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shame, shame, know your name

English translation: shame on you

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:shame, shame, know your name
English translation:shame on you
Entered by: Agnieshka
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20:36 Feb 5, 2009
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature
English term or phrase: shame, shame, know your name
This is a phrase which appears in "White Teeth" by Zadie Smith (p. 164 and 168 in Penguin Books, 2001 edition). Each time it is uttered by kids.
Could somebody explain to me where the phrase comes form, and what exactly it means? I'll be extremely thankful for all information, especially those concerning culture context, background etc. Thank you in advance.
Agnieshka
Local time: 06:55
shame on you
Explanation:
If you look at the context, this is being used between the children as an insult. The children saying (or shouting) it are telling the other child that s/he has done something that s/he should be embarrassed about. In the first case, Irie is being put down for having a coconut, raisins etc. which are not considered as good as the boy's favourite foods. In the second, Majid is being put down for coveting a chemistry set.

Don't look for too literal a meaning, or historical references. In the context of the children's language here, that would be inappropriate: "shame", "shame in the brain" (just because it nearly rhymes and allows the other child to rub his hand on the victim's face), "feel the heat"...
Selected response from:

B D Finch
France
Local time: 06:55
Grading comment
Thank you, B D Finch. Your answer is very helpful to me. Actually, most helpful of the all above, hence the points. Regards.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5there would be two different meanings for this phrase
Gary D
4shame on you
B D Finch
3 +1Shame, shame, I know your name
Anton Baer


  

Answers


24 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Shame, shame, I know your name


Explanation:
It sounds like a nursery rhyme. Can't find the origin though. Probably not the Black Death, which gave rise to 'pocket full of posies...we all fall down'.

Originally, it appears, it was "Shame, shame, I know your name". Smith's version is missing the "I", which is typical handling on the part of kids. The meaning might be clearer now. If you do something shameful or embarrassing, it's harder to run away from it when the witness knows your name.

That witness then throws it in your face to shame you even more. ("Shame, shame" means "shame on you")

Anton Baer
Slovakia
Local time: 06:55
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 16
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you:)


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  jccantrell: How I would understand this, too. Also have never heard it before, but when I was young, English only had about 2500 words.
24 mins
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
there would be two different meanings for this phrase


Explanation:
"shame, shame, know your name" would mean, you have done something wrong and your name is a shame to you and your family and from here on in, your name is synonymous with shame,

"shame, shame, I know your name" would mean, you have done something wrong and shameful and I have found out, I know who you are and I will remember what you did.

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Note added at 1 hr (2009-02-05 22:20:36 GMT)
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I just gave you the two definitions of the two phrases, the one you provided and the one where it was mentioned as maybe what it should have been.

I don't think you wanted to know which one was correct, just what they (it) meant.

Gary D
Local time: 14:55
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 20
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you :)

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18 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
shame on you


Explanation:
If you look at the context, this is being used between the children as an insult. The children saying (or shouting) it are telling the other child that s/he has done something that s/he should be embarrassed about. In the first case, Irie is being put down for having a coconut, raisins etc. which are not considered as good as the boy's favourite foods. In the second, Majid is being put down for coveting a chemistry set.

Don't look for too literal a meaning, or historical references. In the context of the children's language here, that would be inappropriate: "shame", "shame in the brain" (just because it nearly rhymes and allows the other child to rub his hand on the victim's face), "feel the heat"...

B D Finch
France
Local time: 06:55
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 76
Grading comment
Thank you, B D Finch. Your answer is very helpful to me. Actually, most helpful of the all above, hence the points. Regards.
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