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Stephen Fry's new TV series on language
Thread poster: philgoddard

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Sep 23, 2011

I case you missed the trailers, it starts on Sunday at 9 pm on BBC2:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b015d4qz


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:44
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Not here Sep 23, 2011

I cannot stand Stephen Fry, and he seems to be everywhere.

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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:44
Hebrew to English
Cautiously optimistic.... Sep 23, 2011

I always welcome new programmes on language, but I hope it doesn't fall into the trap of trivializing issues or has been researched with all the linguistic knowledge of an amoeba ...or lacks real insight....etc. I find that there's a lot that can go wrong with these programmes.

Also, I'm not a great Fry fan either. He is far too ubiquitous.

Saying that though, I shall be watching on Sunday

[Edited at 2011-09-23 20:26 GMT]


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:44
Italian to English
Reserving judgement Sep 23, 2011

Whatever my reservations about the man, he is one of very view broadcasters with the ability (or in a position) to bring an educated view of language to a popular audience and this is badly needed.

For someone setting himself as an authority, however, he tends to show an altogether too idiosyncratic approach to the subject in my opinion. Pouring scorn on those who dare to defend certain (apparently arbitrarily chosen) traditional practices that are grammatically and etymologicaly logical and well founded, simply because they have been overtaken by uneducated popular usage, is an abuse of the authority he is claiming.

It seems that the balanced view required in these cases does not make good television.


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:44
French to English
+ ...
Worth listening to, but not exactly a linguistics course Sep 24, 2011

So long as you prepare yourself for the fact that this is more "dumbed down tittle-tattle with a tiny bit of linguistic content", then it's worth listening to.

It's not exactly a hardcore linguistics course, though. And I agree: I'm not quite sure why Stephen Fry has to present this as opposed to somebody who Actually Knows What They're Talking About.

EDIT: Sorry I realise I misread the original post, which is referring to his new TV series. So please allow me to correct the above comment: in my opinion, his recent RADIO programme about the English language is largely dumbed-down tittle-tattle. I have little opinion about this new TV series as I haven't seen it yet (and look forward to doing so). My apologies for the confusion!

[Edited at 2011-09-25 00:34 GMT]


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:44
Dutch to English
+ ...
Charisma Sep 24, 2011

Neil Coffey wrote:

So long as you prepare yourself for the fact that this is more "dumbed down tittle-tattle with a tiny bit of linguistic content", then it's worth listening to.

It's not exactly a hardcore linguistics course, though. And I agree: I'm not quite sure why Stephen Fry has to present this as opposed to somebody who Actually Knows What They're Talking About.


Basically because he has charisma and will ensure that it is palatable. How do you know he does not know what he is talking about? I don't think he'd take this on unless he was actually interested.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:44
Member (2006)
French to English
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Clash Sep 24, 2011

Alas! I'll have to miss Stephen Fry's language programme on Sunday night as it clashes with the next palpitating episode of Downton Abbey. Doubtless deliberate programming by the BBC. However, I'll catch it on BBC Iplayer next day.
S. Fry is now known as a "National Treasure". Has anyone read any of his novels? Try The Stars' Tennis Balls - a gripping pastiche of one of my favourite books - The Count of Monte Cristo?
Although I agree that he can be a bit annoying, I'm glad that someone moderately erudite and quirky has achieved renown as opposed to the brainless "talents" we are universally expected to admire (but then I'm moderately erudite and quirky myself).
Jenny


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Sonia Hill
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:44
Italian to English
Sounds good, but .... Sep 24, 2011

philgoddard wrote:

I case you missed the trailers, it starts on Sunday at 9 pm on BBC2:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b015d4qz


... it's on at the same time as Downton Abbey and I can't miss that. I may have to catch up with it on i-player.

I quite like Stephen Fry. I don't watch much television at all, but I find that he is one of the few presenters who are more about substance than style. He's witty and intelligent and I find him quite entertaining



[Edited at 2011-09-24 06:34 GMT]


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Caryl Swift  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:44
Polish to English
+ ...
Let's hope... Sep 24, 2011

...that he's been allowed to make something at least moderately intelligent of it.

That's the trouble when Ratings Rule...

While we're (sort of) on the subject:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFD01r6ersw


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:44
Hebrew to English
Downton Abbey appreciation society.....? Sep 24, 2011

Neil Coffey wrote:

So long as you prepare yourself for the fact that this is more "dumbed down tittle-tattle with a tiny bit of linguistic content", then it's worth listening to.

It's not exactly a hardcore linguistics course, though. And I agree: I'm not quite sure why Stephen Fry has to present this as opposed to somebody who Actually Knows What They're Talking About.



Well we have Steven Pinker in the first episode, although I'm not convinved he knows what he's talking about either


- Downton Abbey.....it's not like I'm biased against period drama, but this one is snooze-inducing. Must be a chick thing

- I'm more concerned that it clashes with Spooks! Thank G-d for Sky+ !


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:44
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Chick things Sep 24, 2011

Ty Kendall wrote:

Neil Coffey wrote:

So long as you prepare yourself for the fact that this is more "dumbed down tittle-tattle with a tiny bit of linguistic content", then it's worth listening to.

It's not exactly a hardcore linguistics course, though. And I agree: I'm not quite sure why Stephen Fry has to present this as opposed to somebody who Actually Knows What They're Talking About.



Well we have Steven Pinker in the first episode, although I'm not convinved he knows what he's talking about either


- Downton Abbey.....it's not like I'm biased against period drama, but this one is snooze-inducing. Must be a chick thing

- I'm more concerned that it clashes with Spooks! Thank G-d for Sky+ !


Yes, Downton is definitely a chick thing. At my age, I'm delighted to be called a chick.
As to Spooks, I guess it's a bloke thing.
S. Pinker not knowing what he's talking about??? I'm appalled. Along with R. Dawkins, he's one of my gods.
Pining for Sunday evening,
Jenny


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:44
Hebrew to English
At the risk of being lynched.... Sep 24, 2011

I'm not a fan of Chomsky either

...and don't get me started on David Crystal!


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:44
Member (2008)
Italian to English
oh dear Sep 24, 2011

Is this what we've come to? Choosing whether to watch "Downton Abbey" or Stephen Fry on...something or other?

I shall not be watching either the one or the other. I have more interesting things to do on a Sunday evening.

[Edited at 2011-09-24 10:05 GMT]


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Andrea Re  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:44
English to Italian
+ ...
Thanks for the tip... Sep 24, 2011

I am indifferent to Stephen Fry, but I am interested in what Steven Pinker (I have read a couple of his books) has to say, so thanks for the tip.

[OT]
I have just purchased the DVD of series 1 of Downton Abbey and I have watched only the first two episodes. I have to say I am a bit disappointed by it... it seems to be but a costume soap. To the fans of the show, is it going to improve?
So far the only saving grace (setting and costumes aside) are some great one liners delivered with fiery determination by Maggie Smith.
I know... I am a superficial snob, but the reason why I didn't watch it when on TV is because it was on ITV... But... so far it does look like ITV kind of stuff... Anyway, it is entertaining enough to keep watching it, but after all those OTT reviews I have read, as I said, I am a bit disappointed.
[/OT]


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:44
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Like what? Sep 24, 2011

Tom in London wrote:

Is this what we've come to? Choosing whether to watch "Downton Abbey" or Stephen Fry on...something or other?

I shall not be watching either the one or the other. I have more interesting things to do on a Sunday evening.

[Edited at 2011-09-24 10:05 GMT]


come on, Tom, spill the beans... I won't be watching either... I find costume dramas pretty boring and Stephen Fry, well... it's like watching paint dry...


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