1. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

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    Sucking teeth

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Lea`Brooks, Nov 18, 2016.

    If I said a character "sucked her teeth," what would you imagine was happening?
     
  2. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    Puckered lips, small gap, sucking air through?
     
  3. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    I would imagine one making that sound of disapproval/disappointment with one's mouth.

    But that's because I'm familiar with the phrase. I'm not sure a lot of people are.
     
  4. SardonicWriter

    SardonicWriter Member

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    I am personally a big big fan of nuanced and subtle character actions, like say, sucking someone off your teeth.

    Clears throat

    These small gestures and actions are clearly human behavior , and are done sometimes in degrees and situations that
    connote or indicate mood and feeling. Let's use as an example the very same gesture you wrote in your post.
    And before I start, I'd like to make clear that I don't believe Spencer1990 grasps the mechanical movement of the
    tongue when sucking your teeth. I believe he is referring to the tsk! sound when one makes when:

    bringing the tip of our tongue behind (almost always) the upper incisors and pushing forward and off creating a tsk! sound.

    The mechanical action of sucking your teeth and not tsking is:

    bringing your tongue in between your teeth and (almost always) hugging the upper incisors while at the same time
    sucking in, either with mouth closed or open, the former producing no sound and the latter making sound.


    Now, before we get to the situation or what is happening in the character's environment or what that character sees,
    let's check off what this particular gesture connotes or doesn't.

    Have you ever had food stuck between your teeth? Ever have braces removed and had that urge to feel around?
    Perhaps you could cite just a few more examples but chances are that you sucked your teeth in those instances.
    Why? It's likely you did so because you had discomfort at food remaining on or in between those teeth or out of simple curiosity.
    So this doesn't connote or signify anything. It's just an action.

    But when it does connote a mood or feeling, it's usually easily perceived by or done in a way to make apparent.
    It could indicate impatience or irritability. Lust. Or annoyance at the cause of someone else. These are directed outwards.
    Sometimes inward.

    So when I think of, in my case, the gesture of sucking one's teeth, it's going to be negative. A parent at home or a boss in the workplace
    is sitting down with the erroneous one and that boss or parent is trying to make apparent that they are frustrated and begin
    with this gesture.

    I really hope this helps. It's something I'm always focused on. Thanks!





     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
  5. Denegroth

    Denegroth Banned

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    Imagine you've just eaten some fried chicken. A piece of chicken gets caught between a canine and premolar. You "suck" it out, rather than use a fingernail, toothpick, corner of a matchbook - "sucking your teeth." Some people develop this as a habit. Others use it as a sound of disapproval; tsk tsk tsk - like.
     
  6. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

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    I forgot to come back to this thread. :p Whoops.

    Yes, when I think of "sucking teeth," I think of what was described in the last two posts. Hugging the upper teeth with the tongue and literally sucking on it, producing no sound, in a show of annoyance or irritation.

    But, upon googling, I found that most people relate "sucking teeth" with what Spencer described, making the tsk sound.

    So in order to portray exactly what I want to get across, I decided to ditch the description all together. :p

    Thanks everyone!
     
  7. Denegroth

    Denegroth Banned

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    Why am I not surprised?
     
  8. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    I imagine @Denegroth, or any senior member - leaning past his pillow at seven am. He reaches for the glass bedside, and plucks dentures from the water:

    And now the teeth inserted, he cries 'Jim Beam,' a baritone voice, and collapses back on the pillow for that extra hour of critical zzz.
     
    Spencer1990 and SethLoki like this.
  9. Denegroth

    Denegroth Banned

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    At least you're beginning to understand the concept of beauty rest.
     
  10. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

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    Uh... What?
     

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