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In the movie Love, Actually there is this quote:

"Beautiful Aurelia, I've come here with a view of asking you to marriage me."

However, I've learned that 'marriage' can be used as a noun, not a verb.

Similarly, there are other quotes which are said by the same person, such as

"of course I prediction you say no... ".

I also have learned that 'prediction' can be used as noun, not verb. I am confused with this.

80

In this scene in the film, Jamie is speaking broken Portuguese. The English subtitles are deliberately also broken to indicate this fact. "Marriage" is always a noun, never a verb. The implication is that Jamie has made a similar error in his Portuguese speech.

Furthermore, "with a view of" is a rather awkward way of saying it. "I've come here to ask you to marry me" is much more idiomatic. Again, the implication is that Jamie's Portuguese is also awkward.

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    Apparently this is very funny in Portuguese. I once sat next to a student from Brazil at our college's movie night, and he laughed so loudly! – Sydney Nov 4 at 9:29
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    The Portuguese sentence is: "Bonita Aurélia, eu vir* aqui para te pedir... para casar comigo." (Verb in the infinitive instead of present tense.) – ANeves Nov 4 at 18:02
  • I'm curious too what he mis-translated to "with a view..." – BruceWayne Nov 4 at 20:11
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    perhaps "with a view of" is similar to the English idiom "looking to" i.e. "Beautiful Aurelia, I've come here looking to ask you to marry me"? It's still an oddly roundabout sentence given that he's speaking to her directly (it'd make more sense if he were speaking to a third party, like so: "I've come here looking to ask Aurelia to marry me". Still indrect, but more sensible. – Doktor J Nov 5 at 19:37
  • @DoktorJ or the idiom 'a view to' (macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/… ); a translation of 'with a view to ask you to marry me', broken into the wrong parts so the 'to ask' part would give the infinitive. If the character was speaking English, I suspect he would use the same roundabout way of saying it, as he's not very confident in relationships and an intellectual author. – Pete Kirkham Nov 7 at 13:09
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No, it cannot.

The use of it in this film is deliberately incorrect. The words are not spoken in English in the original English language version of the film - they are spoken in Portuguese, and the English subtitles are meant to convey the idea that the character is speaking Portuguese badly. I imagine that the comedy effect of this could be lost if the film were to be dubbed in another language, or if the entire film was subtitled in a different language and those watching did not notice that the character was speaking a different language in this section.

A similar use of "bad English subtitles" for comedy effect was used in the movie 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', also by Richard Curtis (the writer of 'Love, Actually') in which a character learns British Sign Language to communicate with a deaf person. Instead of spelling "nice", they spell the word "mice", which appears in a subtitle.

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    Although if they using sign language to spell the words out, signing an M instead of an N is a difference in the position of just 1 finger. – Hellion Nov 4 at 16:57
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    no, not at all. British Sign Language has proper signs for both "mouse" (plural indicator needed for mice) and "nice" which are quite different. – dlatikay Nov 4 at 20:09
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    @dlatikay Maybe so, but if you were new to sign language (as the character clearly is), you might not be aware of those specific signs, and you'd have to spell them out instead. Badly in this case. – Darrel Hoffman Nov 4 at 21:24
  • I think the subtitles in the sign language case are best interpreted as not being meant literally. I imagined that the character used a sign that looked kind of like the sign for "nice", but meant something totally different. That could be conveyed in English by using a word that sounds similar to "nice" but means something different. If the actor actually used the sign for "mice", then that sounds like the person translating those lines from Curtis' script into sign missed an opportunity. – Mark Foskey Nov 5 at 2:29
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    @DarrelHoffman is correct. If you watch the signing scenes in Four Weddings you will see that the character making the mistakes doesn't know many proper signs and uses letter-by-letter signing frequently (including for "mice"). IIRC she gets better later on. – Especially Lime Nov 5 at 10:00
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Marry is the verb. Marriage is the noun. Using one for the other is like saying "can you postage a letter?" instead of "can you post a letter" ... "Please replacement my book" instead of "please replace my book".

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Not generally no. it does seem that this is the real quote (you didn't mishear) But it was probably done for a specific purpose. Maybe it was part of a joke or the character is supposed to be stammering a bit, I don't really remember much of that movie.

So while the meaning is perfectly clear it is technically incorrect.

0

As with many things in English, the answer is "No, No, Yes, No."

No: As per the rules of English, No, Marriage is not a verb, and shouldn't be used that way.

No: As per the traditions of English, there is a 'proper' way to ask that particular question, and in this case, it would be "Aurelia, will you marry me?" if you want to sound more loving or "Aurelia [Aurelia's last name], will do me the honor of becoming my wife?" if you want to sound more pretentious. Marriage proposals in English are generally questions and not statements.

Yes: As English is evolved language, not a managed language, technically there is only one true prerequisite for whether or not you can do something in English, and that's "Will English speakers understand you?" Although worded very oddly, it is clear enough to be understood, and therefore it can, in fact, be used that way. It will, however, cause lots of unintended connotations, however. Depending on tone of voice, it could come across as idiotic, false archaic, or simply unknowledgeable.

No: As far as intent of statement and desired outcome, due to connotations, it will likely fail, even if technical meaning is conveyed.

(Note: In the context mentioned in the original post, it was meant to demonstrate the difficulty in speaking the language.)

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    This answer does not address the real reason the subtitles are what they are. It is also factually incorrect on several points; e.g. marriage proposals are not always phrased as questions. A simple "Marry me!" is quite common. -1. – TypeIA Nov 4 at 17:44
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    @TypeIA No, "Marry me!" is generally interpreted as jovial and not-serious, thus changing the meaning. It's not generally considered a legitimate marriage proposal. "Marry me!" is more generally used when someone does something impressive, or by fans towards the object of their adoration when there is no expectation of acceptance. – liljoshu Nov 4 at 17:47
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    @liljoshu your personal experience may be that this is not used, but that's not sufficient to claim that it's not used by anyone else. Nobody said it's the norm, just that it's not unheard of. You made a blanket declaration that it's always a question, never a statement, but that's not something you can know based solely on your personal experience. – barbecue Nov 4 at 19:00
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    I've struggled in other answers with the objections you're getting here: I take "the 'proper' way" to indicate a cultural landmark, not a scientific law of nature that has no exceptions and that no one can vary. I think this is the only plausible way to understand language: as cultural landmarks that people are always free to vary or disregard. But the fact is, a lot of people interpret descriptions of cultural landmarks as "rules". Somehow a good answer must guide readers away from that interpretation. I look forward to learning from how you do it. :) – Ben Kovitz Nov 4 at 20:17
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    I've only ever heard one marriage proposal, and I wouldn't have dreamed of using her surname. I think your statement that "there is a 'proper' way" is still much too dogmatic. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Nov 5 at 10:21

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