Interactive quiz: how well do you know the language of film?
Hollywood doesn’t pay much attention to lexicographers (Billy Wilder’s 1941 comedy Ball of Fire is the notable exception), but lexicographers are duty-bound to make a careful study of the world of film. The Oxford English Dictionary regularly studies screenplays as part of its research programme, and cites nearly 200 examples from film scripts. During the 20th century, the mass culture of film had a direct impact on the vocabulary of English by spreading localized usages, popularizing neologisms, and inspiring allusions. Film now competes with many other forms of mass media as a shaper of global English, but the shared experience of filmgoers remains a powerful cultural force.
Explore the colourful language of the movies and test your pop cultural knowledge with our new quiz.
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The Headless Horseman – By Sleepy Hollow Corporation (The Headless Horseman film) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Citizen Kane – By Newspaper photo (News Service) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Broadway Melody – By Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)/Loew’s (corporate author) (MovieGoods) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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