Created By: Mishaguji on May 3, 2011 Last Edited By: Mishaguji on May 4, 2011

Call a Rabbit a Rabbit

Characters in a work of fiction name something exactly what it's called in Real Life.

Name Space:
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Page Type:
Trope
Pretty sure we don't have this one...Or DO we?

Needs more examples.

A character's out in a big, bad, mysterious new world. Suddenly, a rabbit hops out, grabbing his attention. He expresses aloud his amazement at the creature, but pauses for a second when he realizes there isn't a word for it yet. What's he going to do? Well, he'll Call a Rabbit a Rabbit.

Subject often to Fridge Logic (if there are no words for anything, why can they talk?), this trope is prevalent when characters encounter mundane objects or creatures for the first time.

Compare to Call a Rabit a Smeerp and Call a Smeerp a Rabbit

Examples

Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • May 3, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Uh, this is just an Aversion of Call A Rabbit A Smeerp. I doubt it needs its own trope.
  • May 3, 2011
    Mishaguji
    Kind of distinct in that it places emphasis on the naming, not on the name itself.
  • May 3, 2011
    Elihu
    I don't know that there are any more examples of this. Any one else?
  • May 3, 2011
    Mishaguji
    I've seen it on plenty of occasions, honestly, just can't think of any right now.
  • May 3, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • There's The Bible. This is where we got the names of all the animals in the first place.
      Out of the ground God formed every animal of the field, and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field.
      • Parodied on The Simpsons, "Simpsons Bible Stories," where Eve (Marge) tries to name the animals but Adam (Homer) has already done so, all with names like "ground monster" (hedgehog) and "branch monster" (snake).
  • May 3, 2011
    Duncan
    Or this could be an assumed Translation Convention.
  • May 3, 2011
    Elihu
    @Mishaguiji

    This isn't defined very well. Is the point that they are naming something with the same word we use for it or that they are naming everything in a new world? The description and the snowclone imply the first but your ^^^^ comment implies the second. If it's the first, the Bible example doesn't work; if it's the second, it needs a different, more self-explanatory name.
  • May 3, 2011
    Mishaguji
    It's both, in a way.

    Supposing we see someone in a brand new world naming something. Often times the author will have this person name what they see. When they do, it's generally what we know the items as already.

    Say someone was the first to see an apple and decided, "Hey, let's call this an apple." Well, the viewer already knows it as an apple, but in the fictional setting this is the advent of that very name.

    But, perhaps, if it's that hard for everyone to grasp, then there's just no point to it.
  • May 3, 2011
    BuckRivera
    I find it hard to grasp. And I'm all Sophisticated As Hell and shit.
  • May 3, 2011
    EternalSeptember
    As the Earth All Along page notes, in classic examples of that trope, sometimes the planet's name is revealed when the space settlers Adam and Eve arbitarily decide to call it "Earth".
  • May 3, 2011
    jaytee
    I understand it fine. If you've read HGTTG, the sperm whale is an excellent example of this trope.

    My only question: Does this include both instances of fictional etymology (the audience is supposedly watching the actual origin of the name, as with the Adam and Eve/Bible examples) as well as humorous "re"-naming (as with the sperm whale: everything has a name already, but for whatever reason, the character is choosing names that coincide with them)?
  • May 3, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    The name is off. It makes it look like People Sit On Chairs.

    Now if I have this right, it is that someone invents a name for something, and it happens to be the actual word already used in that character's language?
  • May 3, 2011
    Micah
    • Something like this shows up in the backstory of The Kingkiller Chronicle, which takes place in a standard medieval European fantasy setting and gives fake etymologies based on that setting to a number of real words. For example, "vintage" is explained as coming from the name of the country Vintas.
  • May 3, 2011
    jaytee
    DQZ: what about Call A Smeerp A Smeerp? Same concept but avoid the problem you talk about (which is a very real problem).
  • May 3, 2011
    Mishaguji
    Call a Smeerp a Smeerp is a good potential idea.

    Regarding Jaytee's question, that's correct, it encompasses both.
  • May 3, 2011
    Evalana
    • In the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "The Cutie Mark Chronicles," Fluttershy flashes back to when she was a little filly, and encountered the ground and all its wonders for the very first time. Despite never leaving her cloud home before, she's instantly able to sing a song about all the things she sees, even though she shouldn't have any idea what anything is called.
  • May 3, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
  • May 4, 2011
    Mishaguji
    Verbose title, but I am open to suggestion.
  • May 4, 2011
    bluepenguin
    So this is like I Was Named My Name for an entire class of objects rather than an individual?
  • May 4, 2011
    Mishaguji
    If you want to oversimplify it, sure.
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