Monday, April 21, 2014

Word of the Week - Shut Up


I've watched a lot of historical shows and movies (shocker, right?). And I've also studied enough historical dialect that I can tell when they get something wrong (well, a lot of the time). And in so, so many, I've heard one character demand of another, "Shut up!"

Perfectly reasonable, right? I mean, why wouldn't it be? Is there any better way to interrupt somebody mid-argument? LOL.

Last night I was watching Turn with my hubby, and there was an intense showdown between Tallmadge and a few would-be deserters. And in the midst of their arguing, one of said deserters shouts, "Shut up!"

I held my tongue until the commercial. Then had to say, grin in place, "That wasn't actually in use until the 1840s." I knew. I'd looked it up at least once for every book I've written, LOL, just waiting for it to be usable! It certainly wasn't in Ring of Secrets, which shares that setting with Turn.

Insert my hubby laughing at me. ;-)

But it's true. While shut one's mouth has been around as an expression that refers to the cessation of speaking since the 14th century, shut up has, er, NOT. In face, it didn't even start to trickle its way into English until 1814. And even then, it wasn't a command, but rather a reference. As in, "The loud noise shut up the speaker." The sense in which we use it didn't come around until 1840.

So unfortunately, Tallmadge probably wouldn't have had a clue what that command meant. ;-) But that's okay--it was a fun episode, and I love knowing random trivia like that, LOL.

4 comments:

  1. Haha, it's fun and irritating when watching shows and movies and you know that something they said, did, used, or are wearing is completely not accurate to the time frame. But what can you do?

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  2. lol, I was reading this, and at first I thought, "But couldn't someone figure out what it meant if someone said it to them?" and then I thought about it and realized, out of context, it makes to sense what so ever.

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  3. I also heard "shut your hole" , last night in Turn, referring the same , "shut up ":-)

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  4. Roseanna, maybe you should write them politely telling them which parts of their dialogue was inaccurate and make suggestions on how to change or improve it. :)

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