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Regional (?) interpretations of words

Phyrebrat

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I know a year or so ago @Mouse and I mentioned here about how in the south sat is commonly used in place of sitting:

‘I was sat at the end of the table’ where you sit there as opposed to someone placing you there.

With that in mind, I wonder about this: Tack for tacky?

Often I hear people contract the word tacky (tasteless) into a noun: tack.

Written on the page however

and those fluted stone pillars; they weren’t ancient artefacts, just vacu-formed tack...
it looks like it might confuse. But I reeeeally think tack (as opposed to tat) epitomises the look and feel of these 80s-style mock Neo-Classical pillars that you see in hotel dining rooms etc.

In context, would you confuse ‘tack’ with pins, nails, sticky residue, or understand it?

Thanks

pH
 

The Big Peat

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That's a-ok by me and I completely agree with why you want to use the word, but thee and me have more or less the exact same regional vocab so that doesn't mean much. It's the first or second usage of the word I'd think of - preceded by or followed by the nautical term depending on mood. Pins and what not would take a while to occur to me.

However - if worried about people getting the context - maybe use the word tacky earlier on so they're thinking that way, and then maybe have someone talk about taste after using the word 'tack'.



Also I never realised it but you're totally right about "I was sat" rather than "I was sitting".
 

goldhawk

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I always thought tacky meant unpleasant stickiness. Cheesy and campy would be synonyms.
 

Jo Zebedee

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I heard someone talking about this the other day and how, over here, the word ‘scundered’ has a variety of meanings, often with only a few miles between them

I didn’t trip up on your line, Phyre
 

The Judge

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I've never heard anyone use "tack" to mean something tasteless. What I rather suspect has happened isn't the reduction of "tacky" by eliminating a letter, it's confusion by people mishearing and/or mispronouncing "tat" ie in the same way it's common to hear reference to "a change of tact" when it should be "tack" and "being on tenderhooks" when it should be "tenterhooks".

Regardless of how it arose, if I saw "tack" in a sentence where it was used as a synonym for "tat" I'd see it as a mistake, plain and simple. Too many of those and I stop reading. Ditto "I was sat" by the way. STOP IT! ;)
 

-K2-

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I know a year or so ago @Mouse and I mentioned here about how in the south sat is commonly used in place of sitting:
‘I was sat at the end of the table’ where you sit there as opposed to someone placing you there.
EDIT: In retrospect, take my comments below with a grain of salt. When 'I' hear 'the South' used as a regional description, I think of the Southern U.S.. How it is in U.K. where they don't speak English, I have no idea.

As to my response:
That is exactly opposite of my experience. If you were 'sat' at a table, it is by someone else placing you there. Granted, I'm just dumb mountain folk, however, I've never heard it used otherwise. "I sat at the end of the table," that's by your choice.

Tack I'm not familiar with used in that fashion. It makes me think of sailing, a metal fastener, or a person's diplomacy. Not as a shortened version of 'tacky.'


K2
 
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Venusian Broon

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Actually, @Phyrebrat it's on the Google dictionary, right at the end of the definitions - it states it's informal and that it has origins from the 1980s:

NOUN
informal

  1. cheap, shoddy, or tasteless material.
    "this pop will never trivialize itself and be described as cheap tack"
So it's fine.

And I would have got it immediately anyway. Tots understandable.

Tat, which you and TJ mention sort of wormed into my thoughts too...but it's of a much earlier pedigree, so if your characters are 80s children, like me, it feels probably a bit more 'in flavour'.
 

M. Robert Gibson

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My first thought was of horses, as in Horse tack - Wikipedia
but then I used to live in rural Yorkshire surrounded by the horsey set and so heard it used often, when I was sat in the pub.

* Ducks to avoid the ICBM from The Judge
 

Dave

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My first thought was of horses, as in Horse tack - Wikipedia
That was also my first thought, but rather sailing and fishing tack, which I would think comes even earlier from the "Block and Tackle" used in sailing ships. I think it is now applied to any kind of equipment. More recently isn't also applied to male genitalia? But let's not go there!

My wife, from the South, uses "Tat" a lot and I don't think it is related to "Tack." But a word I had never heard in the North was "Kitsch" from the German, but I'm not sure if it has been here for a long time, comes here by way of the USA, or from Jewish German refugees.
 

tinkerdan

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It works for me in the context:
I might caution against trying to help explain it by adding words like cheap because cheap shows up in the definition of tacky and you run the risk of becoming redundant with cheap tack.

Alastair Reynolds did this a number of times in his Revelation Space and it became annoying.
That might just be me. However using a word from the definition of a word as a modifier for that word creates a redundancy that is almost worse than any purple prose I've read.
 

Mouse

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I always thought people who said 'tack' instead of 'tat' were just being idiots, the way people say wrench when they mean retch. See also people who say crutch when they mean crotch.

Also, I'd think horses.
 

Abernovo

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'I was sat' is not just a southern, or even a South-West, usage. I spent my first decade in Scotland and the North of England* and, more than once, I was sat** in the kitchen, or more likely a barn, listening to someone say they were fair scunnert*** about something.

Tack would normally get me thinking of horse equipment, or thumb tacks/drawing pins. But, if I read it in context as speech, I'd probably understand it, and think it was someone who'd misheard 'tat' at some point. Written down, though, in a descriptive sentence, it might throw me a little. I'd probably get it, but...

*I was sentenced to spend the second decade of my life in East Anglia (shudder), but then escaped back to civilisation above the Antonine Wall, before going off again, and working in foreign shores;

**Sorry, Yer Honour, they made me say it;

***I suspect scunnered/scunnert is related to Jo's scundered.
 

Eric Lewis

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Within the context I think it's fine. If you wanted to be more certain maybe say "just cheap vacu-formed tack."
 

Parson

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Sigh in this part of the colonies "tack" for me without context means "hardtack" --- a kind of food which can be stored for a very long time and then be eaten, but you likely need a hammer and a chisel to break it apart.

@Phyrebrat .... I did not understand your sentence, but likely would have with a bit more context.
 

Phyrebrat

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Hi all,

Apolgies for the late reply. I usually post on Chrons from my phone whilst dashing around for various schools. It's a hassle to quote and even more, the autocorrect feature on iPhones is often mindbogglingly erroneous, so I wanted to be able to reply when I sat down. Plus there're far too many opportunities for ribbing to pass by ;)

but thee and me have more or less the exact same regional vocab so that doesn't mean much.
and

I did not understand your sentence, but likely would have with a bit more context.
When these kinds of threads have appeared over the years, I've always thought of how I was reared on a diet of North American authors from age 9 -17. In particular I learnt how some NAmericans say things like quarter of twelve, and I learnt what side of the hour that meant. I learnt about culturally specific things from Stephen King from The Red Sox to the difference between how we use moot. What helped me the most was not a dictionary - I doubt I ever even looked to check - but as Parson says, context.

Another example -I'm ashamed to admit, but I can justify - is that I watch a few of the U.S. Real Housewives franchise; it's great human nature research (my justification ;) ). I often end up shouting at the TV when these privileged horrors use the word "class", "classy" and "classless", and by doing so become the thing they behold/deride in others. We have a complicated relationship with the word 'class' in the UK and though the party line is we are a classless society which is absolute tosh, it's almost a dirty word when used as above. In fact, by using it, I'd venture that you're not what the 'well-bred elitists' call classy. I can't imagine a Brit using it in that context without irony.

the word ‘scundered’ has a variety of meanings, often with only a few miles between them
Come on man, what does it mean, then? You can't drop a word like that into a thread and not define it. :D

What I rather suspect has happened isn't the reduction of "tacky" by eliminating a letter, it's confusion by people mishearing and/or mispronouncing "tat"
I'd disagree because of others who have said they thought it was a conjugation (kinda) of tacky (or vice versa). Certainly my friends and family know the difference between tat and tack. What I've considered over the past few days since posting this is that it's to do with the evolution of the English language and our specific generation(s). So as a relatively recent word, those of us who are older might assume it's a dinlo ( ;) ) getting it wrong, mispronouncing 'tat', but for the younger ones, it has bcome common parlance. It's interesting because inter-culturally, I hear amazingly bizarre amendments of words and sentence structure by Afro-Caribbeans here in London. Whether that be the use of quite archaic English (by my first generation W.African friends), or the pronounciation. Jamaicans are happy to call me facety as opposed to feisty, and pronounce/spell it as such (when I'm just being my pleasant ol' self ;) ). When my OH talks I often don't concentrate properly because I'm so entranced by his sentence construction. One of his favourites is when given a choice he will reply, 'Rather, I would xyz,' for example.

Whenever I ask my sister who is over-educated in languages and Lit, she usually rolls her eyes and says, 'For God's sake, language evolves, meanings and usage change!' so I didn't ask her this time. She uses some ghastly Americanisms and whenever I bleat at her about it, she uses the above justification, though.

it's common to hear reference to "a change of tact" when it should be "tack" and "being on tenderhooks" when it should be "tenterhooks
Oh, I hear this all the time. I have to bite my tongue and not correct them. The hardest to convince is tenterhooks because often they won't see how the meaning can be made from the construction of tenter and hooks, so they assume it's tender. The same for albeit, which I often see written as orbeit, all be it; common or garden vs communal garden; and just today, rebuttal vs rebuddle (I suspect this latter is to do with homophone-like issues rather than an evolution of langue).

I'd see it as a mistake, plain and simple.
HA! :p

Ditto "I was sat" by the way. STOP IT!
Oh I don't do it. I would if I was writing in character voice, or perhaps even reporting a tale in which I wanted to underline my innocence at the start of whatever happened. But I think that latter comes from Victoria Wood and Julie Walters sketches

I think of the Southern U.S.. How it is in U.K. where they don't speak English, I have no idea.
or a person's diplomacy.
You question our English then confuse tact for tack? :p mwuahaha.

the way people say wrench when they mean retch. See also people who say crutch when they mean crotch.
LIES! I can't imagine anyone being that dense.

"just cheap vacu-formed tack."
It would do the job, yep, thanks. Thing is this is a hugely over-count novel in terms of words, so I am trying to be as brutal in the first draft re extra words.

Based on the majority of feedback, 'tack' stays in my wip.

Thanks Chrons!

pH
 
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Jo Zebedee

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If I said I’m scundered it would mean I’ve done something stupid and feel a bit wick - both mean embarrassed.

It can also mean fed up, or sick of something repetitive.

I think it’s an Ulster-Scots word :)
 
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