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Tom Hiddleston is fond of saying “badass”, treatment but only in an American accent.
Here’s his impression of how American film producers and directors speak. (Starts at 34:30.)
“The Americans have this word which I think is untranslatable, sales which is BADASS…” –Tom Hiddleston
Coming from a linguistics background, pharm I am going to take a stab at why Tom keeps insisting on saying “badass” in an American accent.
First there’s Hiddleston’s argument from, “it just doesn’t sound right”. Perfectly valid. Native speakers of languages make these decisions all the time.
For instance, in the American Midwest and Appalachian dialects, “that needs done” is a completely cromulent construction, whereas in the dialects of the Eastern seaboard, you would always say, “that needs to be done.” (I’m from Philadelphia and I had never heard “that needs done”, not even once, until moving across the country.)
In France, a word already existed for the period of time at the end of a week after work days were over — “fin du semaine” — and yet the Americanism “le weekend” ended up becoming the more popular expression for the French to use to define Friday night through Sunday night. Why? Because their “fin du semaine” didn’t have the semantic attachment to “the free time in which I am likely to pursue fun and hobbies.”
I have more ideas about why Tom Hiddleston insists that “badass” can’t be said in a British accent, but I think I’ll flesh them out in future posts.