LINGUIST List 7.1751

Tue Dec 10 1996

Disc: Linguistically significant other films

Editor for this issue: Ljuba Veselinova <>


  1. benji wald, Linguistically significant other films

Message 1: Linguistically significant other films

Date: Thu, 5 Dec 1996 16:15:33 -0800
From: benji wald <bwaldHUMnet.UCLA.EDU>
Subject: Linguistically significant other films

I read Steven Weinberger's sum of "linguistically significant
films" with the usual interest. Given his purposes, I won't
raise the same point that I did last time, I.e., that ALL films
are linguistically significant (yes, even silent movies!).
However, it jogged my memory about a 1985 film called "the
Emerald Forest", which seemed to be in the spirit of some of the
"non-linguistics" (no mention of the word "linguistics" or some
quasi-synonym like "philology" -- sorry bout that, or sub?-field,
e.g., "phonetics") linguistically significant films he selected,
but I have never seen it mentioned anywhere. In the film, a
teenage white boy, American I think, somehow ends up living with
Amazonian Indians, and with them he learns to speak a language
which started sounding more and more to me like some disguised
form of English as the film progressed. Has anyone else ever
seen this film (I haven't seen it in a decade), and what, if
anything, were they speaking?

(In the action part of the film, the kid -- and even his father
- helps the Indians save their daughters from forced
prostitution in a Brazilian evil rain-forest destroyers' company

Too bad we won't be around in 2122, when all current and past
films will be obviously linguistically significant, even if most
of them will seem morally bizarre (if not repugnant).
(You'regards right; comedies will best stand the test of time,
the more physical the better.) Of course, they'll all have to be
sub-titled (dubbing will be outlawed by that time -- applause--,
though colorization will become a non-issue replaced by
four-dimensionalization), and will only be shown in art theatres
(or their equivalent) and at special festivals, descendants of
Steve's production. Unfortunately, viewers will be distracted
from linguistic-significance by the strange motions and gestures
of the actors, and will be fascinated that they have body parts
in the same places as the viewers (just as we are, when we look
at early 19th c photographs, and have trouble not reflecting on
how dead all those people now are.) Hasta la vista, baby. --

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