LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||12/FEV/2005 4:39 PM|
|Assunto:||Re: to tell off x to scold x to jump all over|
Would there be any differences among the verb (to scold) and the phrasal verbs (to jump all over and to tell off)? Myabe "to scold" would be used mainly for children?!
(1) to scold = Standard English. To criticise or correct. The speaker is not necessarily angry, but the speaker is unhappy with the listener's conduct. Scolding is often limited to one act, one thing that displeases the speaker. - When you criticize a child's behavior, you are scolding him. When a wife complains to her husband that he spent too much time with his friends and came home late for dinner, she is scolding him. An employee comes to work late and the boss reminds him that he is 15 minutes late and his absence is causing problems at work, the boss is scolding him.
(2) to jump all over = Slang. This a very animated, aggressive form of scolding. The speaker is very angry. - You would not jump all over a child unless he had done something extremely dangerous or destructive such as setting fire to your house, driving your car without permission, leaving his baby brother unattended while he went to the movies with friends, etc. If the wife in (1) was very upset, possibly she jumped all over the husband. (2) is an extreme form of (1). If the boss in (1) raises his voice, threatens to fire the employee, etc., he is probably jumping all over the employee.
(3) to tell off = Slang. This is also a form of scolding or criticizing but it is somehow different. The speaker is clearly angry but the anger may be very controlled. When you tell someone off, you are not scolding him just for something he has done; you are criticizing his personality, his attitude, his self-concept, past behavior, etc. You are telling him that his conduct in general is unacceptable and the image he has of himself (as talented, handsome, learned, etc.) is unfounded. If the wife in (1) and (2) gives her husband a full list of all his shortcomings with emphasis on his personality in general and attitude in particular, she would be telling him off. Let's say that the following conversation takes place between the boss in (1) and (2) and his always tardy employee: "You think you can come in here any time of the day or night because your daddy is the owner, but you can't. I'm your boss and what I say goes. I'm sick and tired of not being able to count on you. Do you want to work here or not? Can we count on you or not? You haven't done anything to show me that you're anything but a spoiled brat. You are not a hard worker, you do not cooperate with others, and the quality of your work is not high. Come in here late once more and we'll go to your daddy and see what he has to say about your conduct." The boss has just told off the employee, and maybe he has jumped all over him too. Do you notice that he is not just talking about one incidence of being late but rather a pattern of unacceptable behavior? I wish I could recall the details of a scene in "La Historia Oficial". A woman is making fun of a foreigner at a dinner party. A second woman defends the foreigner, but without raising her voice of giving any signs of her anger other than her words. The second woman states more or less that the rude woman has no breeding, has the manners of a pig, and is probably the stupidest female in Buenos Aires. The second woman told her off. In the examples above, (1) is quite different from (2) and (3). It isn't difficult to distinguish (1) from (2)-(3). (1) is seldom animated and seldom shows a high degree of anger. Examples (2) and (3) are related and overlap sometimes. It is not always easy to determine which expression to use. If the speaker controls his anger and the emphasis is on personality issues, "to tell someone off" would best describe the confrontation.
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