Author: voice_cd

Questions to ask English experts from Chinese learners (Round 26) [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2014-11-8 18:51:02 |Display all floors
Q4: Frank Underwood, the protagonist of the TV show House of Cards, in an episode was asked by an old friend at a get-together who else could call him Francis. He said that only his wife, Claire, could. What're the different implications between calling him Frank and Francis? How do names or nicknames indicate people’s closeness?

This question demonstrates the difficulties of learning English on a forum where people of all countries contribute. "The House of Cards" is a book in a trilogy by English author Michael Dobbs. The books are set in England, at the English Houses of Parliament and the main protagonist (PM of Great Britain) is Francis Urquhart and his wife Claire.
I see from this post/question that, as usual, the Americans have uplifted the idea and made it it into their own tv series - as they so often do.
I take, from your question, that you are interested in diminiatutive forms of names, shortened forms of names, and friendly forms of names.
Like: we have Ted for Edward, Chas for Charles, Bob or Rob for Robert, Frank for Francis, Joey for Joseph, Al for Alan, Lizzie for Elizabeth and so it goes on!
Shortened forms of names do not necessarily indicate closeness. Many people simply prefer a shortened form of their name. A Samuel may prefer Sam. Indeed in these times you can be assurred that whatever name a person gives you on acquaintance will be the name they prefer. So, for instance, if someone gives you a business card that reads Jonathon Reed, he may introduce himself as "Jono" and thereafter that is the name you will use with confidence.

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