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Episode 6 corrections

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29529.  Fri Nov 04, 2005 5:35 pm Reply with quote

I didn't know this at the time (where were you brackett?!) but my Mandarin evening classes inform me that there are two ways to pronounce the 'tsch' sound in Chinese:

1. wide-mouthed, 'ch' as in 'cheap', spelled in pinyin as the letter q.
2. retroflex, lips-forward 'ch', a bit like 'chew', but with the tip of the tongue curled back. This sound doesn't appear in English, but appears in pinyin as 'ch'.

Rory knew everything else, though...

Loved Bill's "Coelacanth Back Scrubber" idea.

29530.  Fri Nov 04, 2005 5:37 pm Reply with quote

Yup, I mentioned it, but nothing was said unfortunately.

Of course the Chinese say 'ch' how the hell does Rory think Mr. Chan pronounces his name?

29531.  Fri Nov 04, 2005 5:39 pm Reply with quote

I was really happy with that show, the cockney rhyming slang was brilliant.

By the way, the next episode with Stephen talking mandarin - for any mandarin speakers- might cause a cringe or too. It is very hard to remember pronunciations when you have all those facts to memorise.

29537.  Fri Nov 04, 2005 6:30 pm Reply with quote

Was I right in hearing Mr Fry say the term Bog standard came from toy sets? I was under the impression that the term Bog standard was a victorian acronym for “British or German”, on the grounds that standards in
manufacturing were set in Victorian times by British and German engineering.

29552.  Fri Nov 04, 2005 8:16 pm Reply with quote

The "Box, standard" origin may be suspect, but the idea of acronyms in Victorian times is much more so:
The fashion for acronymic creation is a military one, dating from around the time of the First World War (an early example is AWOL, or "Absent Without Leave", though even this wasn't consistently pronounced as a word at the time), and acronyms didn't get into general circulation until the Second World War and later. There are almost no examples of words of acronymic origin before 1900. Indeed, the very word "acronym" wasn't coined until 1943.

This subject has come up rather frequently on these boards; post 7507, for example.

29553.  Fri Nov 04, 2005 8:47 pm Reply with quote


You'll notice that Stephen was careful to qualify the bog standard/dogs bollocks derivation. He didn't exactly say it was true only "I am persuaded that..."

However, we have not been able to trace a better explanation, try though we may.

And Flash is quite right about acronyms – all those supposed acronym based etymologies such as POSH (Port Out Starboard Home), TIP (To Insure Promptness) and the especially unlikely FUCK (Fornication Under the Consent of the King) are all poppycock.

It is however true that NORWICH stands for Nickers Off Ready When I Come Home.

29559.  Sat Nov 05, 2005 4:10 am Reply with quote

OED online has this:
bog-standard, a. DRAFT ENTRY Mar. 2002
slang (depreciative, chiefly Brit.).

[Origin uncertain; perh. an alteration of BOX-STANDARD a., after BOG n.4
Differing theories of the origin of bog-standard have been proposed, but none proven. An immediate association with BOG n.1 seems unlikely on semantic grounds. The most commonly held view is that the transition from box to bog resulted from a mishearing or misunderstanding of the earlier term.
Others have suggested a derivation < bog-wheel former Cambridge slang for a bicycle, though ultimately also related to BOG n.4: see P. Beale Conc. Dict. Slang (1989) 47/2, 48/1.]

Ordinary, basic, standard; without extra features or modification; unexceptional or uninspired. Cf. BOX-STANDARD a.
Although there is widespread anecdotal evidence (in personal correspondence to the O.E.D., and elsewhere) to suggest that particular association of this term (and box-standard) with motorcycles and cars dates back to the 1960s, we have yet to find earlier examples in print. In fact, as with box-standard, the O.E.D.'s earliest printed evidence relates not to motoring but to computers (although early evidence for box-standard as a noun is in engineering and mechanical contexts).
and this is just something I found which appears sensible:
I don't know what constitutes "nailing down", but if you read old British sports car and sports motorcycle magazines from the Brooklands era you will find references to "box standard" vehicles, i.e., standard vehicles straight out of the maker's box, as opposed to those which had been tweaked in various ways to go faster. It is my impression that ignorant journalists overhearing the techie engineering talk in the pits misheard it as "bog standard". I recall that in motorsport magazines of the 1950s some of the elderly and more literate contributors would pedantically insist on referring to "box standard" when "bog" had largely become the standard. "Bog" also suggests something homespun and agricultural, so it's likely those who enjoyed tweaking engines to go faster enjoyed the implied sneer and adopted "bog standard".

What were called "production racers" were meant to be "box standard" vehicles, and there was a great deal of messing about defining how many had to be made and offered for sale, and how much road-legal kit they had to carry, for something to count as a production "box standard" racer.

However, I'm not going to spend days rummaging in ancient library archives to find exact quotations. I'm sure the only reason this "box standard" business is not well known in dictionary circles is that those with ink-stained fingers tend to move in quite different social circles to those with sump-oil stained fingers. What would not be difficult for someone with the time to do it would be to find the primacy of "box" giving way to the co-existence of "box" and "bog" and thence to to the supremacy of "bog". I noticed the transition decades ago when going through old archives because of an interest in the history of motor sport and engineering.

(Chris Malcomb, extract from the aue Deja archives)

29597.  Sat Nov 05, 2005 11:52 am Reply with quote

You know, I think I might be persuaded too. I found these which support your thinking entirely.

The only resorce I could find for B.O.G. was this,

and a bloke called Frank in the County Arms.

I'm delighted with the information about acronyms but might continue to pretend that "fine" stands for fustrated, insecure, neurotic and emotional.

29729.  Sun Nov 06, 2005 1:23 pm Reply with quote

Loved Bill's "Coelacanth Back Scrubber" idea.

According to the subtitles it was a"Seal Cub Backscrubber"!

29733.  Sun Nov 06, 2005 2:11 pm Reply with quote

That's interesting - I've never watched it with subtitles, but the official transcripts do miss the point of what's being said quite often (the word fauvist rendered as faux fist, for example). Jack, some form of quality control called for, do you think?

29775.  Sun Nov 06, 2005 5:41 pm Reply with quote


You're the only one of us who seems to get the transcripts, so I suppose as long as you know what's meant, accuracy isn't that vital.

It'd be different if we thought we were going to publish them I suppose.

Comprehension of the progamme at first watching is not that easy – and not only for some ill-paid transcription person working under pressure.

Terry Jones was in QI on TX night and he said he found it quite hard to follow because of the speed at which information comes at you.

The rest of my family were watching it at home and my mother said she missed a lot because every time anyone laughed aloud it drowned the next sentence.

I suppose there's no excuse for typing meaningless phrases like 'faux fist' but I guess the transcriber is doing their best in the time allowed. I shouldn't imagine the budget allows for a polymathic supervisor or time for thought or second opinions.

29780.  Sun Nov 06, 2005 6:11 pm Reply with quote

My transcripts don't matter, which is why I've never mentioned them before - but I wasn't aware that a subtitled version was being broadcast; that's the thing that would seem to be worth checking.

29803.  Sun Nov 06, 2005 7:31 pm Reply with quote

Oh I see. I'm so sorry. How dense of me.

Yes, you're quite right.

I will email the production manageress at once.


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