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  1. david11's Avatar
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    #1

    English in movies.

    Hello teachers,

    I see some dialogues in movies which are grammatically incorrect.

    It don't matter who you hear from.

    I didn't do nothing.(From the context I am sure that he is trying to say He did nothing)

    I really wonder how could they make such mistakes.

    can anyone throw light on that?

    Thank you.
    Last edited by david11; 25-Jan-2012 at 16:44. Reason: Misspelled throw as through.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: English in movies.

    Quote Originally Posted by david11 View Post
    Hello teachers,

    I see some dialogues in movies which are grammatically incorrect.

    It don't matter who you hear from.

    I didn't do nothing.(From the context I am sure that he is trying to say He did nothing)

    I really wonder how could they make such mistakes.

    can anyone through light on that?

    Thank you.
    Um, it's the characters who make the mistakes, not the writers, producers, actors, directors, financiers, etc. If we made a movie about life in UsingEnglish, do you think everyone would write correctly? They are not mistakes in the screenplay. The dialogue is meant to be ungrammatical.

    Now, I see in some movies where people kill other people and speed in cars, and rob banks. But surely this is illegal. How do you explain that? How can so many people involved in the production of a movie get away with that sort of behaviour? Can you explain that?

  3. david11's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: English in movies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Um, it's the characters who make the mistakes, not the writers, producers, actors, directors, financiers, etc. If we made a movie about life in UsingEnglish, do you think everyone would write correctly? They are not mistakes in the screenplay. The dialogue is meant to be ungrammatical.
    I don't understand your point sir. Are you saying that the characters speak on there own which is something not relevant to the writers, producers, actors, directors, financiers, etc because as far as I know only the script writer writes the dialogue and the character just speaks it or are you saying that those mistakes are made deliberately to show that the character speaks ungrammatically.
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Now, I see in some movies where people kill other people and speed in cars, and rob banks. But surely this is illegal. How do you explain that? How can so many people involved in the production of a movie get away with that sort of behaviour? Can you explain that?
    I think murders, robbery etc are illegal only if it is done in real life not in an imaginary thing like movies.At the same time if one says that we are living on mars then he is wrong , though we can't sue him for that,we can say that he is wrong.

    Thank you sir.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: English in movies.

    Quote Originally Posted by david11 View Post
    ... or are you saying that those mistakes are made deliberately to show that the character speaks ungrammatically.
    Yes, that's what I'm claiming. What do you think of that possibility?

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    #5

    Re: English in movies.

    Quote Originally Posted by david11 View Post

    I really wonder how could they make such mistakes.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) You have asked a great question.

    (2) I think that American movies try to be "realistic." So if the movie is about the

    lives of some uneducated people, then the scriptwriters (the people who write

    the words for the actors to say) would have the actors speak in a way that "realistically"

    reflects the situation in that movie. If the actors spoke perfect English, people in the

    audience might laugh, for the audience knows that certain classes of people often

    speak in a certain way.

    (3) You are right. Maybe many people in other countries think that they can learn

    correct English by watching American movies. They need to remember that the

    speech of the characters in the movies is supposed to reflect the educational and

    social status of those characters.

    (4) Also, when you listen to American pop music, you may hear some

    incorrect English. I hear that many young people like American rap music. You will

    hear a lot of incorrect English in that kind of music.

  5. shannico's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: English in movies.

    And guess what! That doesn't happen only with American films. It also applies to a lot of British film productions. Out of curiosity, try and watch an episode of Coronation Street, an English soap, or a film or production by Guy Ritchie (English screenwriter and director). You will find some characters' language correctness is at minimum levels. And these are only two examples.

    You may argue that it doesn't really help learners improve their English or manage in their hard task of understanding what is going on. However, the good thing is that it adds colourfulness to the film and mostly, as The Parser said, it makes the film more realistic. I haven't been on this forum long, but I've been on it long enough to say that on most threads we discuss whether a sentence may be correct or acceptable. In most cases there is a distinction made between what grammar books say and what the actual usage of a word or phrase could be in real life.
    Last edited by shannico; 25-Jan-2012 at 13:48. Reason: article added

  6. AlexAD's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: English in movies.

    Agreeing with all the previous posters, I would like to add that according to the well-known man (in some circles), Joshua Bloch, the Java language expert,

    There are three thing that every learner of a foreign language must master:

    1. How the language is structured (grammar)
    2. How to name things you want to talk about (vocabulary)
    3. Customary and effective ways to say everyday things (usage)


    I would say the items 2 and 3 are only natural as they comes from our everyday life.
    The item 1 is an artificial thing, as it appears when people gathering to structure a language, so that it would be easier to master written grammar using the rules they create.

    You must be aware that movies can help you a lot with 2 and 3 but they are probably a little help with 1 (at least to the best of my experience).

    Also, you must remember that writing/reading probably won't help you a lot with your oral skills.
    In other words, if you want to write, read and write. If you want to speak, listen and speak.
    That's why movies are dramatically helpful for listening skills.

    Just my five cents :)

    Regards, Alex.
    Last edited by AlexAD; 25-Jan-2012 at 14:52.

  7. Shenfeng's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: English in movies.

    You should also note that this phenomenon isn't just restricted to the movies. Like already said, it lends a certain realness to the characters in a movie, but this is just because we know it to be real. It isn't just made up - it's as real as it gets. You hear people talking like that anywhere you go everyday. Depending on their origin and social standing people are more or less likely to 'abuse' the grammar of their native language in some way.

    The examples david11 brought to the table aren't really crass. In fact, they can be encountered across all American and even British social "classes". This is how language evolves. Language isn't just one fixed concept - it's subject to changes at any point in time, ever changing so slightly. Some say it's a bad thing, others however, do embrace this phenomenon, because they see languages as what they are, living constructs.

    Those changes happen and will continue to and there is nothing that anyone could do to prevent this. The main reason for those changes is pragmatism. If it's easier to express something in a certain way, people will use that method. Or, people who are not so sophisticated in their use of their native language actually make mistakes and spread those around. Others may very well know that those usages are wrong, but they could also see something in there that offers a certain "advantage" in their eyes, and so they pick it up and spread it even further. Like, for example, in "Where're my shoes?" vs "Where's my shoes?"
    If enough people start using it, it's considered to be part of the (spoken) language. The written language is much more resilient against changes, but it evolves too, only slower.

    No native speaker is using their language 100 percent correctly or to its fullest potential, especially in hasty times like these. Some can't speak properly, because they just don't know better, some could but don't want to, and others actually correct their mistakes as they make them.
    This is one thing every language learner should keep in mind: you don't have to speak the language you are learning perfectly, because those who speak that particular language as their native language, make lots of mistakes themselves. You just have to make the same mistakes

  8. AlexAD's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: English in movies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shenfeng View Post
    ... you don't have to speak the language you are learning perfectly, because those who speak that particular language as their native language, make lots of mistakes themselves. You just have to make the same mistakes
    Very well said, mate!
    Taking of my hat.

    P.S. After having taken some time to think about it, I have come to the outcome that sometimes mistakes being made by foreigners also take part in a language evolution.
    So you just have to be lucky enough to produce right mistakes
    Last edited by AlexAD; 25-Jan-2012 at 15:55.

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    #10

    Re: English in movies.

    Quote Originally Posted by david11 View Post
    It don't matter who you hear from.

    I didn't do nothing.(From the context I am sure that he is trying to say He did nothing)
    They just reflect the way many people speak- the objective of dialogue is to be authentic, not grammatically perfect. You could hear both of those in many parts of the UK.

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