By Cory Doctorow at 3:59 pm Mon, Jan 7, 2013
ThinkGeek's Minecraft Light-Up Torch is funnier if you speak one of the Commonwealth English variants where "torch" is a synonym for "flashlight" -- but even in the rest of the world, it's still pretty awesome.
Minecraft Light-Up Torch
I still remember being astounded that Americans couldn’t handle using the word “torch” when I saw a copy of Rosie’s Walk that had been “translated”. If the rest of the world can learn to understand Americanisms, why is it so hard for American children to accept that words are used differently in different places?
Why would we care?
You mean places that aren’t America? NICE TRY PINKO
I don’t think the use of “torch” is confined to Commonwealth as much as just excluded from American English.
“Commonwealth English variants” is clearly Cory trolling all the British readers. After all, the Commonwealth is a British thing, and Cory, being Canadian and all, and living in London, knows perfectly well that English comes from England, and isn’t a commonwealth variant of itself, even though Britain, and with it England is a commonwealth country. Where we say torch.
You see, the word flashlight is a perfect example of an Americanism. They’ve brought the wrong tool for the job, and had to use two.
He’s only trolling the British readers who write in with complaints about perfectly cromulent phrases like ‘British English’, out of some misguided belief that any language, especially English, can be owned by any one people.
Some of us (not British) just think it more cromulent to call that use of “torch” International English rather than British or Commonwealth.
There was a big hoohaw a decade or so ago when Brazilian Portuguese was becoming the standard version of the language, even in Portugal. Furious former imperial powers are hiLARious.
Also, having lived in Canada (although having been born in and currently residing in America), “torch” isn’t Canadian (part of the Commonwealth) English at all. It’s a twee Englishism relegated to the Narnia novels and the like.
My wife is Canadian and she uses the term ‘flashlight’. But her parents are both Americanos.
And to the point of the post, we got this for my Mine-Crazy 10 year old for xmas. Loved it! The light isn’t super bright, it doesn’t flicker, and the construction is cheap chinese plastic crap, but hey, HE LURVES IT SO!
Best part is the integrated wall mount bit (tho the hinge is kinda flimsy – had to warn him not to snap it to and fro repeatedly). Putting it in the middle of his darkened room while he went to sleep was priceless (rechargeables, ahem). I was tempted to stand outside his door and make minecraft critter sounds.
He’s been bugging me to set up his own server…
I’m pretty sure I saw this on BB to begin with. =)
‘Flashlight’ will probably go out of usage in the next few decades due to the influx of Britishisms in the US as well as the association of the word with ‘fleshlight’.
also don’t brits refer to such a device as a ‘flash’?
no, that’s someone removing the clothing over their genitals or secondary sexual organs
You Brits are going to look pretty silly when you show up to storm the castle with your flash lights.
I thought about getting one, but it was just too pricey for this particular product. Though Mojang has lots of my money already.
“Torch” isn’t excluded from American English, it retains its British medieval meaning. So news articles describing the police searching with ‘torches’ in the USA would take on a whole new dimension. And in Britain, no-one would have warmed to the Marvel character “the Torch”, partially due to the obvious potential dissonance between the excitingly flaming drawings and the illuminative British meaning of the word.
Actually, I think we Brits got it more wrong than the USA. We should have used a new word, like “photonerator”.
Besides, “FlashLight” sounds much cooler. But was indeed open to the disgusting letter change resulting in the strange device that has lasted much longer in the marketplace than I ever imagined.
The item here seems to be a torch in the medieval sense. It casts diffuse omnidirectional light rather than a focused beam.
Yah, I know. I wanted to weave in “photonerator” and got slightly lost on the meandering path of my mind.
For the next Occupy protests in the City of London, these torches would be ideal. Safe, harmless, but emblematic.
What do the pitch forks look like?
Isn’t this more like what the Statue of Liberty holds, which is a torch?
“She holds a torch for him”
“They torched the place”
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