wazz and Waz mobile (Units)

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LV4-26

Senior Member
Hello there,

On BBC Voices, I've heard a yound student speak about the different ways of naming the toilets, (loos, bathroom). She also mentions "go for a wazz". Then she (jocularly) associates it with "Waz mobile" which seems to be a specific (and obviously famous) device for WiFi networks.

What kept me wondering is her pronunciation of the word "mobile" : she says it as if to rhyme with "eel" (ie mobeel) while it's supposed to rhyme with "isle".

Is that a pronounciation which is specific to this part of England (Tyne and Wear - NorthEast) ? Is it that "Waz mobile" is a trade mark wich has its own pronouciation ? Or is it that these are two different words spelt the same but with a different pronounciation. ?

I found the recording here

PS : Mods, feel free to amend this post if it appears that I used the name of a commercial product (not sure).

Thanks a lot
Jean-Michel
 
  • DaleC

    Senior Member
    No, all English speaking people pronounce the i in automobile the same as Romance languages speakers pronounce it. Likewise for machine.

    The pronunciation "mobe-isle" is just for the word mobile meaning cellular telephone. By the way, in America those are called "cell phones".
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Yes, I think what you must have heard was "mobile" as in car - Batman drives the "bat-mobile" (bat mobeel) for example. So she may have said something like "I'm going for a trip on the waz-mobile" or something like that to mean she's going to the toilet (this isn't a set phrase so I'm just guessing).
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    timpeac said:
    So she may have said something like "I'm going for a trip on the waz-mobile" or something like that to mean she's going to the toilet (this isn't a set phrase so I'm just guessing).
    I have heard of "whizz (wizz)-mobile" in the US, with the mobile pronounced with the "ee" as in Bat-mobile. It sounds like this is probably a similar expression as ""take a whizz/wizz" in AE can mean "take a leak," "go to the toilet."

    DaleC said:
    The pronunciation "mobe-isle" is just for the word mobile meaning cellular telephone. By the way, in America those are called "cell phones".
    Generally, yes I agree they are called cell phones, but I have also heard, and still hear, mobile (pronounced: mobe - 3l) with the "i" pronounced as a schwa.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    DaleC said:
    No, all English speaking people pronounce the i in automobile the same as Romance languages speakers pronounce it. Likewise for machine.

    The pronunciation "mobe-isle" is just for the word mobile meaning cellular telephone. By the way, in America those are called "cell phones".

    Thanks but I'm still confused. These are the steps I've been going through

    1. The transcript of the recording goes
    The most interesting one I've heard is you know how you say I like to go for a wazz, would be like, I'm paying a visit to the wazz mobile, which I quite enjoy but er...
    2. I thought "why mobile? There must be something called "wazz mobile", however it's spelt, which is part of her culture (and not mine), has nothing to do with the toilets and is pronounced /wazməˈbi:l/ ."

    3.
    So I asked google, trying various spellings and finally bumped into something called "Waz mobile Units" which uses the word "mobile".

    4. My COD confirmed that this word is always pronounced
    /ˈmʊəbaɪl/ and not /məˈbi:l/

    Tim said:
    So she may have said something like "I'm going for a trip on the waz-mobile" or something like that to mean she's going to the toilet (this isn't a set phrase so I'm just guessing).

    That, I would have perfectly understood, I think. But as you can see from above she actually says "I'm paying a visit".
    :confused:

    And come to think of it, it isn't very likely that she's heard of the above mentioned technical device.
    Well, I'm surely missing something...British humour..:)




     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Yes - I think that you are reading too deeply into it - I'd bet money she didn't mean this "waz mobile" thing, as you say. I also wonder if this was the first and last time she used this exact phrase.

    Is "I'm paying a visit to the wazz mobile" really so different from "I'm taking a trip on the wazz mobile"?
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Not that much, I reckon. :)
    I rarely say that I pay a visit to a car, or any kind of vehicle for that matter but.. well, it doesn't really matter. I was just being curious. Ça ne m'empêchera pas de dormir as we say here. :)
    Thanks folks.
     

    Aupick

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    My own opinion -- and I'm no expert, since I've never heard of 'waz' before -- is that the expression combines a number linguistic habits in an attempt to be creative (with the disadvantage that it's hard for people to follow). When Ruth mentions this expression, her audience laughs as if the expression is new to them too, but also as if they appreciate its originality.

    On the one hand there's this tendency to avoid talking about going to the toilet that leads to expressions as harmless and evasive as 'I'm just off to powder my nose', or as graphic and counterproductive as 'I'm just off to point Percy at the porcelain'.

    On the other hand there's a tendency to use language creatively, and especially to make references to popular culture. It's more interesting to say, 'Well that didn't rate very highly on my surprise-o-meter' than merely to say 'That doesn't surprise me'. Why surprise-o-meter? No reason, really, but it's reminiscent of those tacky TV game shows or funfair games that are part of our general culture.

    In this case the pronunciation of 'mobile' that you picked up on turns 'wazz mobile', which I would have spelled 'wazzmobile' if I'd been writing the transcipt, into a vehicle that reminds us above all of the 'batmobile' that Tim mentions in post #3, although with a reference too to the Popemobile that the late last pope used to be driven around in. X-mobile is a productive expression (ie you can make them up yourself) that generates humorous overstatement (presumably in comparison to the batmobile). I could describe my car as the Aupickmobile, for example, as if it were some unique superpowered sports car with extra gadgets.

    So I think the woman's expression is an attempt to say that she's going to the toilet in an interesting way. She combines 'pay a visit' from expressions like 'pay a visit to the little girls' room' with her own embellishment on waz to create something that's not quite logical, that doesn't quite fit together, but which has it's own charm. If the phrase were to catch on, and the kinks were to be worked out, it might become something like 'I'm just going to take a spin in the wazmobile'. I hope so, at least, for the sake of us linguisty types who like to analyse these things -- and come up with elaborate explanations based on not much at all. :rolleyes:
     

    JazzByChas

    Senior Member
    American English
    LOL!!!
    I must admit, Aupick, I haven't heard that one before...you'll have to put that in this forum: <click>

    And, very good explanation, as well...which is why you are eligible for the "Best Explainer" award, IMHO.:)


    Aupick said:
    'I'm just off to point Percy at the porcelain'
     
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