1. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    50's American Phraseology and Slang

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Oscar Leigh, Mar 12, 2016.

    So, I've got a thing set in 50's America, and I was wondering if anyone had any tips on some unique phrases and styles that I could use? Or slang terms, that would be good. I'd really like to do it right. Thanks. :blowkiss::blowkiss:
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Google is full of this kind of information. Unfortunately, I was a child in the 1950s, not a teenager, so I'm not necessarily a person who could say what was what back then. I'd be very careful about over-slangifying speech, though. Pick out a few terms that interest you, but don't overwhelm the story with slang, unless you have a character who is defined by that sort of speech.

    One of the things you could also do would be to check out contemporary movies that might contain some slang, and context as well. It's important to understand how the slang is delivered as well. How are the phrases strung together, and on what kinds of occasions.

    This might be a classic case of 'less is more.'

    Here's a start ....http://www.daddy-o.us/slang.htm
     
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Just had a look at the first few letters of this list (through D) and scribbled down the ones I recognise. Of course a few of these were probably in use for longer than just the 1950s, but I can attest to these actually being used in my memory.

    stable the horses (park the cars)
    ankle-biter - child (usually said by somebody who isn't keen on them or their behaviour)
    go Ape - completely lose the plot
    baby - girl friend, etc ...more or less what it still means when not referring to an ankle-biter - one important distinction, though. It was not generally used by a woman to refer to her boyfriend, as it sometimes is now.
    bash - a party (a big one, usually)
    bread - money
    bug - bother (as in 'that really bugs me' - I still use that one!)
    burn rubber - accelerate the car too fast
    Cloud 9 - a very happy place
    cooking/cooking with gas - something is working well
    cool - well, hey ...coool... (definitely the go-to expression that lasted for many decades)
    cool it - simmer down (as my dad would say) - chill (a command!)
    cool your jets - stop ranting and raving
    cream - dent or demolish something (often a car)
    cruisin' for a bruisin' - asking for trouble
    dibs - a claim (I've got dibs on that seat)
    dig - understand/enjoy
    and etc....
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
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  4. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I don't intent to drown the dialogue in cultural artefacts. Just want to pepper it with them. And yes, how the phrases are strung is what I mean by phraseology. It's what the word means actually :p. Thank you for your info.
     
  5. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    A lot of that stuff is still in use among the right people, some even generally; "bugging me" is a common phrase I think. Thanks again. Cruisin' for a bruisin' is an awesome phrase btw. :D So going to use that. Why did they not continue this beauty? :D
     
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  6. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, you're right. I don't know when it stopped being used. Mind you, I've been in Scotland for 30 years (this May) so I'm out of touch with American slang.

    Cruisin' for a bruisin' was usually used in a joking manner. I don't know if it was ever used seriously or not ...probably was. But basically it was said when somebody was teasing somebody else, and this was the response to the teasing. I'm trying to think what people would say now, in that situation.
     
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  7. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    And I'm Australian. So maybe, just maybe American media is depriving us of this highly entertaining slang phrase? For shame if so.
     
  8. matwoolf
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    Hey @Oscar - @jannert is too modest, she left the States, a scuffle with these wise guys, nb 'King of Surf Guitar' in da moosik soundtrack.
     
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  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Who WAS that masked man?
     
  10. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    What about "rat" and "fink"? Like, "Frank, you fink! You dirty little rat!!" I think I've heard phrases like:
    "Gee wilikers!"
    "Holy smokes!"/"Holy moley!"
    "Oh boy!"

    ...Uh, in the movies, I mean. I wasn't alive back then.
     
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  11. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    That movie's set in 1963 though. My thing is 1953.
     

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