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09:26 Dec 2, 2010
English to English translations [PRO] General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters
English term or phrase:to play dumb
I´d like to know if there´s a synonym that I can use to express this. This phrase doesn´t sound very polite to me.
The person knows what the problem is but pretends he doesn´t and even says something to show he doesn´t know but he knows perfectly well what you´re talking about.
"playing dumb" is such a common metaphorical phrase in English, that to my ear it realy doesn't sound at all like an insult. If anything it's a bit clever. You are saying, in effect, I know you know what I am talking about but you are pretending to know that you don't. So you are telling the child, I know you are pretending. That might even bring a smile to the face of the child if said in a gentle way. They like to pretend, or to play pretend. Of course it can also be said sharply. But I strongly agree that the phrase must be joined with play or pretend. I prefer pretend.
I would personally never use the words dumb or stupid to describe either of my children, even if it was in this particular expression. In very colloquial language (my children are only 5 and 3) I would probably say "don't pretend you don't know what I'm on about", or indeed use "ignorance" - but definitely not anything that may be downgrading.
Saying e. g. "you're just feigning ignorance" to a kid does sound a little awkward. To play dumb doesn't necessarily have to be offensive - but usually is - when it's being said teasingly or as a joke.
Explanation: Examples: 5 Nov 2010 ... Maybe he's not 'feigning ignorance'. The first time I ever speak was early on in his tenure at CAFC at a conference in Seattle on IP in Asia ... www.techdirt.com/.../chief-patent-judge-feigns-ignorance-of... - En caché; Boehner Feigns Ignorance That His GOP Retreat Is Attended By Goldman Sachs, Other Corporate Lobbyists. By Lee Fang on Jan 29th, 2010 at 11:40 am ...
thinkprogress.org/2010/01/.../boehner-lies-lobbyists/ - En caché - Similares
Jenni Lukac Local time: 05:38 Specializes in field Native speaker of: English PRO pts in category: 392