April 7th, 2006

So, I’m reading some stuff about Firefly, and I come across this lexicon of terms used in the story…

shiny – Slang. “Good”, “great”, “neat”, “wonderful”, etc.
(from here)

At this point I’d like to remind everyone that I was using “shiny” in that manner way before Firefly even existed. See second post ever, the post after that, my birthday post four years ago, in reference to some newly-acquired (at that time) Sailormoon merchandise, and finally, extolling the virtues of Greymatter again.

What can I say? Shiny *_*

I actually really have trouble remembering when and why I started using that word as a synonym for “cool,” “neat,” “fantabulous,” etc. It’s not really the same as “quite,” which I know I randomly started using. I’m sure that “shiny” has its roots somewhere; I mean, I used it to refer to tangible things, primarily. Perhaps it’s just that there was some shiny object which was interesting, whose properties became associated with everything cool and interesting.

Does anyone know why the Firefly characters use “shiny”?

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2 Responses to “Shiny *_*”

Neale Says:

I had always assumed, what with my cultural ignorance, that ‘shiny’ was a borrow-word from Mandarin- either a too-literal translation or a homonym used as slang. However, that is literally an uneducated guess about it, so if that’s not the case, then maybe they just picked it as an adjective that might conceiveably become evaluative slang. It’s been my observation that the characters use ‘shiny’ in the same way that people currently use ‘cool’, a word that didn’t mean anything evaluative until a hundred years ago. So maybe it’s just a comment on evolving languages…

The more I think about it, though, the more the English language should sound totally bizarre in Firefly… I mean, I know there has to be suspension of disbelief, but they’re to us as we are to the Elizabethans. On a totally different but still shiny track, this kind of reminds of how, over on Buffy, the character of Dawn was actually a shiny ball of energy. Hmmm!

Neale Says:

Well, I have a lot of time to spare right now, so I’m just going to keep right on talking. In Anthropology 100 I remember being introduced to the concept of the ‘idiolect’, which is your own personal vocabulary and set of sayings and word usages. It appears that in this case your idiolect anticipated Firefly!

Also, I’ve started using the word ‘dire’ in the same way you use ‘shiny’, because I became really tired of people thinking that when I said ‘sweet’ it was some kind of reference to Napoleon Dynamite. I haven’t seen that movie! I have not seen it! It’s an artificial attempt to change my idiolect, but still, it’s yielded good results. The best was the exclamation “Dire perogies!” in reference to some perogies I was eating.

I’m going to go away now.