Posted by: brian | September 4, 2007

Who talks like that? [Clarification]

Am I the only person who thinks it’s ridiculous when a character in a book or movie or tv show says, “Blah de blah, [name]. Blah de blah.” Nobody talks like that in real life. Nobody says something, then says the name of the person they’re talking to, then says the thing again. I’ve never heard that in real life, reader. I’ve never heard that in real life.

Ben suggested I post an example to explicate what I mean here. The best example I have is from Futurama, where they’ve just watched an episode of All My Circuits. (I can’t remember the dialogue exactly, but I’ll paraphrase as accurately as I can.)

Amy (crying): Will Calculon’s evil twin ever come out of his coma?
Hermes: I don’t know, Amy. I just don’t know.

Hermes’s line is an example of what I’m talking about. Another might be, after a trip to the grocery, “I’ll bring in the milk, Jane. I’ll bring in the milk.”



  1. I think I’ve done it, Brain, and to you specifically. (If I understand what it is you’re talking about.)

    Can’t think of an instance for sure but I sense that it’s the sort of thing I would do if I feared I were relating something that might come across less as me communicating and more like me performing for whoever might be in earshot. So I use the name to emphasize that I know I’m talking to a real person, and I even know who it is.

  2. Just read your clarification, and I still think I do that from time to time. (And now, with you I’m going to do it ALL the time.) I’ll grant you that it can sound like an affectation.

  3. I can’t wait, Mary. I can’t wait.

  4. When Brain and I discussed this the other evening, all his examples came from cartoons or comedy shows. I believe it is probably being done on purpose to sound strange, for the humor of it.

  5. I maintain, though, that I’ve seen it in used in a serious way in books (regrettably, I can’t call to mind specific examples right now).

    Perhaps I should have titled this post “Who talks like that, Jennifer? Who talks like that?”

  6. I believe the construct would be considered repotia:
    1. The repetition of a phrase with slight differences in style, diction, tone, etc.
    2. A discourse celebrating a wedding feast. (From the Latin, literally, “second round of drinks.”)
    In my personal opinion, I believe you should qualify for 2 if someone commits 1. (Heh heh.)

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