Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sodding Sladky

B and I were talking about Korova Milk Bar today and I pulled up some stills from A Clockwork Orange (the Kubrick film).

Damn, I am loving that type.

Reading the words reminded me of how intrigued I was by the slang in the novel by Anthony Burgess. I dug around and found an introduction to the Nadsat Dictionary by Stanley Edgar Hyman. Here is an excerpt:

“Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the book it's language. Alex thinks and talks in the "nadsat" (teenage) vocabulary of the future. A doctor in the book explains it. "Odd bits of old rhyming slang," he says. "A bit of gypsy talk, too. But most of the roots are Slav. Propaganda. Subliminal penetration." Nadsat is not quite so hard to decipher as Cretan Linear B, and Alex translates it. I found that I could not read the book without compiling a glossary; I reprint it here, although it is entirely unauthorized, and some of it is guesswork.

At first the vocabulary seems incomprehensible: "you could peet it with vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom or one or two other veshches." Then the reader, even if he knows no Russian, discovers that some of the meaning is clear from context: "to tolchock some old veck in an alley and viddy him swim in his blood." Other words are intelligible after a second context: when Alex kicks a fallen enemy on the "gulliver" it might be any part of the body, but when a glass of beer is served with a gulliver, "gulliver" is head. (Life is easier, of course, for those who know the Russian word golova.)”


Anonymous This is so Punk said...

Leah, I am glad you put these pictures up. I am such a fan of Clockwork Orange and odd enough never have I really looked at stills of the movie as closely as I have today looking at this blog. I don't know what the code means but I enjoyed the pictures.

April 24, 2006  

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