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Tony Grist

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OK? [Apr. 15th, 2013|08:14 am]
Tony Grist
Arising out of last night's episode of The Village.

We said "OK" in the 1950s but were aware of it as an Americanism (which was what made it so cool) and were frowned at when we used it. Would a Derbyshire hill farmer in 1916 (who hadn't seen a talkie or watched I Love Lucy or even ever met an American ) have had it in his vocabulary? I rather think not.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: steepholm
2013-04-15 07:51 am (UTC)
It's not impossible, but I tend to agree. I'm always being thrown out of historical dramas (and novels) by slips like that.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-04-15 09:19 am (UTC)
It's tricky. If The Village were committed to complete accuracy its characters would be speaking a dialect that would make them all but incomprehensible to a modern audience. Or would they? There's so much we can't really be sure of.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2013-04-15 10:21 am (UTC)
Ah, that's what I was going to say - that you have to regard the dialogue as to some extent translated. I haven't seen 'The Village' and I don't know much about Derbyshire speech, but I'd guess how comprehensible it would have been depends on the audience, what it knows and how much effort it's willing to make. And once you are translating, well, you might as well translate.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-04-15 12:24 pm (UTC)
This is supposed to be a fairly isolated place; the narrator tells us at the beginning of the first episode that his father never "went abroad" by which he means "left the parish". It seems likely that the speech of such a place would be fairly idiosyncratic.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2013-04-15 04:55 pm (UTC)
a dialect that would make them all but incomprehensible to a modern audience. Or would they? There's so much we can't really be sure of.

That would be awesome: Alan Garner out loud.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-04-15 06:03 pm (UTC)
There'd need to be subtitles.
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From: artkouros
2013-04-15 12:40 pm (UTC)
We have all the best words. It's what makes us so charming.

Edited at 2013-04-15 12:40 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-04-15 01:38 pm (UTC)
And we're very happy to take them off you. :)
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2013-04-15 04:53 pm (UTC)
Would a Derbyshire hill farmer in 1916 (who hadn't seen a talkie or watched I Love Lucy or even ever met an American ) have had it in his vocabulary? I rather think not.

What I really want here is the OED, to see the earliest it's attested in British rather than American English. It doesn't sound impossible to me, but it does feel improbable; but then again I can't tell if it's an example of the Tiffany Problem, where the issue is the audience's assumptions of history, not history itself.

Was "OK" in the 1950s new slang for you, or just cool and forbidden?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-04-15 05:53 pm (UTC)
I seem to remember it as cool and forbidden- in the sense that it wasn't something you'd say to a teacher.
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[User Picture]From: steepholm
2013-04-15 07:12 pm (UTC)

Ta da

1864 Boy's Own Mag. Nov. 450/1 No thought of taking the trouble to find out whether the order was O.K., or ‘orl korrect’, as Sir William Curtis phrased it.
1865 W. H. Russell Atlantic Telegr. 61 The communication with shore continued to improve, and was, in the language of telegraphers, O.K.
1874 E. S. Phelps Trotty's Wedding Tour xiii. 133 We had an O.K. time till we went to bed.
1894 C. H. W. Donovan With Wilson in Matabeleland xi. 253 As our American friends would say, we were still ‘O.K.’
1900 Law Times 10 Nov. 35/2 The State Court seems to have decided that when a lawyer marks such a decree O.K., he is, by so doing, estopped from questioning that decree by appeal.
1908 C. E. Mulford Orphan xiii. 160 He's an O.K. dog, that's what he is.
1922 D. H. Lawrence England, my England 101 At first Joe thought the job O.K.
1928 Z. N. Hurston Let. 15 Oct. in Life in Lett. (2002) 127 Things are ok by me. How is it with you?
1937 D. L. Sayers Busman's Honeymoon viii. 148 ‘I say, Mr. Superintendent, are you going to want me any more? I've got to get back to Town.’ ‘That's O.K. We've got your address.’
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-04-16 08:49 am (UTC)

Re: Ta da

Thank you. That's what we needed.

So it seems Sir William Curtis was to blame...

Edited at 2013-04-16 08:49 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2013-04-16 05:45 pm (UTC)
1864 Boy's Own Mag. Nov. 450/1 No thought of taking the trouble to find out whether the order was O.K., or ‘orl korrect’, as Sir William Curtis phrased it.

You rock.
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From: cmcmck
2013-04-15 07:47 pm (UTC)
Sussex dialect and county dialects in the south used the term: 'all kif' or 'alla kif' in the same sort of way and this is believed to come from the same root.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-04-16 08:52 am (UTC)
Whatever that root may be....

Lakota? West African? You pays yer money and yer takes your choice.
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From: cmcmck
2013-04-17 07:49 am (UTC)
I tend to use kushty anyway, for which you can blame my Romani ancestry! :o)

I've wondered if 'all kif' is Rom, but can find no evidence for same.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-04-17 08:23 am (UTC)
It looks Arabic to me- but I don't suppose it is.
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[User Picture]From: charliemc
2013-04-16 12:44 am (UTC)
As an American, this was always OKAY for me. (grin)

But I grew up using okay -- NOT OK (or O.K.). Teachers were okay with okay, but unhappy with OK. I'm getting silly, but like I said, I grew up using it...

Now because of computers, it's always OK (which still bothers me...).

Actually, there's a ton of argument here in the United States about HOW the word was 'created' to begin with. Some think it's an Indian word and on and on.

Try using software with clicking on OK... Not happening...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-04-16 08:54 am (UTC)
OK seems to be the preferred British spelling. Okay seems a little exotic to me. Not wholly strange but unusual.
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