6 May 2013

The Count Dragula* - Part Two

* Countdown of the odd linguistic expressions
of this 5th season of RuPaul's Drag Race (ep. 10 - 13).

4 Super Troopers.
Former U.S.A. soldiers
This episode didn't bring any great original language oddities. The Shemail segment presents the usual non-sense message with queer phrases.

"Sometimes a drag queen's got to do what a drag queen's got to do. Whether is laying a foundation or painting the house down." The house down is a phrase used by queens just to emphasise meaning.

"Remember the golden shower rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto Ru." Needless to say the the golden shower rule is a deviation of the phrase golden rule.

Nothing more proper to show how this sentence sounds weird than the reaction of Alaska, who not only looks puzzled but let out a "What?!"

The runway presentation was a bit more rewarding. 

"Hunty for Red October" being a quite funny allusion to the title The Hunt for Red October.

"America the bootifull." Bootiful is a blend of booty and beautiful; a word that is certainly not a new, but, not common.

Coco & Horchata Montrese

"Red sky at night. Sailor's delight." RuPaul says this out of the blue. This rhyme is a common wheather lore familiar to mariners.

"Is that your boa? Or you're just ready to flock me?" This is a deviation of the common sentence that ends in ...Or are you just happy to see me? This sentence is an example of a knob joke that makes reference to an erection and that was made popular by Mae West.

3 Sugar Ball: this is the episode in which the queens have to make a costume our of something - in this one, candies. So the Shemail segment delivered a message full of references to choc bars; this couldn't turn the English in the message more strange.
"Hey Kit-Kats! Don't
Sneaker. Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you feel like A Hundred Thousand Dollar Bar - non. Here's Whatchamacallit." All words in italics are names of choc bars. Nut - I suppose - is short for Nutty Bar.

The puppet show presentation was a highlight of the entire season. The language used during this segment is also remarkable. RuPaul, as usual, abuses of double entendre refering to the hole where the puppets are. 

Alaska reaching for a puppet in the hole.

He couldn't also miss the opportunity to dig a film title to make fun of when Alaska had his arm into the hole: "A Fist Called Wanda." This is a reference to A Fish Called Wanda.

The runway
A few language pearls also ocurred during the runway presentation.

"Where my Peeps at?" 
RuPual makes reference to the catchphrase Where my people at? that Roxxy used in the song Can I Get an Amen. She replaces the word people for Peeps - marshmallow candies shaped like small animals.

"She's sixteen going on sickening." This sentence from the song Sixteen going on seventeen is frequently used in the show in a modified manner. Later in this episode Ms Visage refers to Jinkx look as "Sixteen going on forty-seven."

"Very Splenda in the Grass." RuPaul makes a reference to the film title Splendor in the Grass changing the word splendor for Splenda - name of an artificial sweetner.

The best double-entendre of the programme was perhaps this one from RuPaul: "Welcome ladies. Thanks to your candy couture... I've got a cavity. And it's throbbing."

2 The Final Three, Hunty
While this episode wasn't great on language oddities,
at least it presented two neologisms:
Chiffonography and Hairography 
blends of words chiffon and hair, respectively, and coreography.

1 Countdown to the Crown
In this last episode before the new drag superstar is revealed, RuPaul didn't spear the public of his encrypted double-entendre. So, that's how she opens the show: "Even I can't quite put my finger on the charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent, it will take to win the title of America's next drag superstar. " Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent, as already mentioned in previous posts, form an acronym to c.u.n.t. - vulgar word for vagina.

The English used in the review of this season's contestants would take a whole new post to be properly analysed. It's a very complex language full of references, allusions, and witticisms. But there's no time for that because the Reunion episode is about to air on tv. So I leave you with RuPaul's words which reveals how conscious he is of the strangeness of the Drag Queen's English.

"She bring it to you every ball. Why y'all gagging so? Did you understand that? If not, you could use a refresher course in Drag Linguistics; hashtag shitmygirlsays."

I'm sure this blog gives its contribution to native and non-native English users everywhere.
I hope you learned and enjoyed.

5 May 2013

The Count Dragula* - Part One

* Countdown of the odd linguistic expressions 
of this 5fth season of RuPaul's Drag Race.
Whilst we're on the countdown to learn 
which queen will be crowned next America's drag superstar, 
I present here a countdown of the remarkable idiosyncratic expressions that occurred through this 5th season of RPDRace (ep. 4 - 13).

10 Black Swan: Why It Gotta Be Black?
Coco Montrese & Alyssa Edwards
This is quite a disappointing episode in terms of linguistic strangeness (check post 1). The most noteworthy occurrences of strangeness occurr in the speech of Detox. Detox use of abnormal voices and intonation is quite characteristic of her English – like when she speaks imitating the cackling of a chicken in episode 3.

One of Detox's odd linguistic behaviour occurrs when he complains about Mahogany's dance performance. "Honey kind of sucks. Watching her was so uncomfortable." Then, Detox alter his voice to an unusual high pitched intonation, and let out a...
"F*ck my life."

9 Snatch Game: This episode didn't feature many remarkable oddities.
One in particular drew my attention:
“She put the wubba in wubba wubba wubba.”

Downtown Julie Brown: MTV Veejay

RuPaul uses this nonsense expression to introduce the snatch game guess Downtown Julie Brown. Wubba wubba wubba is an expression that became Downtown Julie’s catchphrase on MTV.

Wubba wubba wubba also appears in the
Monster in the Mirror song from Sesame Street.

An interesting expression occurred in the workroom, right after Jade Jolie jokes, “You know what’s ugly? Poverty.” Jinkx then replies: “The Jade… the Jade of it all.” This expression refers back to the phrase The shadethe shade of it all that was introduced in RPDRace season 4 by Latrice Royal.

Can I Get an Amen? In this episode, among the few new language oddities that occurrs, one interesting one came from RuPaul: "Waiter, can you wrap that ass to go?" It's a normal sentence that has an unusual word collocation - ass.

Alaska - one of the three finalist
Another interesting use of language occurs when RuPaul addresses Alaska during the runway. Ru asks, "Alright, who is gonna ask 'er." Then, he himself answers it: "I'll ask 'er!" I'll ask her is homophone to Alaska. 

To close, Ru don't miss the opportunity to change the words of the song Can I Get an Amen? and instead sings: "Can I get a gay man?"

7 RuPaul Roast: This episode has more linguistic oddities.
To start with, they begin with The Library challenge
and the queens have to read each other to filth.
The Library is Open challenge
As usual, they play with the words top and bottom. "Coco Montrese, For someone who call himself a top, you sure like being on the bottom." Roxxxy allundes the fact that Coco has been in the bottom two already twice.

"Long story short: the season of the fish smells like trout." Alaska plays juxtaposing the words fish and trout - fish meaning feminine sexy and trout meaning manly and somehow decadent.

When the queens are challenged to participate in a roast, it's time for the queens show off their linguistic wittiness.

Jinkx plays with the word top. "It's gonna be hard to top Coco. But look at her. Who would wanna top Coco?"

6 Scent of a Drag Queen: the title of the episode is an allusion to the film Scent of a Woman. Here, the queens had to create a perfume and film a commercial for their signature fragrance.

Alaska created a memorable commercial and, by far, the most memorable expressions which played with the word Red and read (past of read). Her commercial went…

Alaska's Signature Fragrance

“Whether you getting read the house down. Or just ready to go down. The exciting new fragrance: RED For Filth… Are you Red-y for me?”

5 Drama Queens: in this episode the most marked aspect of linguistic strangeness was the exaggerated use of Spanish replacing English words and expressions.

Ella No Es Dama, or, She's No Lady

Spanish words – and expression perhaps – are actually very frequent in the American English as a result of the flow of immigrants from Latin America into the U.S.A.

Here, the queen had to enact a Mexican telenovela – the Latin America equivalent of soap opera.

That’s why most of RuPaul’s utterances in this episode evoked some Spanish or some aspect of the culture of Latin America (especially Mexico.)

“Shake the dice and steal the rice… and beans” RuPaul refers to rice and beans, which is a staple food largely associated with Latin America.
“I can see her cuchi cuchi.” Cuchi cuchi apparently is a slang term for the lower parts of a woman; the phrase “cuchi cuchi is a trademark of Charo – Spanish-American actress and comedienne who appeared frequently in American television shows.
“Serving Tex-Mex…” Tex-Mex is defined in the OED as an adjective that denote Mexican and Southern American features of something (especially food or music); it also refers to a variety of Mexican Spanish spoken in Texas.
Queens on the Runway: dressed with Latin Glamour
The most representative expression of this episode, however, was “Caballeros, start your engines. And may the best mujer… win.” Caballeros and mujer, naturally, being the Spanish for gentlemen and woman.
The countdown continues in the next post.

12 February 2013

XuPaul's Drag Race*

The queens connect with their inner child when they star in a fun-filled kids TV show.

After the Elimination
With all the hullabaloo caused by
Chacha’s criticism on the drag queen’s way of speaking (Untucked! past week) – the Drag Queen’s English, as I labelled it –, it’s when Coco explains the issue between her and Alyssa that the audience have a glimpse that Coco is perfectly able to speak a very clear Standard English, without the usual oddness from their drag moments.

“I want to know the t on what happened between you and Alyssa.” Mahogani asks Coco. T, as everyone must know by now, means ‘true’.

Coco explains: “They crowned her that night, and things happened, and… obligations weren’t fulfilled. And it put us in a situation where our friendship was on the line. (…) Legally I had to do that. (…) With all the controversy at Miss Gay America, this is a personal vendetta for myself.

“…And America’s next drag superstar needs to really embrace her inner child, if she’s gonna become one fierce mother-tucker.” Mother-tucker is used instead of the usual ‘mother-f*cker’; the allusion made here regards the act of tucking, or disguising the males privates for drag performance.


You need to turn these boy toys into cutey patooties.” RuPaul explains as the pit crew men enter carrying small dummies. Boy toy is an allusion to the pit crew since they basically pose as hot dummy men in RPDRace. Cutey pattoties, is a kind sound repetition, similar to echo –  something like Frisky McBrisky.

“Ready, set, drag the children.” RuPaul joins the meaning of drag ‘dress up in drag’, and drag ‘get the dummies by dragging.’

You know, we’re all considered kai kai. Now we have daughters with another queen.” Roxxxy says. ‘kai kai’ sex between two queens.

“… because it’s never too young to start upholding the Amurrican ideal of femininititity.” Jynx exaggerates the pronunciation of American and adds an odd syllable to the long word ‘femininity’ tuning it even longer; he highlights the formality of his speech by making it over the top.

“Now that’s a modern family…” RuPaul says, making allusion to the sitcom Modern Family which is about a gay couple and an adopted daughter.

“So your programme should be both entertaining and edumacational.” RuPaul says, using a word that he used in season 3, ‘edumacate’, used to mock the meaning of educate.

The Workroom
“Our challenge today is to put together a children’s television show, which is full of sneaky little dirty double-entendre.” There’s nothing odd here. Alaska’s explanation of the challenge is highlighted here, because it incidentally highlights a remarking feature of the Drag Queen's English.

“The word of the day is box.” Alaska says. Box is a word for ‘vagina’.

“You could be just Uncle Dick the cross-dresser.” Alaska says. Dick is vulgar slang for ‘penis’.

“…Of course. It’s just now coming to me.” RuPaul says when he hears about the word of the day BOX. Then, Detox replies, “A lot of things come in my box.” Obvious double-entendre with the other sense of the word come ‘ejaculate’.

The Show

“Look everybody. It’s Clucky the cock.” Cock is a vulgar term for ‘penis’.

So many things fit inside my box. This is a petite box. I don’t think it Michelle’s.” Box is used often along double-entendres.

“I’m ready to toss your salad, Anita.” Toss alludes do the vulgar sense of toss off ‘masturbate’.

“It’s real sunny up in here. But I’d really like a bit of shade.” Shade is an allusion to throwing shade.

“The word of the day is blow.” Blow is an allusion to blow job, which is vulgar slang for ‘fellatio’.

“She’s a sex pistol.” Ru makes a reference to English punk rock band Sex Pistols.
“She’s very Singapore Airlines.” Santino says to Bervely Hillz, alluding to the flight attendants - Singapore Girls - who became an icon of the airline.

“Hold me closer, tiny dancer.” Santino makes a reference to the words of Elton John’s song Tiny Dancer.

She is a hot mesh.” Ru says hot mesh, when we’d normally hear hot mess, referring to the fabric that Detox is wearing.

“Pink panther on the runway.” Ru makes a reference to the words of his song Glamazon, adding the word ‘pink’.

“It’s a mullet dress.” Guess judge Coco Austine says. Mullet dress is a dress that reminds a mullet hairdo: short and clean cut in the front, and long in the back.

“Oh, dangerous liaisons.” Ru makes a reference to the 1988 film Dangerous Liaisons because Jynx’s costume design reminds the style used in the film.

“Very bed, bath, and BeyoncĂ©.” Ru plays with the name of the retail store BedBath& Beyond.

“I didn’t know she was into bears.” Ru says during the presentation of Coco, who is holding a teddy bear. Ru evokes the meaning of bear as a ‘strong hairy top man’

“Life in plastic, it’s fantastic.” They make reference to the words of the song by Aqua.

A few more play on words and double-entendre can be noticed in the kids’ show. The name Anita Bum, reminds “I need a bum”. Anita use of the words cut and uncut with carrots is an allusion to male circumcision.

The Magic Bush, name of the 2o kid’s programme, plays with the vulgar meaning of the word bush ‘woman’s pubic hair’. Lola the exploda is a reference to animated character Dora the Explorer. And when Lineysha says, “Miss Lola favourite part is the cream,” she alludes to vulgar slang cream.

The queens of RPDRace didn’t put together a children’s show; they actually created show of language subversion, something like English Freak Show.

*XuPaul: a blend name which mixes RuPaul and XuXa - most successful and enterprising children's tv show host in Latin America.

6 February 2013

Something that you’ve seen before…

…like you’ve never seen before.

RuPaul’s Drag Race, in this 2nd episode of season 5, didn’t repeat a formula – like...

Snatch Game - s2e4;
Jocks in Frocks - s3e12,
n' RuPocalypse Now - s4e1.

This episode proposed a rather new challenge: the queens had to re-enact scenes from the spin-off Untucked!

…lip-synching to the    spoken word.
This episode seemed to be tailor-made to this very blog so that it would correspond to the concept of Linguistic Strangeness.

The essence of linguistic strangeness, as I understand, is the utterance of a word, phrase, or sentence that's been used and repeated time after time b'for but...

...in an altered (deviated) way that makes it somewhat all new and personal.

All t all shade is a perfect example. Uttered by Roxxxy in the Untucked! last week, it takes from the no t no shade that we’ve been familiarised with, and grown used to, during previous seasons of RPDRace. Now it’s all new, but reminding us of the meaning of the no t no shade that we’ve listened to before.

Besides standing for the concept of linguistic strangeness, this episode brought plenty evidence of strangeness in English. Let’s get to business.

Ro-Laska-Tox is in the house! -  “Ro-Laska-Tox is Roxxxy, Alaska, and Detox. Ro-Laska-Tox! It’s the new prescription drug for people who are gagging,” Detox explains the blend.

“My queens, for the first time in Drag Race history I’m not going to say for the first time in Drag Race history,” Ru says. This is a rather humorous structure, used to make an ironic statement; this pattern is often used. In American Dad (s5e18), Steve uses a rather similar odd structure based on the classic “yo mama” jokes:  “Mom, you are not smart. I don’t tell ‘yo mama’s so dumb’ jokes. I tell ‘my mama’s so dumb’ jokes. Example: my mama’s so dumb, I don’t tell ‘yo mama’s so dumb’ jokes. I tell ‘my mama’s so dumb’ jokes.”

“For today’s mini-challenge, you’ll need to pucker up and impress me… with the power of your pie-hole.” RuPaul says. Here, not much is structurally remarkable, except that the choice of words seems to favour the consonance of the sound ‘p’. This pattern of strangeness is often used in British papers’ headlines, like in:

Lewis laps up last races at McLaren (Metro, 1 Nov. 2012).
Arshavin’s prayers are answered in Royals rout (Metro, 1 Nov. 2012).

The repetition of sounds – like alliteration, rhyming, echo, and others – is actually a common pattern of strangeness in English. Not often noticed though.

“Now, using just your mouths, I want to see winning lip-synch performances – of my songs, Tranny Chaser Lady Boy, and Peanut Butter.” RuPaul utters the song titles with an unusual blowy voice, in a slack-jawed manner; the ‘b’ in Lady Boy even sounds like the word initial ‘b’ in Spanish.

“So, put on some lipstick and let’s go for the glory.” RuPaul makes an allusion to glory hole (look up dictionary or go downtown) because in the mini-challenge, the queens have to lip-synch with their mouths showing only through a hole in a wooden wall.

“Nice lip-jobs ladies,” RuPaul says. Lip-job is used instead of lip-synch, in an obvious innuendo.


Well, shut my mouth, it’s Santino Rice.” RuPual uses a soft American Southern accent when she introduces Santino (see strange voices).
“Juliette Lewis, you look go-go-go-gorgeous.” Ru mimics a stutter to introduce Ms Lewis.

“Now Juliette, is she wearing a cape fear?” Ru asks Lewis, alluding to the cape in Mahogany’s costume - a reference to Cape Fear, film which Ms Lewis starred.

“I’m serving rodeo drag fishness.” Alyssa Edward on her own look; realness is already used by the queens as a suffix meaning ‘in a real way’; now, in a similar fashion to realness, Alyssa adapts fishness as a suffix meaning ‘in a fish way’ ‘in a real feminine way’.

“Pants off dance off.” Ru references tv show Pants-Off Dance-Off, alluding to ChaCha’s underpants which are showing.

“Screw the rainbows, give me leather.” Michelle Visage refers to the rainbow and colourful costume that Jade had on last week.

“I like to have the fringe going down my boobicles and booty.” Roxxy. Uncommon word boobicles, is a blend of booby and testicles, meaning ‘saggy breasts’.
“Tita Turter…” Ru odd way of saying Tina Turner, changing ‘n’ to ‘t’ as she does with words like hunty 'hunny' n' entertaintment 'entertainment.' 

“Tina Tatase…” Ms Lewis says tatas in a distorted way. 

“Very third rock from the sun.” RuPaul says, referring to outer space look of Jinx Monsoon and alluding to the sitcom Third Rock From the Sun which had guest judge Kristen Johnston in the cast.

“Natural born thriller. RuPaul again makes a reference to a film starring Ms Lewis Natural Born Killer.

“You better ass somebody.” Santino, alluding to Coco Montrese exposed bottom, using the same odd remark he used with Dida Ritz’s in season 4 episode RuPocalypse Now.

“Snow white and the hunty man” Ru, on Detox's all black costume; a deviation of the film title Snow White n' the Huntsman.

“How many black cocks had to die for that outfit?” RuPaul uses the funny question ‘how many birds’ in reference to a costume covered in plumage.

...The choice of words black cocks turns the utterance into a double-entendre.

“One of you really lipsmacked the competition…” RuPaul’s use of lipsmacked is perhaps commonly used; although I’m inclined to think that he plays with gobsmacked which is tagged in the Concise OED as ‘informal’ for astonished. Gob is mouth from the Scottish Gaelic; so lipsmacked is analogue to gobsmacked.
“Your Delta Work was… halehrah.” Michelle Visage pronounces the word hilarious in a quite distorted way – probably to convey the meaning that a normal hilarious cannot express.

The oddest and most subliminal thing I’ve heard so far in RuPaul’s strange English was his collocation of the word tight with charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. “Ladies, I need your lip-syncs to be as tight and unforgettable as your charisma, uniqueness nerve and talent.” On hearing the word tight I immediately expected it to go with a double-entendre word. But I couldn’t see the end of it… 

...Until I realised that charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent, form a an acronym: c.u.n.t. OMG!

What else lies beneath the witty and strange English of RPDRaceI can’t wait to see how this turns out…