1 February 2013

Here Comes RuPaul Boo Boo

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5 had its première this Monday night – January 28. The fresh display of gaudy men in Drag was only matched by the fresh display of gaudy expressions in English – most of them uttered by the Queen mother RuPaul. But the freshness and gaudiness of RuPaul’s English goes beyond the unconventional choice of words and peculiar neologisms; the way RuPaul delivers certain lines illustrates well a type of what David Crystal calls Linguistic Strangeness.

That's all - RuPaul mimics Miranda Priestly
In the première of Season 4 RuPaul introduced his “that’s all” warning to the ‘safe’ girls. Here, RuPaul clearly mimics Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada. The way RuPaul glances to the side, blocking the girls, matches the character’s depiction by author Lauren Weisberger.

One of the most common patterns of strangeness in language is the use “of abnormal voices”. As Crystal says, a common type of abnormal voice is when the speaker adopts a regional of social accent other than the speaker’s own, or the speaker uses an unnatural tone of voice which recalls perhaps a famous personality (1990. p. 19).
You Betta Sissy That Walk
Ru again used that’s all à la Miranda this Monday. But she also adopted a new odd linguistic behaviour as Penny Tration walked off the stage. 
You better sissy that walk, Ru said, assuming an atypical facial expression, head motion, and an un-RuPaul-like accent.

It doesn't seem clear if Ru is mimicking someone specifically. I’d place my bets on infant reality tv personality Honey Boo Boo.

The clue is in the fact that Ru used such odd linguistic behaviour during Penny Tration’s presentation. 

Penny and Honey Boo Boo share two things in common: they both take part in runway contests and are both big proportioned ladies. 
Penny Tration & Honey Boo Boo

But the allusion to Honey Boo Boo is not just due to matters of size. I believe RuPaul indentifies herself with Honey Boo Boo’s sassy style and social unconventionality.
RuPaul & Boo Boo
One aspect that surely brings Ru and Boo Boo together is their odd and inventive use of language. The reality show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo often focuses on Honey Boo Boo’s peculiar English. 

Here are some of the pearls by Honey Boo Boo.
A dolla make me holla, honey boo boo child!Honey boo boo are actually terms of endearment. Alana Thompson, Boo Boo’s real name, used honey boo boo child as an interjection. She rhymes dolla and holla (holler, shout).
Honey Boo Boo's family
I have three sisters. Pumpkin is the craziest. Anna is the pregnantest.” Pregnant is an adjective, so although Boo Boo actually follows a rule of English, the use of superlative with pregnant is unconventional because you cannot be more or less pregnant.
“No one can be proper and etiquettely all the time.” Boo Boo creates an adverb that derivates from the noun etiquette. It’s an unusual adverb.
"I'm sassified." Boo boo blends sassy and satisfied.
You better redneckognize!” Everyone from Boo Boo’s family uses the word redneckognize which is a blend of redneck and recognise.

“My gay uncle is poodle…” Boo Boo’s word for gay.

Shh! It’s a poodle.Boo Boo makes takes this expression from Shh! It’s a Wig store.

We put Glitzy on the table, and she ooo’d herself.” Boo Boo’s word for ‘pooped’.

“Baby Kaitlyn arrived on the Biscuit Express!” Biscuit is the word for ‘vagina’ used by Boo Boo’s family members. Biscuit Express thus is Boo Boo’s phrase to ‘birth’. 

Beautimous ‘some kind of beautiful’, s’mage ‘massage’, s’mexy  and sexmous ‘some kind of sexy’, are just some words used by Boo Boo’s mother – words that are sure to be part of Boo Boo’s vocabulary.

Like the English of RPDRace the English of Boo Boo’s family circle presents its share of odd words and phrases. And since Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is a reality show that follows Boo Boo’s family with no scripted speech, it provides evidence that linguistic strangeness is an ordinary aspect of language – and not an exclusive feature of the Drag Queen’s English.

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