"Papa" - British English

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lamppost

New Member
Icelandic
Hi there,

I'm currently reading a book by English comedian Jon Richardson called It's Not Me, It's You!

The following text is confusing me:

"Could it be Gemma at the wheel of the car behind, or perhaps the one behind that, trying to catch up with me before she and Papa discover that both of them are on illicit dates, he with his mistress, and Gemma with me, her mystery man?"

Gemma is the narrator's love interest, and I'm wondering if there could be any other meaning of "Papa", than it being the narrator's father.
 
  • lamppost

    New Member
    Icelandic
    It could be Gemma's father too, couldn't it?
    Well, I have a kindle edition of the book, so I made a search and this is the only reference to Papa in the whole book, so basically I have no idea how to make sense of it. There is also no mention of her father, and very little mention of the narrator's father. I should point out that this sentence is part of what is supposed to be some sort of fantasy, so me might just be creating a completely nonsensical narrative.

    I just thought I'd ask if anyone had knowledge of the word being used in any other context than "dad".
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Almost anything is possible -- but everything is not equally likely. Based on the single line of text, it makes perfect sense to assume that the woman's father is meant (after all, consider how awkward it would be to run into your father while he was on a date with his mistress!!!), and I see no reason to look for another and less natural meaning for the sentence.

    It might help to know that "Papa" is associated with the upper classes. For example, when she was a girl, Queen Elizabeth called George VI "Papa", but it is highly unlikely that a working class girl would use the term when addressing her father; she would be much more likely to use "Dad".
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This may well be a humorous reference to a long-standing advertisement. It featured "Papa" and "Nicole" who were fictional French characters created to advertise the Renault Clio in the United Kingdom between 1991 and 1998.

    Surveys by Channel 4 and ITV revealed the series as the most popular car advertisements ever aired in Britain. In 1996, one survey found that Nicole was recognised by more Britons than Prime Minister John Major, Bob Hoskins or Chris Evans.[1] Renault was found to be the most persuasive advertiser in five European countries in 1994. Papa and Nicole - Wikipedia

    You can find the original adverts by searching on Youtube and similar websites.



    Note that the word was pronounced with emphasis on the second syllable and the first syllable has the neutral schwa vowel.

    So: pəˈpɑ or Pupaaah
     

    lamppost

    New Member
    Icelandic
    This may well be a humorous reference to a long-standing advertisement. It featured "Papa" and "Nicole" who were fictional French characters created to advertise the Renault Clio in the United Kingdom between 1991 and 1998.

    Surveys by Channel 4 and ITV revealed the series as the most popular car advertisements ever aired in Britain. In 1996, one survey found that Nicole was recognised by more Britons than Prime Minister John Major, Bob Hoskins or Chris Evans.[1] Renault was found to be the most persuasive advertiser in five European countries in 1994. Papa and Nicole - Wikipedia

    You can find the original adverts by searching on Youtube and similar websites.



    Note that the word was pronounced with emphasis on the second syllable and the first syllable has the neutral schwa vowel.

    So: pəˈpɑ or Pupaaah
    WOW! That's it! For me, that is an obscure reference I would never get on my own, so thank you so much! The car behind the narrator IS a "pinkish-red Renault Clio! :D

    It all makes sense now!
     

    Trochfa

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Hi Lamppost, welcome to the forum. :)

    When I read this I immediately had the same thoughts as Chasint. I totally agree that this is what the OP is meaning. In fact, I seemed to remember that there was one advert which really fitted the scenario.

    The advert starts with the narrator saying 'However good you look there's always room for a little improvement.' We are shown Nicole getting ready to go out, looking at her clothes in the mirror and then leaving in her Renault Clio to go and have a beauty treatment. She then has her hair done and then finally buys some new clothes. We are shown that the car has also had a 'little improvement' as she uses her key to activate the central locking.

    Eventually, she parks the Clio and walks past her father (Papa), who has just arrived in his car with a woman who is holding a lap dog. He calls across to his daughter as if he's surprised to see her there; 'Nicole?'

    We see her briefly kiss a young man outside a restaurant and she then turns and replies 'Papa?' (i.e. I'm surprised to see you here.)
    The advert ends with the narrator saying 'Now with even more refinement. The new generation Clio.'

    Papa and Nicole are both going on their separate dates and, obviously, neither of them know it until they accidentally meet up at the end of the advert. The tones with which they say 'Nicole?' and 'Papa?' are deliberately slightly ambiguous which have possible meanings ranging from 'Is that you?' to 'What are you doing here?' to 'Who's that you are you going on a date with?' and even 'I didn't know you were dating him/her?' (and probably several more which have never occurred to me. :))
     
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