Full stop the "full stop"? June 9, 2013 9:13 AM   Subscribe

I've noticed a recently trend recently where people use the phrase "full stop" to cut off a line of thinking they disagree with. I'm wondering what other people think about this.

To me, I think it is annoying and counter productive. It adds nothing to an argument and is just a rhetorical device. It's not meant to convince you of something with logic or facts, but convince you because it sounds nice.It's used often in AskMe.
posted by cupcake1337 to Etiquette/Policy at 9:13 AM (186 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I've noticed a recently trend recently where people use the phrase "full stop" to cut off a line of thinking they disagree with

A "full stop" is another word for "period" ("."). Using it in the context you're describing is the same as saying in American English:
Blah blah. Blahblah blah blahblah. Period!
Yes, it is a rhetorical device. But it is not uncommon in English language discussions or considered inappropriate.
posted by deanc at 9:18 AM on June 9, 2013 [22 favorites]


I think you should stop letting verbal/textual tics of other people get your goat. There is absolutely no way you can change the behavior of so many people, full stop.
posted by carsonb at 9:19 AM on June 9, 2013 [22 favorites]


I've always taken it to be the equivalent of "period," like someone saying "you shouldn't do this for any reason, period." It is just a way of emphasizing a point, or at least that is the way it reads to me. I can see how it can be off putting, since it suggests that another answer/some other answers are completely wrong to the point they need not be considered, but I don't see much utility in asking people to not forcefully advocate for their point of view.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:20 AM on June 9, 2013


I think it's a beautiful day outside and I am going to go there.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 9:20 AM on June 9, 2013 [25 favorites]


Britishism. London travel season must be underway.
posted by telstar at 9:21 AM on June 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Most of those "examples" have little to do with what you are complaining about. Really though there are a lot of things that are annoying but have no real fix. Give it time and it'll cycle out of usage. Otherwise, deep breaths and move on. People can ignore it, or act petulant or ... whatever.
posted by edgeways at 9:22 AM on June 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


but convince you because it sounds nice

It's used to convey the concept that there's nothing further to be said about or contributed to the topic at hand, which is annoying bullshit, yes. But it's much easier, and much better for oneself in the long run, if you can learn to deal with that stuff by letting it slide right by you instead of letting it eat at you, semicolon;
posted by carsonb at 9:22 AM on June 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


In the first eight questions in the google search, "full stop" is about grammar, photography. or driving so you need to do a bit more work to prove that this is some plague on AskMe.
posted by nooneyouknow at 9:23 AM on June 9, 2013


The link you provide doesn't turn up any examples that seem to me like someone is trying to cut off discussion. Do you have an example in mind where it's being used this way?

I generally take "full stop" to mean exactly what deanc and MoonOrb say, it's like "period" in "be honest with your doctor, period."
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:24 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it's a beautiful day outside and I am going to go there.

Could you Skype so I could see what it's like?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:39 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes, it's the British version of your "...period". Leave us alone. ;-)

Edit, because it occurred to me that you may not: you do realise that we call the period a full stop over here, right?
posted by Decani at 9:42 AM on June 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


"How wude." (/jarjar)
posted by Lynsey at 9:47 AM on June 9, 2013


I agree with you, along with "period" I find it annoying and condescending. But people say a lot of annoying things, because people are annoying. What are you gonna do?

It’s one of those devices that triggers my internal "ignore" list. Once I see it in a comment I skip it and move on.
posted by bongo_x at 10:00 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the linked examples are more like "If you're full stop eating."
posted by The Deej at 10:00 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


PSA: please don't use the edit function to add or change content. It is for typos only. Thank you.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:01 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yep. Full stop is the superior British version of the period. There, I said it, let the culture war commence. Full stop.
posted by arcticseal at 10:03 AM on June 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've heard it used in statements such as "If you think that the article is right you're a fascist/anarchist/racist/sexist/-"ist". Full Stop." As in "there is no way to contest this point and if you do it just proves how much of an '-ist' you are." I agree with the poster. When I've seen this sort of thing done I've found it a cheap way of ending dialogue. I don't know how often it is used or if it is on the rise etc though in terms of metafilter.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 10:11 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do you think the phrase "full stop" is the problem there?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:12 AM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, see also "end of story", "'nuff said", etc. To whatever extent there's something to talk about here, it's more an issue of that larger category of rhetorical strategy than it is one specific name for a figuratively emphatic dot at the end of a sentence.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:13 AM on June 9, 2013


Whenever I see people use the word period to refer to punctuation I cringe a little bit inside. It's an amount of time or (very) commonly used word for menstruation, but where I grew up the little dot thing is called a full stop. It's kind of weird how words build up such strong associations to the point that it just feels wrong when it's done differently.

And sure, putting some kind of ending comment thing to shut down discussion isn't cool but at the same time I can't remember that last time I saw it so I don't think it's super common. I just wanted to externalise my little cringy moment that all you non-British-English people are invoking.
posted by shelleycat at 10:27 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering what other people think about this.

I think it's fine. 'Nuff said!
posted by octobersurprise at 10:29 AM on June 9, 2013


I started to say that maybe we could do something about something about the use of MeTa to ask for official decrees against mild rhetorical annoyances. But then I remembered I could just ignore those and drink brandy.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:40 AM on June 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


I should add that I do find use of period/full stop as a conversational tic does annoy me so I avoid using it. However, I can't change other people's usage of it, so why waste energy worrying about it.
posted by arcticseal at 10:44 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The OED doesn't entirely support the idea that 'full stop' is British English and 'period' is American English. It's true that the OED says of 'period': 'Now chiefly N. Amer.', but in fact the two seem to have been used interchangeably:

1582 R. Mulcaster 1st Pt. Elementarie xvii. 109 Those characts which signify but sound not.., which be in number thirtene, in name & form these: Coma, Colon: Period. Parenthesis (.)..[etc.].
1597 P. Bales Arte Brachygraphie sig. B3v, The first is a full pricke or period.
1612 J. Brinsley Ludus Lit. viii. 95 In reading, that he [sc. the scholar] doe it distinctly, reading to a Period or full point, and there to stay.
1665 R. Hooke Micrographia 3 A point commonly so call'd, that is, the mark of a full stop, or period.
1748 J. Mason Ess. Elocution 24 A Comma stops the Voice while we may privately tell one, a Semi-colon two; a Colon three: and a Period four.
1766 Compl. Farmer at Surveying, A point is..ordinarily expressed with a small prick, like a period at the end of a sentence.
1795 L. Murray Eng. Gram. 168 When a sentence is..complete and independent..it is marked with a Period.


I think it's time to revive the good old-fashioned term 'full prick', which seems to have dropped out of use in recent years.
posted by verstegan at 11:03 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


This intrusion of British English into a primarily American English website must come to a full stop.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:04 AM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just wait until you're on the butt end of a condescending "look, people," which is sort of a front-loaded "full stop" by virtue of its assumption of superior perspective and/or authority.

Better yet, do not wait for it. Then you can ignore it when it happens because it will have taken you by surprise when you're in the middle of something else and it'll be hard to do anything besides just sort of go limp and wait for your senses to return.
posted by mph at 11:07 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ranking Full Stop
posted by LionIndex at 11:09 AM on June 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Full stop.
Does what it says on the tin.
Wanker.

You Americans sound so cute when you say such things. Now we only need to convince you that it's okay to freely toss "cunt" around.
posted by Jehan at 11:20 AM on June 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


Tilda Swinton does not full stop.

With a good telescope, you can still see Tilda Swinton exiting the solar system.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:36 AM on June 9, 2013


CPB, I am probably missing some background here, but what is with the Tilda Swinton stuff lately?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:38 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


'Full stop' and 'period' are really sharp and essentially conversation killers.

Canadians prefer the more polite 'Idaho Stop'.
posted by mazola at 11:38 AM on June 9, 2013


I like it when people start their responses with "Listen..." as if they were talking instead of typing their words at me.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:40 AM on June 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'm just having fun. Think of it like Chuck Norris facts. I'll stop.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:43 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like it when people start their responses with "Listen..." as if they were talking instead of typing their words at me.

I'm gonna start all my comments with "Peep dis, mammajammas!"
posted by The Deej at 11:47 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not that recent - I've been noticing it for about 10 years. It's just one of many creeping Britishisms that have found their way into American speech.
posted by Miko at 11:51 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah cool, I just wasn't sure if there was more to it. Tilda!
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:02 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
posted by yerfatma at 12:04 PM on June 9, 2013


Just for clarity:
~
Is a tilda.
.
Is a full stop.
Everyone clear on that?
posted by ambrosen at 12:07 PM on June 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


Look Jessamyn, it's just a thing people do, since one on one facetime is the basis for most human interactions throughout history. Language and frames of reference automatically default to the assumption that people are in the same physical space, because it's all we've known. Plus it tends to be a more emotional experience, be it good or bad emotions.

You hear what I'm saying?


It's not that recent - I've been noticing it for about 10 years. It's just one of many creeping Britishisms that have found their way into American speech.

Tilda Swinton has been acting for more than 10 years.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:07 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have not noticed this particular trend, though I must admit that trend-noticing is not really one of my strong suits. I mean, I know 'full stop' is a thing that people say, but I hadn't realized that it's popular and on the rise and shit. Now that I know, though, I'll probably try to not say it. Let me know when it's played-out and lame--I'll try to pick it up then.
posted by box at 12:23 PM on June 9, 2013


Wow, we're covering lots of my personal bozo bit triggers. In addition to "full stop," and starting off with "Listen," or "Look," don't forget
  • This.
  • Can we please...
  • Dear X, we need to talk.
posted by jjwiseman at 12:36 PM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


mph: "Just wait until you're on the butt end of a condescending "look, people," which is sort of a front-loaded "full stop" by virtue of its assumption of superior perspective and/or authority. "

GWB liked to start sentences with, "See, [blah blah]." Always struck me as condescending.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:37 PM on June 9, 2013


I find it often obnoxious when I person lays out a fact and says "Full stop," like that ends the discussion. I also figure the person using this term knows this and that's what they are trying to convey. I don't have a problem with it.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:42 PM on June 9, 2013


You Americans sound so cute when you say such things. Now we only need to convince you that it's okay to freely toss "cunt" around.

Ke$ha, ever the trailblazer
posted by juv3nal at 12:44 PM on June 9, 2013


"It's just one of many creeping Britishisms that have found their way into American speech."

The peeving in that article annoyed me and it was especially weird because some of it was from Geoff Nunberg, who writes at Language Log, which is generally highly critical of such peeving. Mark Liberman posted about the piece, highlighting Nunberg's comments, and speculated that most of it (the presentation of Nunberg's tone as very peevish, even outraged) was journalistic invention. Nunberg then also posted about it and confirmed that suspicion. I think there may have been another post about it because I thought I had a bit of a back-and-forth with Nunberg in the comments.

Anyway, this transmission of British usage to the US been discussed there and elsewhere, it's a revealing bit of cultural change.

I've watched quite a bit of British television for years and have both deliberately and unconsciously picked up usages, but I think there's been some more indirect diffusion into American usage going on for some time. Certainly, I think it's been happening on MeFi.

Only just now in this thread did I learn that "full stop" was a britishism and I'd swear that my usage of it goes back to the nineties, at least. But this kind of self-reporting is notoriously unreliable.

I'm surprised to learn that many people find it quite aggressive, even insulting. In my mind, in my usage, it's much more mild, just a particular variety of emphasis. Having learned that it really bothers some people, I probably will reduce my use of it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:52 PM on June 9, 2013


"Full stop" might also be coming from the French "point final". The non-grammatical use of "point final" tracks that of "full stop", in asserting that a conclusive argument has been presented. However, if I'm not mistaken, point final is also used to indicate the end of a "dictee".
posted by Bokmakierie at 1:28 PM on June 9, 2013


I learned in school that a period happens at the end of a sentence, and a full stop happens at the end of a paragraph.

But then again, my school was a British-American hybrid, so maybe there you go.
posted by ipsative at 1:38 PM on June 9, 2013


I'd actually been assuming all this time that it came from telegraphy, I guess because of "stop". I didn't know that this is what Brits call the punctuation mark.

Which is kind of annoying because I've been collecting these cross-Atlantic usage variations for years and thought I'd gotten almost all of them. (Those that seem pretty important, anyway. This is, sort of.)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:41 PM on June 9, 2013


wasn't full stop fitzgerald a famous english professor?
posted by pyramid termite at 1:46 PM on June 9, 2013


Not to be confused with the photographer.
posted by box at 1:53 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The actual full stop — the piece of punctuation — irritates me the most when used unnecessarily after certain abbreviations. It's happening (again) right now on the front page. When abbreviated, 'doctor' does not take a period. It's Dr not Dr., full stop. I feel much better now. I feel like I've taken it to MeTa. Thanks cupcake.
posted by de at 1:53 PM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


GWB liked to start sentences with, "See, [blah blah]." Always struck me as condescending.

BHO likes to start sentences with, "Look..."

They both like to start sentences with, "Make no mistake..."

Being president seems to make one talk a certain way.
posted by John Cohen at 1:55 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


PSA: please don't use the edit function to add or change content. It is for typos only. Thank you.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:01 PM on June 9


What, even if I use edit simply to add a relevant clarification to a comment, as I did? You think it's somehow better that I make an entirely new comment to do that, even though other people may have posted in the interim and thus separated the comment from the relevant edit?

Okay. Whatever. God. You people.
posted by Decani at 2:06 PM on June 9, 2013


full stop makes sense. What drives me batty is the passive aggressive "just sayin'" at the end of a comment.
posted by terrapin at 2:18 PM on June 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


de, you realize that's generally not the case is the US?
posted by mzurer at 2:19 PM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is just pants.
posted by The Whelk at 2:22 PM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is true that "X is the case. Full stop." is an assertion that X is absolutely and categorically the case, but I'm a little puzzled as to why this is seen as rude, aggressive or as an attempt to cut off argument. It's simply an assertion of the writer's opinion that the sentence they have just written is a crucially important one that in its essential meaning should be seen as self-evidently and comprehensively true. If it turns out that someone else disagrees with that and wants to add some quibble or caveat, the fact of the poster having written "full stop" in no way prevents them from doing so. It's not some verbal equivalent of shouting over anyone who would disagree with you or some secret coding that makes air horns go off if anyone tries to express a divergent opinion.

Assume that someone writes in to AskMe with one of those "my leg just fell off and I'm wondering if I need to see a doctor" questions and someone replies: "If you leg has just fallen off you really need to consult a competent medical professional immediately. Full stop." How is that any more rude, aggressive or obstructive to further discussion than if they wrote: "you absolutely must consult a doctor immediately if you find that your leg has just fallen off!" Or "There really are no two ways about it; you should leave the computer immediately and consult a medical professional!"?
posted by yoink at 2:23 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nthing that it's a "British-ism". It's like how we say "[foo baz schmeh], period."

The "." isn't as commonly called a "period" in the UK, it's called a "full stop". So, it's just like how they say "lift" instead of "elevator" or "flat" instead of "apartment," they say "full stop" instead of "period".

Mind you, if you also think it's annoying when people say "[foo baz schmeh], period," then that's something else again.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:27 PM on June 9, 2013


I'm not a racist, but I think rhetorical devices that try to preempt any counterarguments are typically "lazier" than other forms of discourse.
posted by Riki tiki at 2:39 PM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


it's just like how they say "lift" instead of "elevator" or "flat" instead of "apartment," they say "full stop" instead of "period".

OMG I was in Australia a few months ago and was on a two hour train ride with college age kids, two British guys, two American girls. The whole ride was all "OMG you Murricans call it an elevator when it's properly a lift," "Wait, you guys say flatmates instead of roommates right," GIGGLE GIGGLE GIGGLE.

It made me swear to take the quiet car forever. It's somehow so novel for kids that age to discover Americanisms and Britishisms, and it's always British guys and American girls having that conversation, and it's always the British guys telling the American girls Americans say everything 'wrong' and it's this dumb kind of flirting. Bleh.

That said I fully acknowledge I was once one of those giggling American girls. But people need to get over it past age 25 at the very latest.
posted by sweetkid at 2:41 PM on June 9, 2013


I had much better luck when sharing a train in London with a bunch of college-age kids - I'd just gotten off the red-eye and groaned inwardly when I saw five guys get on and sit across the aisle from me, and then immediately dig out two six-packs and about four cans of Pringles.

But whatever ill will I had vanished when I realized that they were playing a sort of drinking game in which someone had to drink whenever they were pessimistic. No matter how slight - "hmm, we're going faster than I thought, I don't think my dad will be at the station to meet us...." "Hah! Pessimism! Two sips!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:51 PM on June 9, 2013 [17 favorites]


I've noticed a recently trend recently where people use the phrase "full stop" to cut off a line of thinking they disagree with

I don't think it cuts off a line of thinking. I think it just adds emphasis to the commenters line of thinking.

"See a therapist, full stop."

Doesn't really have any power to keep anyone from arguing otherwise. I see it as more of a "I think this is VERY IMPORTANT, so much so that I don't believe further comment from me is required."

(Although sometimes they do keep typing after that).
posted by bunderful at 2:52 PM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

This is just pants.
Darling, it's trousers. This is just trousers.


(Also, on the elevator/lift thing, folk in England say both, but lift is somewhat more common.)
posted by Jehan at 2:54 PM on June 9, 2013


If you want to move conversation on to the next topic, the phrase you're looking for is "carriage return."

e.g. "Full stop" is a slightly heavy-handed rhetorical device used to indicate that you think your point has been made. It is somewhat ostentatious but not rude, carriage return.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:56 PM on June 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


The phrase may have become more widely known in the UK because of the NSPCC's tagline "Cruelty to children must stop. FULL STOP". Looks like they have been using it since 1999.
posted by sock of ages at 2:57 PM on June 9, 2013


Is the quiet car on Australian trains really quiet? The average american train car is much quieter than the quiet car in the UK, I've found. The quiet car is, really, horribly misnomered. It is no way measurably quieter than any other car, but is the car to be in if you want to feel silently, righteously indignant that it is not quiet.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:59 PM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was recently on a NE corridor train in the US and it wasn't quiet the whole time, but also didn't have cellphone talkers, which is what I think "quiet car" is mostly about these days.

You're at least supposed to try.
posted by sweetkid at 3:02 PM on June 9, 2013


Oh wait, I get it now.
posted by mzurer at 3:03 PM on June 9, 2013


In that google search there are at least three different ways 'full stop' is being used. The British way, referring to cars coming to a full stop and something to do with camera speeds, just for starters.

Also, seriously, I hate to break out the "metafilter" speech but what did you think this metatalk would accomplish? Your cached google search shows different ways "full stop" is used, so suddenly everyone will say "oh, you are right OP, I will NEVER use that phrase again ever. Sorry for annoying you".

Hmm. That's quite a tall order but I admire your optimism if that's what you originally thought would happen.
posted by bquarters at 3:07 PM on June 9, 2013


I like it when people start their responses with "Listen..." as if they were talking instead of typing their words at me.

Hwæt!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:10 PM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


If I were going to start a MeTa about something annoying and counterproductive around here, I would probably just link to this post and plead for people to stop.
posted by brennen at 3:12 PM on June 9, 2013


Also, seriously, I hate to break out the "metafilter" speech but what did you think this metatalk would accomplish? Your cached google search shows different ways "full stop" is used, so suddenly everyone will say "oh, you are right OP, I will NEVER use that phrase again ever. Sorry for annoying you".

I think OP wanted to open a discussion about this topic, and I think it's OK. It's a much better use of MetaTalk than "why was this deleted," which only mods can answer.
posted by sweetkid at 3:12 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like it when people start their responses with "Listen..."

I can figure out how to use the ocarina on my own, thank you.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:25 PM on June 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I always begin conversation with an ode to the proper deity:

O Speak in me Muse
Of a journey to harth from home
Of a large wine dark black sea, all round contained in paper cup
Dark and rich, by twin sugars kissed
And none of that Splenda crap.
To go.
posted by The Whelk at 3:30 PM on June 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


all round contained in paper cup

you mean two cups just in case
posted by sweetkid at 3:34 PM on June 9, 2013


OMG I was in Australia a few months ago and was on a two hour train ride with college age kids, two British guys, two American girls. The whole ride was all "OMG you Murricans call it an elevator when it's properly a lift," "Wait, you guys say flatmates instead of roommates right," GIGGLE GIGGLE GIGGLE.

Ask an Australian why they think it's so hilarious when we sing "root, root, root for the home team..."
posted by briank at 3:45 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Any device that simply emphasizes the stop at the end of an assertion is just silly and redundant. I prefer an advanced technique that directs the reader to - wait for it - pause in the middle of a sentence.
posted by klarck at 3:45 PM on June 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


I use "Assertion or argument, end of sentence." every once in a while when I want to be emphatic but in a sort of obnoxiously self-aware and self-deflating way.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:47 PM on June 9, 2013


I always begin conversation with an ode to the proper deity:

I sing of Ask and the Mefi who of old from the mind of mathowie came, exiles of fate, to internet and the screen of my laptop; hard driven on hard drives by the violence of Mefites, for cruel Mods' unforgetful anger, and hard bestead in slapfights also, ere they might found their own blogs and carry their squabbles onto Social Media; from whom is the Instagram race, the lords of Tumblr, and the stately city Facebook.

Muse, tell me why, for what attaint of her deity, or in what vexation, did cupcake1337 drive one so excellent in goodness to circle through so many afflictions, to face so many toils? Is anger so fierce in Metafilter users. Question mark. Full stop. Interrobang.
posted by yoink at 3:49 PM on June 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Using "full stop" makes it sound like you're breathlessly dictating a telegram over the phone in a black and white movie.
posted by octothorpe at 3:53 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ask an Australian why they think it's so hilarious when we sing "root, root, root for the home team..."

Better yet, tell them that you occasionally enjoy shagging flies.
posted by yoink at 3:53 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is the quiet car on Australian trains really quiet? The average american train car is much quieter than the quiet car in the UK, I've found. The quiet car is, really, horribly misnomered. It is no way measurably quieter than any other car, but is the car to be in if you want to feel silently, righteously indignant that it is not quiet.
Well, I can't speak for all areas of Australia, but the quiet carriages here in SE Queensland (second and fifth carriage on each train) are much quieter than the rest of the train. This varies with time of day, to some extent, though. I catch the 6:05 in the morning and most people on that train seem to be still half-asleep, so are pretty quiet by default, so I don't bother with the quiet carriage (yet, oddly, the 5:30 that I sometimes catch is quite noisy, but I'm not sure if that's because it's populated mostly with people dressed in hi-vis). Conversely, the peak afternoon trains (anything from 4:00 to about 5:30) are very noisy places, but the quiet carriages are significantly less so. Of course, each carriage has it's allotted share of people whose sole purpose in sitting in the quiet carriage is to point out to people that they aren't being quiet enough.

How quiet the various carriages are varies more with the age of the train itself more so than whether it's a quiet carriage, I think. The newer trains are much quieter than the older ones and I think that has more impact on the noise level in any carriage than the occupants.
posted by dg at 3:59 PM on June 9, 2013


"Clever trousers", which I've only ever heard on The Young Ones, still makes me giggle.

I like it when people start their responses with "Listen..." as if they were talking instead of typing their words at me.

I'll try and imagine it that way. Usually it just seems like "Warning: you are about to be talked at."

"Here's the thing" for some reason rubs me the wrong way, for no reason I can think of that would justify why it irritates me, but it just does.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:59 PM on June 9, 2013


Suddenly some of my classmates' baffling comments in my college seminars on the Iliad make much more sense. I'd seen the yoink translation on a lower shelf in the bookstore, but I choose Fagles. Pretty ironic that I ended up at MetaFilter years later, after a long and difficult journey.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:02 PM on June 9, 2013


Listen, we need a full stop on “that being said”. That being said, we need to stop and listen more.
posted by lampshade at 4:05 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Stop!

Hammertime.
posted by The Whelk at 4:07 PM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


OP here.

If I were going to start a MeTa about something annoying and counterproductive around here, I would probably just link to this post and plead for people to stop.

it's barely worth my time to make the initial post, but definitely not worth my time to dig through threads to link to all the time where it's used to disregard a stream of thought without actually showing why it's wrong, all in a way that's new/hip/cool.

Also, seriously, I hate to break out the "metafilter" speech but what did you think this metatalk would accomplish? Your cached google search shows different ways "full stop" is used, so suddenly everyone will say "oh, you are right OP, I will NEVER use that phrase again ever. Sorry for annoying you".

i wanted to call the practice out, and maybe someone will not use it as a crutch the next time they write a comment, or maybe someone will read it in a comment and not passively agree that what came before "full stop" is bullshit.
posted by cupcake1337 at 4:11 PM on June 9, 2013


This intrusion of British English into a primarily American English website must come to a full stop.

Don't worry, I'm sure this idiom will decline in popularity after a period.
posted by gauche at 4:15 PM on June 9, 2013


FUCK TELEGRAMS AMIRITE FULL STOP
posted by klangklangston at 4:20 PM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


We should all use pigeons, which are great until they fly into a window, at which point they come to a full stop.
posted by arcticseal at 4:22 PM on June 9, 2013


I'm sorry, I only recognize information expressed via song.
posted by The Whelk at 4:23 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


We should all use pigeons, which are great until they fly into a window, at which point they come to a full stop.

We're going to have to use pigeons to get the jump on the NSA. Period. We do plan stopping the NSA, don't we?
posted by de at 4:27 PM on June 9, 2013


It's not just MeFi. It started in the press, and has been amplified along with and because of the Internet, really taking off by the mid-90s. On the Internet it's become far easier than ever for English-language publications to reach audiences outside of their original national boundaries, and that's largely what's happening. It owes more to print culture than television culture.
posted by Miko at 4:35 PM on June 9, 2013

"Clever trousers", which I've only ever heard on The Young Ones, still makes me giggle.
Most likely a willfully silly variant of clever clogs.
posted by Jehan at 4:40 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


full stop makes sense.

Well, no, it doesn't quite. You can't really semi-stop; if you're moving at all you're not stopped, and therefore any stop is a full stop.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:40 PM on June 9, 2013

Most likely a willfully silly variant of clever clogs.
...and a play on smarty pants.
posted by Jehan at 4:41 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not counter-productive for those of us trying to annoy. See? It worked. The universe makes sense again.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:44 PM on June 9, 2013


Clever trousers = smarty pants. Nothing to do with clogs.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:45 PM on June 9, 2013


Ideefixe: "Clever trousers = smarty pants. Nothing to do with clogs."

The idiom's normally 'clever clogs'.
posted by hoyland at 4:55 PM on June 9, 2013


I've noticed a recently trend recently where people use the phrase "full stop" to cut off a line of thinking they disagree with. I'm wondering what other people think about this.

I've never seen the phrase used in this way, only the much more common way to emphasize the importance of what they've just written. Do you have an examples of someone using it to cut off someone else's line of thinking?
posted by oneirodynia at 4:55 PM on June 9, 2013


Well, no, it doesn't quite. You can't really semi-stop

Sure you can. A full stop is a period, a sentence coming to a complete stop. A comma represents a pause, a sentence taking a short break between clauses or list items.
posted by Miko at 5:00 PM on June 9, 2013


'Full stop' = 'period', in countries where British English is spoken.

It's not a 'trend' thing at all. Well, it might be in the States, but in Australia and England it's old as dirt. It's usually used to indicate that you refuse to debate something further, as in 'I'm not lending you my car, full stop'.

I really don't get why this would bother someone any more than any other commonly-used linguistic quirk.
posted by Salamander at 5:18 PM on June 9, 2013


So it's barely worth your time to make this post and definitely not worth your time to actually provide relevant examples, but it should be worth everybody else's time to discuss it and modify their behavior? Based on a peeve of yours that was barely worth the time to bring up?

Sorry, not gonna be able to oblige on that one. Full stop.
posted by Lexica at 5:21 PM on June 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't think it cuts off a line of thinking. I think it just adds emphasis to the commenters line of thinking.

"See a therapist, full stop."


It seems like I see mostly used as "end of discussion" which is completely obnoxious. If your dad is telling you "I’m not lending you my car, end of discussion" that’s fair enough. My dad is not on MetaFilter.

Similarly, to me anyway, the worst phrase in the English language; "think about it", or the, impossible as it seems, even slightly more annoying "if you think about it".

If you say that to me in person I will accidentally spill my drink on you and claim I was so dazzled by your act of opening the portals of my mind I lost control. Or else I’ll take a swing at you. If you write it I’ll start looking for your personal information, the route you take to and from work, etc. or sign you up for a magazine subscription at full price.
posted by bongo_x at 5:23 PM on June 9, 2013


I will not allow myself to be seen to sit on any but the most fashionable and costly furnishings.

-- Stool Fop
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:25 PM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


No, it really isn't used to try and cut off someone else's line of thinking. It's more like a way of emphatically making an absolute statement.

If someone says 'Gay people should have the same right to get married as straight people', and I say 'Gay people should have the same rights as straight people, full stop', what I'm saying is that my statement should stand without modification.

It's not about shutting other people up at all, really. If anyone thinks it is, then, well, okay...but I suggest you just glide on over it. Seems a weird thing to get worked up over.
posted by Salamander at 5:26 PM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


The quiet car is, really, horribly misnomered. It is no way measurably quieter than any other car,

Your problem, you see, is that you're not on the same quiet coach I'm on. I'm not saying that the people on coach A of the 20:00 Bristol-Paddington rose up in spontaneous applause when I firmly pointed out to the rowdy, well-lubricated party of 1 (including the aforementioned British man flirting with the American woman by discussing the whole US-UK differences thing) who got on at Reading that this was the quiet carriage & suggested they find somewhere else, but murmurs of gratitude were heard.
posted by ambrosen at 5:28 PM on June 9, 2013


George_Spiggott: "Well, no, it doesn't quite. You can't really semi-stop; if you're moving at all you're not stopped, and therefore any stop is a full stop."

Sure you can. Have you heard of a "California Stop"?
posted by deborah at 5:40 PM on June 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

Clever trousers = smarty pants. Nothing to do with clogs.
But trousers =/= pants in England where The Young Ones comes from, so I'm not wholly sure that's what it is playing on alone. And clever clogs is a well known phrase. However, one of the writers is Lise Mayer, and she's from the US where trousers = pants.
posted by Jehan at 7:03 PM on June 9, 2013


t's not a 'trend' thing at all. Well, it might be in the States

Yeah, I think this just pertains to the US. It's much newer to us; it wasn't a common locution here before the 90s.
posted by Miko at 7:26 PM on June 9, 2013


I agree with Salamander, that in places where "full stop" is a punctuation mark, the rhetorical use of this phrase is not at all new, nor, I think, on the rise. The borrowing of it into American English is really interesting, though, and I can believe that is a new trend. Do people who use it in AmE use it interchangeably with the rhetorical use of "period"? Do they make a new distinction between the two? Or have they replaced "period" in this usage with "full stop" entirely? This is really cool.

(Incidentally, the OED has the earliest usage of this rhetorical sense of "full stop" from 1923:

1923 P. Selver tr. K. Capek R.U.R. i. 10 It was in the year 1920 that old Rossum the great physiologist, who was then quite a young scientist, betook himself to this distant island for the purpose of studying the ocean fauna, full stop.
)
posted by lollusc at 7:27 PM on June 9, 2013


A comma represents a pause, a sentence taking a short break
So if I get pulled over for almost-but-not-quite stopping at a stop sign, I can explain that I actually came to a comma?
posted by dg at 7:29 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do people who use it in AmE use it interchangeably with the rhetorical use of "period"?

Pretty much.
posted by Miko at 7:29 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


(And my mother, in New Zealand, was definitely using it in the early 80s: "Because I said so. Full stop.")
posted by lollusc at 7:29 PM on June 9, 2013


Well, to be fair, mothers have a special way of using language that is all their own.
posted by dg at 7:31 PM on June 9, 2013


I just realized this may not make sense to the UKers and NZ and Oz folks, but we didn't used to have the term "full stop" at all. It wasn't like a recognized alternative term for "period" that just ended up being used for extra emphasis. It was simply unrecognized, like the idea of calling the letter "z" "Zed." . I learned that a period was called a "full stop" by UKers in about 1988, from an international counselor at my summer camp. We had a whole long discussion about why USians didn't confuse "period" with "menstruation" and how it was all basically context. Until we learned that "full stop" was even a thing, when we wanted to emphasize the completeness of a sentence, we did just say "period."
posted by Miko at 7:38 PM on June 9, 2013


It's just one of those current phrases that people have clutched on to for some reason. It makes the person sound momentarily idiotic. They will soon find something else to replace it.
posted by Kloryne at 8:07 PM on June 9, 2013


Or it'll just become part of our language and we'll have a hard time remembering what it was like when it still sounded a little funny. We'll survive either way.
posted by Miko at 8:42 PM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am being made to sit in a corner and wear a pointy hat, fool's top.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:02 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am drunk and saying something stupid, Falstaff.
posted by box at 9:07 PM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am a blouse on a young horse, foal's top.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:08 PM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


A lot of my American college classmates came back from Study Abroad in England and would quit saying "rubbish" and "nutter" and "loo" and other Britishisms. It was amusing how badly they wanted everyone to believe they just couldn't help it. It was kind of adorable in a pitiful way. I think most people who do it in their comments who aren't British just like it and want to signal that they're very refined and cultured in a way they just can't help.

Hehe. Pretty funny stuff.
posted by discopolo at 10:11 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


(And my mother, in New Zealand, was definitely using it in the early 80s: "Because I said so. Full stop.")

I think "Because I said so, fuck off," packs quite a wallop. But I guess that wouldn't be good parenting.

Hehe. You guys can use "packs quite a wallop " now.
posted by discopolo at 10:15 PM on June 9, 2013


I'm wearing a toupee, false top.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:20 PM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've noticed a recently trend recently where people use the phrase "full stop" to cut off a line of thinking they disagree with.

Lacks the force of the 18th century "and there's an end on it", certainly:
"Sir, we know our will is free, and there's an end on it."
posted by jamjam at 10:23 PM on June 9, 2013


In Thessaloniki they call souvlaki "souvlaki," but in Athens they call souvlaki "kalamaki" which, I think all right-minded people will agree, is outrageous.

Also? Where you buy the petrol? Fuel Stop.
posted by taz (staff) at 10:33 PM on June 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


taz, the place where you buy fuel is something that's a little confusing here to the uninitiated. Based on the fact that you used to buy fuel from a place that also serviced and repaired vehicles, it's called a 'service station' (colloquially, a 'servo'). However, it's been a long time since you could buy fuel (except in country towns) from anything other than a half-arsed supermarket but people still call it a 'servo', which confuses the hell out of young people and furriners.
posted by dg at 12:39 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


yeahbut PUNNING
posted by taz (staff) at 1:14 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


When you're at Iguazu or Niagra and the spray gets all over your clothes, falls sopped.
posted by juv3nal at 2:35 AM on June 10, 2013


"Until we learned that 'full stop' was even a thing, when we wanted to emphasize the completeness of a sentence, we did just say 'period.'"

Well, there's a lot of unqualified universal assertions in your comment. I agree that Americans in the past had approximately zero notion that "full stop" is the punctuation mark in British English. But I disagree that this has changed in any substantial way in the last couple of decades — I think that awareness is still approximately zero. And I strongly disagree that the emphatic usage of "full stop" is the result of dissemination of understanding that it's a name for the punctuation — I'm one counterexample all by myself.

I think the emphatic usage is either the result of the recent appropriation of Britishisms in American usage that we're discussing, or possibly an older, retained usage that's always been around, though rare. Or, possibly, both.

But the one thing I've learned from witnessing and being involved in many, many such usage discussions is that personal experience and anecdote is very unreliable with regard to wider usage and trends, and that even people's self-attested awareness of their own usages are surprisingly unreliable. I reserve any strong judgments until I've seen real data.

I just did some corpus searches, but with little success. The emphatic "period" is extremely rare, itself. Google's ngram tool is not helpful. I might email Liberman and ask for a LL post on the topic — the linguists there have access to more data and better tools. Comment threads to such posts always end up involving a lot of attested usages, which are individually not that helpful but collectively can be revealing if there are enough of them and are widely representative.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:39 AM on June 10, 2013


"I think most people who do it in their comments who aren't British just like it and want to signal that they're very refined and cultured in a way they just can't help."

As was also the case in that BBC piece, this peeving and imputation of motive is wrong and insulting. Usages spread by exposure and the sociology and psychology of it is varied and subtle. There's no doubt that social identity and affectation are involved in some ways and for some people in all adoptions of usage — the way that critics fix on certain usages, and not others, and attribute certain motives to them is often more revealing than the usages themselves.

The same critical arguments about affectation and motives you're making are often applied to the kinds of dialectical adjustments people make when moving across regions or subcultures. They're applied when when people code-switch or fail to code-switch. They're applied against MeFi in general with our convention of prestige English usage rather than the prevalent casual usage of the web. Is punctuation and capitalization an affectation here? An example of snobbish posturing? I've seen this alleged.

I've observed many examples of people who've lived for decades in non-native dialectical regions who have made almost no adjustments whatsoever. Conversely, I've observed many examples of people who will make such adjustments almost immediately, from minimal exposure. Some people will unconsciously match the usages of individual people they're conversing with. This is just how people are. Sometimes it's deliberate, usually it's a weird mix of deliberate and subconscious, and often it's simply subconscious and autonomic.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:59 AM on June 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


A full stop is emphatic, it's true, but a partial stop? That seems a wee bit more friendly-like.

Me, I'm all about the continuants. Especially the fricative ones. Fricatives are sexy.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:50 AM on June 10, 2013


cupcake1337, now that you know that many people use 'full stop' as a way to say 'I've said all I want to say about this', and not as a way to tell others what they should or shouldn't do, do you still mind it?
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:45 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's it. From now on, I'mma use -30-.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:31 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, there's a lot of unqualified universal assertions in your comment.

Sigh.

It doesn't matter whether or not Americans recognize the phrase as punctuation. I am simply observing that the phrase "full stop" was simply without meaning in the US for generations prior to the advent of the phrase in its current usage, unless it was to say something like "Please keep your seatbelt on until the ride comes to a full stop." It is not as though we used the phrase for punctuation and simply didn't transition it to the "emphasis" meaning, we just didn't use the phrase. I feel rather confident asserting this as someone with an English degree, with the training required for teaching literacy, and as a former news writer and copyeditor.

The emphatic "period" is extremely rare, itself.

I wonder what your basis is for this assertion. Though it may be less common than the usage of "period" to mean an item of punctuation, it is not really rare. It's colloquial, so it most likely appears in speech, interviews and transcripts more often than in composed writing, but it's not rare. It's almost universally understood.

possibly an older, retained usage that's always been around, though rare

Vanishingly rare, if so. A Google Books search of books between 1900-1950 shows very few uses of the term in books published in America on language, and all of those before 1910. I also found that Google NGram was helpful, in that regardless of exact usage, the phrase "full stop" was consistently a dead flatline against the word "period." A search on the phase "full stop" alone, regardless of context, filtered by British English and then American English reveals that the phrase appears twice as frequently in British English as in American.

The note that Britishisms have been on the rise in American English is uncontroversial and has been drawing linguistic and editorial attention for some time (Anglocreep!) . We have now become accustomed to saying "went missing," "get a coffee," "run-up," etc. It is not as though I am out on a limb here, and I think it far more likely that this one crossed the pond via the same routes as the others than that a usage dormant for a century would suddenly return from the dead without influence from outside this linguistic culture.
posted by Miko at 9:47 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I put it to you that "full stop" is an oxymoron.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:56 AM on June 10, 2013


Also, when searching recent Google Books for "grammar + 'full stop'", the first two pages of results, which is all I can tolerate reviewing, show that all of the books using "full stop" to refer to punctuation are either published in the UK, first published in the UK, or, interestingly, published in India. There is one exception, an American grammar book in which the author says, essentially, "the British call it a full stop, what a handy term; too bad we don't." There's probably a great thread of inquiry surrounding Indian immigration to the US as a contributor to the spread of certain Britishisms.
posted by Miko at 10:01 AM on June 10, 2013


There's probably a great thread of inquiry surrounding Indian immigration to the US as a contributor to the spread of certain Britishisms.

Wait what? Indian immigrants don't have this kind of power over language currently in the US I don't think.

I think it's more TV/movie imports. I never heard 'ginger' for redheaded people in the US and now it's everywhere, thanks to Harry Potter I think.
posted by sweetkid at 10:05 AM on June 10, 2013


Even really small groups can have an influence on events in language. Positioning matters, for instance. There are a lot of Indian immigrants in certain fields which are very language-dense and prominent, like academics and tech fields. People do pick up on bits of language spoken near them and transition them into use in new communities, commonly - it's one of the ways new words and phrases travel, easily demonstrated by the dialect maps that linguists frequently work up. Irish immigrants transfored the language; Okies had an impact on the speech and tastes of California.

Not that I think Indian immigration is responsible for rising Britishism, it just may add a person-to-person dimension that doesn't come through the press or broadcast media. It may contribute.

I never heard 'ginger' for redheaded people in the US and now it's everywhere, thanks to Harry Potter I think.

That's feasible. I was really sorry they re-edited the Harry Potter books to get rid of most British English usage. One of the great things I enjoyed as a kid reader was picking up new usage from books like the Bagthorpe series. It fascinated me that language could vary so much.
posted by Miko at 10:14 AM on June 10, 2013


Even really small groups can have an influence on events in language. Positioning matters, for instance. There are a lot of Indian immigrants in certain fields which are very language-dense and prominent, like academics and tech fields. People do pick up on bits of language spoken near them and transition them into use in new communities, commonly - it's one of the ways new words and phrases travel, easily demonstrated by the dialect maps that linguists frequently work up.

Sure, that makes sense a bit. Also a ton of words were imported into British English from India which I found cool - it would be cool if that sort of thing happened in the US as well. Indians have a sort of altered version of British speech as well, after all.

If sticking up a finger and saying 'yes! first class idea!' catches on that would be pretty rad.
posted by sweetkid at 10:17 AM on June 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of my staffers was educated in India and his use of "maximum" as a frequent descriptor has caught on on our team.
posted by Miko at 10:19 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd have to agree with sweetkid, I don't think the speech of Indians living in America is influential to the spread of Britishisms, inasmuch as in my experience they don't use them very much. My understanding (and I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong) is that while English in is ubiquitous in India in many essential spheres, a huge part of its importance is as a lingua franca as opposed to a primary language, and as such it tends to be somewhat colorless and efficient; shorn of euphemism and figures of speech.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:20 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Indians have a sort of altered version of British speech as well, after all.

This is why I'd be a bit skeptical of the Indian theory. Why would we be seeing bleed of specifically those parts of Indian English that coincide with British English as opposed to those that don't?
posted by hoyland at 10:20 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Next it'll be that head shake that means "ok, everything's cool with me" but Americans always think "Are you saying no? Yes? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN"
posted by sweetkid at 10:20 AM on June 10, 2013


I'd have to agree with sweetkid, I don't think the speech of Indians living in America is influential to the spread of Britishisms

I would love if Indian culture had a strong influence on American culture at all, especially Indian American culture, but it's still too limited a group. Mostly I just repost everything Mindy Kaling and Aziz Ansari post online, because I call them "non Mango Indians" meaning Indian Americans whose primary focus isn't fetishizing exotic, "spiritual" bits of Indian culture for white people, but rather being themselves.
posted by sweetkid at 10:25 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guys, it's really not a theory, I just think that if someone were to take a look at how a large influx if Indian English into the US context over the last 40 years has influenced American language, it could be interesting. Its influence may be limited to reinforcing existing trends already present via the hybridization of British and American media, but we don't know unless someone does the work.
posted by Miko at 10:26 AM on June 10, 2013


It could be interesting. I just don't think it's a "large influx" outside maybe a few tech/science fields as you mention. Plus with the second generation we just talk like 'Mericans so it's already lost.
posted by sweetkid at 10:29 AM on June 10, 2013


It's been about 5% of all immigrants a year for at least several years. I haven't yet looked for long-term data, but that's a lot.
posted by Miko at 10:31 AM on June 10, 2013

Immigration [to the US] from India is currently at its highest level in history. Between 2000 and 2006, 421,006 Indian immigrants were admitted to the U.S., up from 352,278 during the 1990–1999 period. According to the 2000 U.S. census, the overall growth rate for Indians from 1990 to 2000 was 105.87 percent. The average growth rate for the whole of USA was only 7.6 percent.

Indians comprise 16.4 percent of the Asian-American community. They are the third largest in the Asian American population. In 2000, of all the foreign born population in U.S., Indians were 1.007 million. From 2000 onwards the growth rate and the per cent rate of Indians amongst all the immigrants has increased by over 100 percent. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 1990 and 2000, the Indian population in the U.S. grew 130% — 10 times the national average of 13%.

A University of California, Berkeley, study reported that one-third of the engineers in Silicon Valley are of Indian descent, while 7% of valley hi-tech firms are led by Indian CEOs.
Only Mexico and China/Hong Kong/Taiwan represent larger immigrant groups currently.
posted by Miko at 10:36 AM on June 10, 2013


Sure but none of that means that Britishisms are entering the American vocabulary by way of these people. Also as said above the Indians who speak English have their own kind of English, with different words.

Even though there are more immigrants coming, mostly because severe quotas on brown Caucasians have been relaxed in the last several decades -like, we're not at all included in conversations about race. It's going to take a long time.
posted by sweetkid at 10:40 AM on June 10, 2013


I know it doesn't necessarily mean that. I'm simply saying it might be worth a look by a linguist. Absent that, there's no evidence for or against it, or for any assertions about how Indian immigration may or may not be affecting American English. I mean, this is an intriguing linguistic sidelight - not directly related, but it shows some interesting confluences of social pattern surrounding immigration and language.

lso as said above the Indians who speak English have their own kind of English, with different words.

I'm aware of that, but they also use a lot of Britishisms.

I'm saying something a lot narrower than you seem to think I'm saying. I'm saying "I wonder if this is a possible contributor?"
posted by Miko at 10:43 AM on June 10, 2013


Sure it could be that some Britishisms are getting into the American language through Indian immigrants.

However, in my experience people in the US are pretty resistant to the way Indian people talk and it's mostly a joke.

Unlike influence from 'proper' British sources, like Anglophiles and Steven Fry fans and such and people who think the British are like more cultured and smarter and better and stuff and think the Britishisms are cool.

It's just a very unlikely contributor in my experience, but sure it definitely could be one, why not.
posted by sweetkid at 10:48 AM on June 10, 2013


people in the US are pretty resistant to the way Indian people talk and it's mostly a joke.

That's true for almost every immigrant group in the US, historically, and yet we have many words and phrases that wouldn't exist without them transitioning from within ethnic/cultural communities to mainstream English, like many Irish language terms, Italian terms, Spanish terms, German terms, etc. It's consistent, so I don't think it's too much of a stretch to suggest that with the right confluence of conditions, it could happen with any other linguistic culture.
posted by Miko at 10:57 AM on June 10, 2013


Also, don't underestimate just how postcolonial India is. It really has been quite a while now and the English they speak has its own character -- as I said, somewhat diminished in vocabulary and color due to its lack of primacy to most people and the need to keep it efficient, but also a definite forking of meaning in words. My reasons for believing this are a bit subtle and complicated but after many years of working with Indian people in the technology arena I've come to the conclusion that British English is not less exotic to them than it is to us. Not in the same way, but to no lesser degree.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:58 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see more of:

END OF LINE

Or

So it is written, so say we all.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:01 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


don't underestimate just how postcolonial India is

Believe me, I don't. Many people I work with, though, who come from the medical sector mostly, have been here for up to 40 years, and have brought an earlier English-language culture with them. I may not realize just how much change there's been.

Like I said, it's just a speculation, but I don't see a reason to quickly dismiss it. The story about how Indian-Americans of different generations, regions, and backgrounds are influencing American language is probably an interesting one even if it does not support the possibility I'm curious about.
posted by Miko at 11:01 AM on June 10, 2013


That's true for almost every immigrant group in the US, historically, and yet we have many words and phrases that wouldn't exist without them transitioning from within ethnic/cultural communities to mainstream English, like many Irish language terms, Italian terms, Spanish terms, German terms, etc. It's consistent, so I don't think it's too much of a stretch to suggest that with the right confluence of conditions, it could happen with any other linguistic culture.

Yes, but this would support the idea that Indian words (or Indian English variants) would be absorbed into American culture, like verandah and wallah did in the UK.

You were talking about Britishisms entering American language this way.

Like, if people start saying, "Let's just grab a taxi baxi so we get to Lincoln Center faster" that would be an example to me of Indian influence on the language, rather than calling someone a ginger or using full stop.
posted by sweetkid at 11:08 AM on June 10, 2013


One day about ten years back an Indian colleague of mine came in after seeing Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and was quoting from it and affecting the accent for comedic effect for weeks afterward. He just thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. I will say that his Indian accent adapted to mockney much better than any American accent would, and he certainly had a grasp of the rhythms of it that a typical American would not have.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:10 AM on June 10, 2013


I don't see the distinction you're trying to make, sweetkid. It doesn't need to apply only words adapted directly from Indian languages that enter American speech. If someone was raised using Britishisms like "on holiday" or what-have-you, whether or not they are British themselves, them bringing that speech to a new context may support the spread of those Britishisms which may be led first by media usage. The words don't have to be in an original language; Irishisms, for instance, were not. They had already migrated to English from Gaelic before the Irish immigrants arrived in the US. And some people who had no background or knowledge at all in Gaelic, and were not even Irish, learned them from that community (often via Catholic education) and helped to spread them across the country.
posted by Miko at 11:11 AM on June 10, 2013


"...but we didn't used to have the term 'full stop' at all."

...is a very strong assertion.

"The note that Britishisms have been on the rise in American English is uncontroversial and has been drawing linguistic and editorial attention for some time..."

I'm pretty sure no one has disputed this. Certainly not me.

"I wonder what your basis is for this assertion."

One of the other corpus searches allows the inclusion of punctuation (", period.")

"Google NGram was helpful, in that regardless of exact usage, the phrase 'full stop' was consistently a dead flatline against the word 'period.' A search on the phase 'full stop' alone, regardless of context, filtered by British English and then American English reveals that the phrase appears twice as frequently in British English as in American."

Of course it is more common in British usage, because it's the name of the punctuation.

But Google's ngrams are not helpful for this discussion, which is about the history of the emphatic usage, because it doesn't differentiate between the emphatic usage of "period" and "full stop" from other usages ("come to a full stop", "during this period"). The relative frequency result you say was helpful is confounded by these other usages.

"... than that a usage dormant for a century would suddenly return from the dead without influence from outside this linguistic culture."

Yeah, which is why I agreed with your supposition that its adoption is part of the adoption of Britishisms in recent years and mentioned the other as being a mere possibility. But we really ought to be careful when speculation on specific usages in the absence of hard data.

Sigh.

This kind of thing really doesn't help.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:12 AM on June 10, 2013


So what, you're just nitpicking?

One of the other corpus searches allows the inclusion of punctuation (", period.")

I did that, but did you notice that it completely ignored the punctuation and delivered results for anything ($period)?

The relative frequency result you say was helpful is confounded by these other usages.

I don't think it's especially confounding when the phrase is all but absent. It hardly matters what the usage is when it is negligibly sized.

Sorry about the sigh, but I'm sick of being egregiously targeted for what amount to very personal attacks. I should understand better that you just can't help it, and am trying not to just use a script to block you because you might say something interesting, but really. Can you try to give it a rest?
posted by Miko at 11:14 AM on June 10, 2013


It doesn't need to be words from Indian languages that enter American speech

That's what I'm saying. "Taxi baxi" is an Indianism in English, not a word from Indian language.

Do you know the difference between those and Britishisms? I'm curious.

What I'm saying is that I don't think Indian immigrants are a strong enough cultural factor right now to be influencing an increase in Britishisms in American usage. It's probably more Harry Potter and things. Also the Britishisms themselves are coming through a post colonial filter if they're coming from Indian immigrants.
posted by sweetkid at 11:16 AM on June 10, 2013


What I'm saying is that I don't think Indian immigrants are a strong enough cultural factor right now to be influencing an increase in Britishisms in American usage.

I think they might be, and neither of us really has much to go on there.

It's probably more Harry Potter and things.

I certainly think it's more media, less immigration. So we don't disagree that it's probably 'more.' But the two together might have a bit larger power than the one alone.

Also the Britishisms themselves are coming through a post colonial filter if they're coming from Indian immigrants.

Sure, but "at the end of the day," as it were, I don't think that matters to the ultimate adoption of a term. People are pretty agnostic about where the latest good-sounding speech comes from, and if they hear it being used, they mimic it without needing its resume.
posted by Miko at 11:18 AM on June 10, 2013


What I'm saying is that I don't think Indian immigrants are a strong enough cultural factor right now to be influencing an increase in Britishisms in American usage.

I think they might be, and neither of us really has much to go on there.


I think I do, being Indian American myself and having more to go on than stats and some guys in my office.
posted by sweetkid at 11:19 AM on June 10, 2013


I understand, but linguistically it's a localized and anecdotal perspective just like mine. You could argue that familiarity is confounding and that they'd be more likely to strike my ear because I'm not surrounded by them as frequently.

What I'd hope for is a linguistic study.
posted by Miko at 11:20 AM on June 10, 2013


If sticking up a finger and saying 'yes! first class idea!' catches on that would be pretty rad.

Consider it done - the North Atlantic spread of this phrase has now begun.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:28 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


...never seen that. but sure, maybe!
posted by sweetkid at 11:29 AM on June 10, 2013


This kind of thing really doesn't help.

I'm not sure you're aware of the way your comments seem to be frequently going after Miko in particular in MetaTalk lately. It's possible that the two of you just like to really dig deep into a very similar set of topics and there's certainly nothing wrong with doing that, but as someone who has been watching this particular dynamic in specific over the past few weeks, I wanted to point it out in case you were not aware of the way these disagreements appear to have gotten personal. That's really all I have to say on this. I think some reflection on that point might be useful.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:34 AM on June 10, 2013


"So what, you're just nitpicking?"

No. I probably pared down my response excessively so it ended up giving that misimpression. Ironically, I pared it down to reduce the possibility of provocation.

"I did that, but did you notice that it completely ignored the punctuation and deliver results for anything ($period)?"

The one I have in mind showed the results in their context, where I verified that the punctuation was included and therefore I was searching for the emphatic sense. There were something like only four results.

"I don't think it's especially confounding when the phrase is all but absent. It hardly matters what the usage is when it is negligibly sized."

That's basically exactly backward.

Would you agree that the non-emphatic usages of full stop and period in the US are almost certainly many multiples of the emphatic usages? I caution against such assumptions, but this one seems fairly safe and, anyway, we can accept it for the sake of the argument.

So, if that's the case, then the relative frequency of the two is going to be little affected by changes in the particular emphatic usages and, furthermore, any changes in relative usage due to changes in the emphatic usages would be swamped by any changes in relative usage due to changes in the non-emphatic usages. This just isn't going to tell us anything about the history of the emphatic usages in the US, particularly when emphatic "full stop" first appeared.

It might be suggestive if we were to see some uptick in "full stop" in recent years, given that we know firsthand that emphatic "full stop" is out-and-about; but then, maybe not so much because we just couldn't tell if there were not some other "full stop" that's increased for some idiosyncratic reason we can't guess. There's really no substitute for finding a way to track the historical emphatic usages minus the others.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:37 AM on June 10, 2013


I like it when people start their responses with "Listen..." as if they were talking instead of typing their words at me.

Somehow I actually find this more annoying in person -- in reading I tend to ignore a lot of the fillers and don't feel directly addressed in the same way, but somehow "listen" has always annoyed me as a sentence-starter.

Usually in my experience "look" and "listen" mean "OK, I'm done with the dialog thing, just stop talking about this in any detailed meaningful way and stop responding to my points with your own; I just need to shove one more thing down your throat and you need to just take it like a one-way conduit of information and move on" but I am sort of a pain in the ass to deal with sometimes and that's when I notice the "looks" or "listens."

It also comes across as:

1) Everything I've been saying up to this point is meaningless, here's the good part

2) I suspect you aren't paying attention and don't care because 1), but here's the part you need to hear

3) Please pay attention to what I'm about to say for content and listen dispassionately to the information, without worrying about your immediate rebuttal, without preparing for a way to cut me off before I even start, because I suspect you're just being argumentative and this is the part where we need to be more objective

#3 is fair I guess
posted by lordaych at 12:07 AM on June 11, 2013


I picked up on sweetkid's tone after a few comments thinking "Hmm, what's this about" and didn't notice any other user-to-user dynamics at play, having no awareness of any prior history.

Going back through sweetkid's strident efforts to refute Miko's "I'm just curious about X" rumination I definitely picked up on hostility and school-yard-like in-group passive-aggressiveness, the sort of shut-down tactics that this thread speaks to without providing any good examples (sorry) and perfectly cloaked in civil language with no obvious mechanical flourishes other than "scare quotes" at one point.

"Full stop" isn't bad in and of itself; it's dismissive, condescending attitudes and axe-grindy "I'm an expert on X subject so NYAH" attitudes in general that are the problem, if there is a problem.

I am guilty of it too, nobody's perfect, and there may be no solution to such a problem other than to be aware of it, to see it in others, and to have it pointed out to one's self from time to time, which requires one to be approachable to others on matters of introspective insight and itself is probably "the [fundamental] problem to be solved" underneath it all. Or not, I'm just stoned.

But anyway, this is all not helpful to good faith friendly discussion, regardless of any qualifications real or imagined or personal closeness to a subject IMHO:

Wait, what?
That makes sense a bit.
It's just a very unlikely contributor in my experience, but sure it definitely could be one, why not.
I think I do, being Indian American myself and having more to go on than stats and some guys in my office.
...never seen that. but sure, maybe!
Do you know the difference between those and Britishisms? I'm curious.
I would love if Indian culture had a strong influence on American culture at all


Miko is a consummate trooper here, so much so that I wonder if Miko is actually being provocative by not directly responding to every jab other than the understandable "sigh" after the "WELL [ACTUALLY]," device was employed by IF.
posted by lordaych at 12:45 AM on June 11, 2013


I included the last one because it's just one of those weaselly impossible standards to meet wrapped up in the "I'd love for your pollyanna world view to be real but" pastry, which may just be paranoia talking: I'd love for [strong, absolute thing] to be [even slightly true in a nuanced gradual way that my previous terms render impossible] but..."
posted by lordaych at 12:48 AM on June 11, 2013


And my last sentence in the first comment was one of those "AM I CRAZY OR WUT" jokes without the punchline; I don't mean I seriously thought Miko was performing the ultimate troll: earnest discussion, ha ha!
posted by lordaych at 12:50 AM on June 11, 2013


people say a lot of annoying things, because people are annoying.

End of.
posted by flabdablet at 3:28 AM on June 11, 2013


... any prior history
Speaking of annoying word combinations, 'prior history' always rankles with me. I mean, what's the alternative, 'future history'?
posted by dg at 3:33 AM on June 11, 2013


I picked up on sweetkid's tone after a few comments thinking "Hmm, what's this about" and didn't notice any other user-to-user dynamics at play, having no awareness of any prior history.

The what? I'm pretty sure jessamyn's comments were directed at IF and Miko having the previous back and forth.

Not sure why/how you dragged me into it but I was in perfectly fine faith and not "schoolyard bullying" Miko or even the target of "now you're nitpicking" or anything else. I don't think I'm the person Miko was saying was getting personal or whatever?

It seemed like a purely IF/Miko thing, down to the quoted comments and responses. Miko and I didn't agree but there was no ANGRYFACE there.

Weird.
posted by sweetkid at 4:19 AM on June 11, 2013


Also the stuff you quoted lordaych, was all part of me actually having a conversation, except for possibly the "guys in my office" bit which can be seen as snarky sure.

But the rest of it, especially this : I would love if Indian culture had a strong influence on American culture at all

WTH is bad faith about that? No idea why you included me in your Miko defense. Or why you felt you needed to launch one. Very weird.
posted by sweetkid at 4:24 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Or not, I'm just stoned."

That's possibly relevant.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:36 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


o yeah missed that.
posted by sweetkid at 4:42 AM on June 11, 2013


I've never seen it used here but of course we all read different posts because we have different interests but such a tactic is just like any other similar sort of tactic and nothing can be done about and indeed, nothing should be done about it.

I prefer a Gene Hunt "end of" myself.
posted by juiceCake at 6:17 AM on June 11, 2013


In re myself, Miko, and sweetkid, I think the conversation looks way more combative than was intended or felt by the three of us. (Obviously I can only speak for myself, so I'm just projecting on them. But I feel pretty confident about it.). Miko thought it would be interesting to study the influence. Sweetkid doubted the influence was significant and said why. In my differently and undoubtedly less qualified way I said as much too. But it's an exchange of ideas and opinions, not a fight. People are simply having an interesting conversation and disagreeing about parts of it. Miko said "let's dig a well here." I said I thought it was likely to be a fairly dry well. That doesn't mean I don't think the world of her, or continue to read her comments with the same great interest and respect I always have.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:40 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's it. From now on, I'mma use -30-.
posted by pxe2000 at 8:31 AM on June 10 [1 favorite +] [!]


I was thinking about using EOM, as some of my colleagues do to signify "End Of Message" when they send an email that uses only the subject line to convey all of its information, e.g., "SUBJECT: The meeting has been moved to 4:00 EOM"

Is that cool?

EOM
posted by elmer benson at 12:15 PM on June 11, 2013


But it's an exchange of ideas and opinions, not a fight.

This was my read, too.
posted by sweetkid at 12:31 PM on June 11, 2013


Full stop, question mark, just sayin'
posted by eggtooth at 7:39 AM on June 12, 2013


There's more behind my curiosity than just "a guy in my office," but apart from that admittedly snarky bit, I agree, the conversation sweetkid and George_Spiggott and I were having was not a fight. Speculation is interesting.
posted by Miko at 10:27 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Have we not been exporting British jesters like Cowell and Morgan to appear on US telly over the last few years. I can hear them using such lazy phrasing in my head as I type.
posted by BenPens at 3:00 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


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