The aim of this blog is to serve as a meeting point to those who study or have studied English philology and, more broadly, to all those who love literature and language.

2 Oct 2008


I'd like to start a series of posts in which an item related to language is illustrated by a cinema scene. I've got several ideas but I'd be grateful if someone could suggest further sentences or short dialogues from films which may be used with the same purpose.

Language and cinema: Scene 1

This scene from Young Frankenstein provides an example of the relevance of eye contact in order to grasp important information derived from context. Failing to recognize the intended referent often produces funny misunderstandings like this one.


  1. I may spoil your section, Maite, because it is not a film but I was having a look at the yappr site when I came across this video where Hillary Clinton tries to prove she is a more experienced politician than Obama by remembering some “difficult” moments when visiting Bosnia in 1996 as first Lady.

    12 years later she put a bit of “landing under sniper fire” here and a bit of “run with our heads down” there and offered the story as a battle-tested experience.

    Visual evidence though, shows quite a different situation.;jsessionid=EEB02FC8E2B3A7F510B3BFEE5912A138?videoGuid=94CEC259-1449-439B-AD86-BDF4BA66854E

  2. Well, as to YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN it's case both of understanding and of misunderstanding. Because Dr. Frankenstein (or was it Frankostin?) is not looking at the right knockers (those on the right, I mean), but WE are!

  3. Beatriz, the video you mention may not be 'cinema' but it could be an example of flouting Grice's conversational Maxim of Quality, "Do not say what you believe to be false". I can hardly think that it was sheer exaggeration or a consequence of bad memory.