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Thread: pepper and salt

  1. #1
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default pepper and salt

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to help to me to interpret the phrase in bold in the following sentences?

    Yes his pepper and salt rough tweed suit was neat and cared for, his brown shoes were brightly polished.

    His hair was now steel gray, not pepper and salt.

    pepper and salt = white and black

    Thanks for your efforts.

    Regard,

    V

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    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: pepper and salt

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to help to me to interpret the phrase in bold in the following sentences?

    Yes his pepper and salt rough tweed suit was neat and cared for, his brown shoes were brightly polished.

    His hair was now steel gray, not pepper and salt.

    pepper and salt = white and black yes, a mixture of black and white, not gray


    V
    2006

  3. #3
    Tullia's Avatar
    Tullia is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: pepper and salt

    It is perhaps worth commenting that the more 'natural' way to say this in English would be salt and pepper, not pepper and salt. Thus, if an author inverts this order it may be worth asking why and what effect they intend.

    That perhaps only applies to modern authors, since I can't say how far back this convention of ordering applies. However a quick Google search would seem to agree with me ;)

    Google Fight : Make this fight with googleFight \"salt and pepper\" VS \"pepper and salt\"

    "salt and pepper" = 595000 results
    "pepper and salt" = 29200 results

    It's a pretty significant difference in hits!

  4. #4
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: pepper and salt

    [QUOTE=vil;640319]Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to help to me to interpret the phrase in bold in the following sentences?

    Yes his pepper and salt rough tweed suit was neat and cared for, his brown shoes were brightly polished.

    His hair was now steel gray, not pepper and salt.

    pepper and salt = white and black

    Thanks for your efforts.

    Regard,

    ********** NOT a teacher *********

    Hello, Vil.

    (1) I agree that most native speakers (at least here in the

    United States) prefer the rhythm of salt and pepper.

    (2) A famous writer of English-language novels once wrote:

    pepper and salt matted beard.

    (a) I was not surprised, for that gentleman did not speak English

    as a first language. He had learned it so well that his English was

    probably better than that of many native speakers. (It was certainly

    better than mine!!!) BUT maybe

    -- understandably -- he had failed to understand certain nuances

    of native speakers.

    (3) Because of rhythm, I believe that most native speakers prefer the

    word order of these phrases:

    bread and butter (not: butter and bread)

    cup and saucer

    law and order

    head and shoulders

    (4) A famous German leader once said (in German): iron and blood.

    English translators have changed it to: blood and iron because

    it is said that order is more harmonious to native speakers' ears.

    THANK YOU

  5. #5
    Tullia's Avatar
    Tullia is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: pepper and salt

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    (3) Because of rhythm, I believe that most native speakers prefer the word order of these phrases:

    bread and butter (not: butter and bread)
    cup and saucer
    law and order
    head and shoulders
    Yes, all of those are the "right" way round for my native ear too :)

    It's also interesting to hear people talk about couples - it's always "Romeo and Juliet" never "Juliet and Romeo" after all.

    My parents are always "Margaret and Walter". My friends are always "Ian and Hayley". But when I talk about my brother and his wife it sounds OK if I say "Andrew and Karen" or "Karen and Andrew".

    It seems to me that perhaps the preferred rhythm is to end on a word with two syllables where possible? Can anyone think of any examples where this is not the case?



    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    (4) A famous German leader once said (in German): iron and blood.
    English translators have changed it to: blood and iron because it is said that order is more harmonious to native speakers' ears.
    How interesting! Thank you for telling us this. I agree, blood and iron sounds better to my ear somehow.
    Last edited by Tullia; 19-Aug-2010 at 15:45.

  6. #6
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: pepper and salt

    Quote Originally Posted by Tullia View Post
    Yes, all of those are the "right" way round for my native ear too :)

    It's also interesting to hear people talk about couples - it's always "Romeo and Juliet" never "Juliet and Romeo" after all.

    My parents are always "Margaret and Walter". My friends are always "Ian and Hayley". But when I talk about my brother and his wife it sounds OK if I say "Andrew and Karen" or "Karen and Andrew".

    It seems to me that perhaps the preferred rhythm is to end on a word with two syllables where possible? Can anyone think of any examples where this is not the case?





    How interesting! Thank you for telling us this. I agree, blood and iron sounds better to my ear somehow.
    ********** NOT a teacher **********

    Hello, Tullia.

    (1) Thank you for your very informative posts.

    (2) Rhythm was brought to my attention by Professor Otto Jespersen

    (a Danish gentleman who learned English so well that he wrote some

    outstanding grammar books way back at the beginning of the 20th

    century).

    (3) He explained that native speakers preferred the following rhythm

    (The following explanation is mine -- not his. So do not blame the

    professor if you find the following wrong!!!):

    BREAD and BUTter. (the capitalized letters are stressed)

    He felt that native speakers are not comfortable with:

    BUTter and BREAD.

    (4) I know nothing (and I mean nothing!) about poetry, so I shall

    report without comment what Professor Quirk (in his world-famous

    grammar) says:

    [We seem to prefer] the dactylic rhythm of ladies and gentlemen ...

    to the less balanced gentlemen and ladies.

    (5) Professor Quirk also says that maybe we prefer father and son

    because in society a father is the "culturally dominant member."


    THANK YOU

  7. #7
    Tullia's Avatar
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    Default Re: pepper and salt

    Hmmm.

    One could apply a social interpretation to "ladies and gentlemen" too of course, in that it is more polite, in general, to allow a lady to go first ;)

    I think your point about rhythm is interesting.

    BLOOD and IRon.
    CUP and SAUCer
    LAW and ORDer.
    HEAD and SHOULders

    I think also sometimes the sense of the words and their "logical" temporal order comes into it;

    Rise and (then) fall.
    Crime and (then) punishment.


    I don't think we would ever be able to come up with a perfect rule for people, sadly! I think it is one of those things that people will just have to learn "because that's what we say"!

    "Heart and soul" - only works this way.
    "Body and soul" - only works this way.

    "body and mind" vs "mind and body".... hmmm - which would you say here?

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    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: pepper and salt

    "Mind and body"

    Easier for me to say that way. The "d" of "mind" slurs quite well into an "n" sound for the "and."

  9. #9
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    Default Re: pepper and salt

    The one and only suit Barney Fife on TV's The Andy Griffith Show ever wore was a dapper salt-and-pepper number that he fondly referred to as "the ol' salt-n-pepper."

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