Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ouch! That smurfs!

Peyo, Schleich, 1980

What is with 80s animated icons using nouns as verbs or other parts of speech? Think of all the smurfy things happening in the cartoon. Or think of Strawberry Shortcake and her "berry" good friends. :)

from Wikipedia,
A characteristic of the Smurf language is the frequent use of the word "smurf" and its derivatives in a variety of meanings. The Smurfs replace enough nouns and verbs in everyday speech with smurf as to make their conversations barely understandable: "We're going smurfing on the River Smurf today." When used as a verb, the word "Smurf" typically means "to make", "to be", or "to do". The word appears to serve the same function as the Spanish verb "hacer" or the French verb "faire". It was implied a number of times that Smurfs nonetheless all understood each other due to subtle variations in intonation; one human character attempting the language asking for a "glass of smurf", implicitly "water", is misunderstood by every Smurf who each assumes another item.

So that the viewer of the animated series is able to understand the Smurfs, only some words (or a portion of the word) are replaced with the word "smurf". Context offers a reliable understanding of this speech pattern, but common vocabulary includes remarking that something is "just smurfy" or "smurftastic".

Peyo first created a version of the Smurfs in 1958 for a comic strip, but we are more familiar with the animated TV series of the 80s.

I have a few of these little figurines. I remember them on display in our local drugstore. If you are curious, you can still pick these up at places like this. Or just go there and explore the smurfs of old! Apparently in other countries, collecting smurfs has not yet fallen out of fashion. They are out there, people! :)

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