PRONOUN TROUBLE.

To quote the MetaFilter post from which I got the link, “56 years ago today, Rabbit Seasoning hit movie theaters for the first time. This cartoon classic is the work of Mike Maltese (whose centennial birthday was celebrated earlier this year) a cartoon writer whose work is arguably far more well known than his name…” The MeFi post links other great Maltese collaborations with Chuck Jones; I’m posting this one because of its linguistic interest, exemplified by the quote I’ve used as a post title.
Oh hell, who am I kidding, I’m posting it because it’s a hilarious cartoon classic I wanted to share, but at least the pronoun angle gives me cover when the Relevance Police come to call.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much. I’d never seen this one, and it has made this sunny spring Sunday afternoon even brighter. I even enjoyed the language angle.

  2. There are Relevance Police? Not in my blogosphere!

  3. Hurrah for the writers! Good for you for reminding us of their work.

  4. Another point of linguistic interest is Bugs’s use of [e@] in “rabbit”, whereas both Daffy and Elmer have [æ].
    I also played the Latin American Spanish version; whoever did the voices (perhaps Mel Blanc himself? I have no idea) captures the varying voice characterizations very well, although it’s hard to hear the female Bugs’s voice over the sound effects, but I detect no noticeable shift in accent.

  5. Crown, A. J.P. says:

    Nobody will like this comment (I don’t even like it). I noticed they wrote ‘RABBIT 150 FT STRAIT AHEAD’. Perhaps it’s an alternative spelling; a reform, like the SF newspapers’ use of cigaret for cigarette (which I’ve always hated for some odd reason).

  6. marie-lucie says:

    The spelling strait gives a hint that the signs are not official ones, before the duck (?) is revealed as their author. I don’t often watch cartoons but “illiterate” spellings by some of the characters (especially nasty ones) seem to be a common feature.

  7. Crown, A.J.P. says:

    Yes, that would account for the backwards esses as well. I see you were really paying attention.

  8. If you want to get picky about the spelling, the first sign, “IF YOURE LOOKING FOR FUN”, is missing the apostrophe.
    Marie-Lucie, yes it’s a duck–the characters are Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, and Elmer Fudd. In the 50′s and 60′s this was a regular Saturday morning cartoon for us, sometimes my dad would watch with us and we were always amazed that he would laugh in different places, especially with the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons.
    STRAIT AHEAD’. Perhaps it’s an alternative spelling
    It was common during that time to have shorter spellings for advertisement headlines and the signs in supermarket windows, at least in our little town. Easy/EZ, quick/kwik, bright/brite, maybe kleen for clean as in Kleenex tissues…can’t think of any more at the moment but I never liked them.

  9. Going Dotty in Kansas says:

    There’s a live rabbit on my desk as I write this, and I’m glad that Bugs won out on this one with his witty use of pronouns. So there.

  10. Crown, A.J.P. says:

    Don’t feel obliged to apologize for having a rabbit on your desk. I sometimes have a hen, or occasionally a goat, under mine.

  11. Going Dotty in Kansas says:

    There are desks on Mars?! (Where is that darned interrobang when you need it? Damn this planet!)

  12. So… what’s the phonetic spelling for Daffy’s version of diiiithpicable?

  13. John Emerson says:

    Our yard is infested with rabbits (we have two large brushy areas). My grandnephew, aged four, absolutely loves cute little animals, but he doesn’t even bother to look at the rabbits any more.

  14. John Emerson says:

    Our yard is infested with rabbits (we have two large brushy areas). My grandnephew, aged four, absolutely loves cute little animals, but he doesn’t even bother to look at the rabbits any more.

  15. Crown, A.J.P. says:

    I should stress that I don’t believe I’m actually ON the planet Mars. My role model (in this and only this) is Queen Victoria, who never went to India but nevertheless was made Empress and became quite rich from it.

  16. Just a quibble:
    Is there any particular reason for saying “far more well known” than “far better known”?

  17. No. Don’t look at me, I just quoted it.

  18. marie-lucie says:

    Is there any particular reason for saying “far more well known” than “far better known”?
    Probably because “well known” is often treated as a unit, rather than as two independent words: “well” followed by “known”, and words of more than one syllable (such as “well-known”, with or without a hyphen) tend to take “more” rather than the suffix “er”.
    I have the impression that this usage is more and more frequent, but it could be because of the “frequency fallacy” (which makes you notice things more and more after you first notice them).

  19. Is there any particular reason for saying “far more well known” than “far better known”?
    I think that there is a general if slight shift away from analytic to the synthetic for English comparatives and superlatives, and that compound adjectives are at the cutting edge of this trend.
    Comparing adjectives of the form “well-X” is a fun game anyone can play.
    Among definite verdicts are well-off>better-off and well-dressed>best-dressed but well-to-do>more well-to-do and well-done [steak] > more well-done
    Among closer calls I strongly prefer well-known>better-known, but slightly favour well-versed> more well-versed.

  20. “well done” applied to steak is basically a unit that no longer has much to do with the quality of the cooking: you aren’t asking for it to be prepared well. If that’s what you wanted, you’d request it rare.

  21. David Marjanović says:

    the SF newspapers’ use of cigaret for cigarette (which I’ve always hated for some odd reason).

    I can tell you why: because, even when it suddenly looks grammatically masculine, sometimes a cigarette is just a cigarette…

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