Personal Idioms Bunkey & Boo Monkey & Bear But first, a word from our . . . Comics! General Background What are some cultural idioms in America? – – – – – – – Kick the bucket Raining cats and dogs Cut to the chase Over the hill Throw in the towel Break a leg Tow the line Key Question • So what is an idiom? Characteristics of Cultural Idioms – Metaphoric—a saying, phrase, jargon – Sometimes used for taboo/ unpleasant/embarrassing concepts • Inherent indirectness helps protect “face” – Often originate in cultural events, rituals, practices, or history – Difficult for non-members of a culture or co-culture to understand – Processed in both the left and right hemisphere Cultures recognize relationships— linguistically and symbolically BUT--a close relationship is a culture within a culture • To distinguish themselves, to create a unique relational culture (identity), to affirm closeness, partners create personal idioms. • Used in many types of relationships – Friends, family, coworkers, dating, married • Key difference between personal idioms and cultural idioms? They are unique & emergent • Are these personal idioms? – Honey, sweetheart, babe, sis, bro 4 Categories of Personal Idioms (based on 545 examples from romantic couples) 1.Relational Intimacy – Expressions of Affection show love, caring, and appreciation – Partner Nicknames are terms of address for a close other 2.Shared knowledge and privacy – Names for Others are labels for people outside of the relationship – Requests and Routines are ways to communicate something in the presence of others without their knowledge Categories of Personal Idioms, cont. 3.Internal dynamics/control – Teasing Insults are humorous ways to tell someone that certain behaviors are bothersome without being directly critical – Confrontations are also focused on bothersome behaviors, but without the element of teasing – THIN LINE BETWEEN THESE TWO TYPES OF IDIOMS – Examples from your own life where they crossed? Categories of Personal Idioms, cont. 4. Reducing embarrassment & establishing specialness – Sexual Invitations are ways of indirectly initiating sexual interactions – Sexual References and Euphemisms are terms for sexual intercourse; woman’s menstrual cycle Summary: Functions To create a culture of shared meaning which sets relationship apart from the larger culture. – Constitute part of the relational identity. To avoid conflict over small problems (teasing insults) and reaffirm the relationship following conflict. – Nicknames and Terms of Affection remind partners that they value each other and share something special. To help negotiate potentially awkward situations— save face. – Requests and Routines enable relationship members to signal needs and desires within larger groups without offending others – Sexual References and Euphemisms allow romantic partners to negotiate the sometimes embarrassing circumstances of sexual activity. Language Just for Fun • 1. THINGY (thing-ee) n. Female..... Any part under a car's hood. Male..... The strap fastener on a woman's bra. 2. VULNERABLE (vul-ne-ra-bel) adj. Female... Fully opening up one's self emotionally to another. Male.... Playing football without a cup. 3. COMMUNICATION (ko-myoo-ni-kay-shon) n . Female.. The open sharing of thoughts and feelings with one's partner. Male... Leaving a note before taking off on a fishing trip with the boys. 4. COMMITMENT (ko- mit-ment) n. Female.... A desire to get married and raise a family.! Male..... Trying not to hit on other women while out with this one. 5. ENTERTAINMENT (en-ter-tayn-ment) n. Female... A good movie, concert, play or book. Male...... Anything that can be done while drinking beer. 6. FLATULENCE (flach-u-lens) n. Female... An embarrassing byproduct of indigestion. Male..... A source of entertainment, self-expression, male bonding. 7 MAKING LOVE (may-king luv) n. Female..... The greatest _expression of intimacy a couple can achieve. Male.. Call it whatever you want, just as long as we do it. 8. REMOTE CONTROL (ri-moht kon-trohl) n. Female... A device for changing from one TV channel to another. Male... A device for scanning through all 375 channels every 5 minutes.