorders", Drexel University PhD dissertation, 2002.]

  11. phosphorious said,

    December 21, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

    Reminds me of Wittgenstein's "Slab" language from the Philosophical Investigations.

    But for dudes.

  12. AntC said,

    December 21, 2011 @ 6:37 pm

    (@violet) the meaning depends on tone, location and etc
    (@myl) This is true of pretty much anything you can say, I think

    Yes. Austen would say that all language acts have a 'performative' component of the sense.
    Presumably this gives rise to the snowclone that [pick a number] % of communication is non-verbal, even when you think you're paying attention to the words.

    Why so many mutually incomprehensible languages in the world, when the language is expressing negligible content?
    Perhaps we should abandon Linguistics all together, in favour of studying gesture, behavioural tics, 'tone of voice', pragmatics, …
    [In case you can't hear my tone of voice, those last two sentences are ironic.]

    [(myl) Unironically, "tone of voice" and pragmatics are certainly part of linguistics. Gesture can be, as well. However, I'm skeptical that there is such a thing as a specifically ironic or sarcastic way of talking.]

  13. Dan Everett said,

    December 22, 2011 @ 8:53 am

    Here we have a non-recursive, single lexeme dialect of English. Proof that recursion is not crucial to human language.

  14. Janice Byer said,

    December 30, 2011 @ 2:43 am

    "We shape clay into a pot,
    But it is the emptiness inside
    That holds what we want." – Tao Te Ching

    Similarly, 'dude' can carry what meanings we want within its parameters.

    "You're being very undude, Dude," complained the undudely Walter in the Big Lebowski.

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