Thursday, November 09, 2006

Globalizing Commercial Hyperbole

Zenbei ga naita -- literally, "the entire United States wept." [The phrase] means nothing important.

One might be moved to wonder how the above expression could possibly take on such an unrelated meaning. After checking the blogs, your reporter came up with this explanation: When many U.S. films open in Japan, they are accompanied by posters claiming that American viewers were moved to tears. But the such films have little emotional impact on viewers here. So Japanese filmgoers have learned, apparently, to disregard such promotional claims as largely meaningless.
via Language Log

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