Where's the beef?

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Jukka Aho
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:46 am
Location: Espoo, Finland

Where's the beef?

Post by Jukka Aho » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:19 am

Strangely enough, the slogan for the fast food chain Wendy’s 1984 ad campaign, “Where’s the beef?” — only ever seen and experienced in the US and Canada (there’s no Wendy’s in Finland and there never has been) — has firmly entrenched itself into Finnish usage:
It’s not a new thing, either, but just occurred to me when I saw the headline linked above.


znark

Where's the beef?

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Rob A.
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Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:51 am

Re: Where's the beef?

Post by Rob A. » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:51 pm

Jukka Aho wrote:Strangely enough, the slogan for the fast food chain Wendy’s 1984 ad campaign, “Where’s the beef?” — only ever seen and experienced in the US and Canada (there’s no Wendy’s in Finland and there never has been) — has firmly entrenched itself into Finnish usage:
It’s not a new thing, either, but just occurred to me when I saw the headline linked above.
Hi Jukka

Sounds like this might fit this theory, Integrative communication theory.

I think this is all part of a cross-culturalization process that has been going on since...well, I guess since Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens first crossed paths....

No matter how hard the reactionary nativists try to maintain separate cultural silos, human beings are constantly adapting new or different things from all the various cultural groupings they are exposed to. All though, "Where's the beef?" may have started out in North America it must have appealed somehow to Finns, probably the younger ones of that era and so it stuck. Presumably this is how Christianity spread, how automobile use spread, how different foods and words for these new foods spread.

For example, a linguistically interesting word is vesimeloni/arbussi.....I'm not sure which is the most common word in Finland now....almost certainly vesimeloni, which would have come in as a calque from a Germanic language. Arbussi would have come into the Karelian areas from Russia, Арбуз("Arbuz") and the Russians got the word from Turkish and they in turn probably somewhere else.

OK...enough already, I seem to remember talking about all of this a long time ago....


Rob A.
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Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:51 am

Re: Where's the beef?

Post by Rob A. » Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:09 am

Oh...and as to the "where's the beef?" lady.....I remember her well with her rasping voice and irritating manner. She was a Russian Jewish immigrant who died no long after making the commercials, at the age of 85...... I wonder if she had been trying to emigrate to the good ol' USA in 2017 instead of 1907, Trump would have been annoyed enough to have issued a ban....
Image
...she's the one on the right....

Image


AldenG
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:11 am

Re: Where's the beef?

Post by AldenG » Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:12 am

Maybe she should have stuck to fish.
As he persisted, I was obliged to tootle him gently at first and then, seeing no improvement, to trumpet him vigorously with my horn.


Rosamunda
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Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2004 12:07 am

Re: Where's the beef?

Post by Rosamunda » Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:32 pm

And there was a bar on Iso Rooperi called "We got beef" which closed down not so long ago.


Jukka Aho
Posts: 5238
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:46 am
Location: Espoo, Finland

Re: Where's the beef?

Post by Jukka Aho » Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:08 am

Rob A. wrote:"Where's the beef?" may have started out in North America it must have appealed somehow to Finns, probably the younger ones of that era and so it stuck. Presumably this is how Christianity spread, how automobile use spread, how different foods and words for these new foods spread.
Yes. Still a bit funny it would take root here, considering its origin.

This might be in part because there’s this older (now a bit old-fashioned?) Finnish pihvi idiom...

Asia on pihvi ja sillä sipuli.

...for which the direct translation would be “The matter is a pihvi (a steak or a beef patty) and onion on the top!” but for which the meaning is roughly “It’s a done deal”, or “It’s all clear and a done deal”, or “Consider it done” (with connotations of “the matter is understood / elementary / obvious” and “it’s what it is, there’s no turning back / no altering the deal / no making it something else now”)

pihvi = a steak or a ground meat — typically beef — patty (a Hamburg steak, if you will!)

The expression might come from sipulipihvi, steak with caramelized onion; an old (ca. 1950s) “standard dish” in Finnish restaurants you could confidently order even if you do not frequently go to restaurants.

The expression can also be split into these two (somewhat independent) idioms:

Asia on pihvi = “It’s all clear”, “I got you”, “It’s settled”, “It’s a deal”, “It’s about to be handled / is being handled as we speak / has been handled now”. This expression is still in active use.

(something-or-the-other) ...ja sillä sipuli! = “It’s (my/their) final (decision/opinion/view on the matter). Like it or not, it’s not going to change.” This is maybe a bit more aggressive/confrontational/argumentative when used alone than when used as part of that longer original idiom. (But you don’t hear it too much these days as it has this old-fashioned ring to it.)
Rob A. wrote:For example, a linguistically interesting word is vesimeloni/arbussi.....I'm not sure which is the most common word in Finland now....almost certainly vesimeloni
You would be correct with that assumption. ;)
Rob A. wrote:OK...enough already, I seem to remember talking about all of this a long time ago....
We’ve definitely discussed “where’s the beef” some years ago but it was more in connection with the English (American) idioms and how recognizable or opaque they possibly are for non-native speakers, rather than this Finnish (copycat?) usage... I think. I’ve known to be wrong at times, though.

(Good to hear from you, by the way!)
znark


blimp
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Re: Where's the beef?

Post by blimp » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:22 pm

Jukka Aho wrote:
Asia on pihvi ja sillä sipuli.

The expression might come from sipulipihvi, steak with caramelized onion; an old (ca. 1950s) “standard dish” in Finnish restaurants you could confidently order even if you do not frequently go to restaurants.
"Asia on pihvi" comes directly from Swedish military slang expression "Saken är biff", where biff comes from "bif." (meaning "bifallen") which is something that a Commanding Officer would write in a furlough application when it was approved.


Jukka Aho
Posts: 5238
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:46 am
Location: Espoo, Finland

Re: Where's the beef?

Post by Jukka Aho » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:51 pm

blimp wrote:
Jukka Aho wrote:Asia on pihvi ja sillä sipuli.

The expression might come from sipulipihvi, steak with caramelized onion; an old (ca. 1950s) “standard dish” in Finnish restaurants you could confidently order even if you do not frequently go to restaurants.
"Asia on pihvi" comes directly from Swedish military slang expression "Saken är biff", where biff comes from "bif." (meaning "bifallen") which is something that a Commanding Officer would write in a furlough application when it was approved.
I never thought there would have been a Swedish connection but your explanation makes it kind of obvious.

What do you make of the ”...ja sillä sipuli!” addition?
znark


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