Main The Scottish Trope Discussion

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02:58:16 PM Jan 18th 2015
edited by DaibhidC
I pulled this note from the Discworld example about not saying "eight":

That depends very much on what dialect of British English you're talking about. Sir Terry seems to think they're homophones, since he has the jocular warning senior wizards give students "Or you'll be ate alive", and when Nanny Ogg learns about the beasts of the forest visiting Granny in Wyrd Sisters, she says "No-one et anyone else?", suggesting that the author considers this pronunciation deserves phonetic spelling to distinguish it.

(I'd also question the statement that there's no Discworld version of the US; there are certainly Discworld versions of specific parts of the US [most obviously Genua = New Orleans], and it's not like there's a coherent patch of the Disc that you can call its version of the UK either.)
05:21:21 AM Feb 1st 2012
Should Real Life examples be in the Trivia tab? It doesn't say...
03:18:38 PM Mar 21st 2010
I don't really like this trope's description (Though I'm okay with the name. It sure as hell isn't the most inexplicable one on this wiki, and you're allowed to be as mysterious as you want provided you explain yourself adequately.) It's written to be an elaborate joke that conforms to the trope, but in doing so it fails to actually describe what the trope is. I understand that it's very funny to theater professionals, but the purpose of a description is to DESCRIBE, not to entertain those who don't need to have the trope explained to them. In fact, the description does exactly the opposite of what it's supposed to do: It's supposed to help those ignorant of Macbeth and related superstitions understand the joke, but the description can only be understood by those who already know what's being described! You can have all the self-referential fun you want in the examples.

An infinitely better description would be something along these lines: "The Scottish Trope is any situation where you cannot say a thing's name for superstitious reasons. The Trope Namer is Shakespeare's Macbeth. Supposedly, saying the word "Macbeth" in conjunction with the production of said play will cause bad luck and ruin the production (immunity is apparently provided when you're rehearsing, since the word "Macbeth" appears in the play itself.) Therefore, instead of "Macbeth" you say "The Scottish Play." Another example is He Who Must Not Be Named, the villian of Harry Potter. He HAS a name (Voldemort,) you're just not allowed to use it because of superstitious beliefs held by the characters. Does NOT cover situations when there's a good reason why you can't say someone's name. Anyone who says the name "Candle Jack" is instantly abducted by Candle Jack himself, meaning there's a perfectly good reason not to say his name."

Notice how it actually EXPLAINS THE TROPE.
03:54:30 PM Mar 21st 2010
Maybe it's a case of YMMV, because I got it fairly quickly. It even explains the reason behind the trope name in the third paragraph.

Also, your description is a bit off. The Scottish Trope describes a name that curses whoever intones it once spoken, not just for superstitious reasons. This is why He Who Must Not Be Named / Voldemort isn't an example of this trope until the last book when they get around to putting a tracker into the name so they could find anyone who says it.
05:53:41 PM Mar 27th 2010
edited by vexle
One: I'd like to make it perfectly clear that I'm not suggesting that the bit I wrote up there become the new description verbatim. I spent less than sixty seconds writing it and I barely proofread it. it's only meant to illustrate my point. For instance, when I wrote the bit about Candle Jack I thought it was a trope; the page is actually just there to describe the character and I shouldn't have used it like I did.

Two: if you got it "fairly quickly," that's sort of the point. The purpose of the passage is to inform (and, since this is T Vtropes, to inform in a fun and/or entertaining way.) It's not a logic puzzle. You shouldn't have to perform additional research for the passage to make sense. It should just be there, right in front of you. Again, let's look at Candle Jack: there's three paragraphs of referential jokes, and then: "For those of you who came here actually looking for information, not in-jokes..." and then a description of the character. They get their exclusive humor without sacrificing the integrity of the page.

three: It's certainly possible that I'm mistaken about the trope's details but A) with the description in its current state confusion is pretty much the norm and B) I'm sort of assuming that if The Scottish Play (MACBETH. IT'S MACBETH. HAPPY?) is the namesake for The Scottish Trope, and if saying Macbeth does not actually curse you but is attached to a mental stigma, then it stands to reason that The Scottish Trope describes situations where there is no concrete reason to not say (insert word here) but a baseless superstition keeps you silent.

Unfortunately, it seems everyone else is having the same confusion we are. There are examples using both interpretations on the page. Personally, I don't feel that the difference is significant enough to have two tropes, and if we just decided to have The Scottish Trope refer to both interpretations you would not hear me complain. Either way, I do feel that the trope needs a new, more useful definition.
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