diner

TV Tropes’s page on the Shrinking Violet character type gives the real-life example of the Norwegian playwright and theatre director Henrik Ibsen.

It is said that pr 1899, he and his colleague Bjørnson was invited by the king to a diner.

A diner? A small, informal, inexpensive American restaurant? I comfortably assume that’s a typo (see also the unexplained ‘pr’ earlier in the sentence), but it got me thinking about the word diner. Because of American popular culture, I’m familiar with the kind of eatery, but I haven’t encountered either the establishment or the word much in Australia. Either it’s a café or it’s a restaurant, but there used to be fish and chip shops and milk bars, many of which had quick-cooked food and booth-style seating. (Now, if anything, we have kebab shops, which are usually takeaway.)

In fact, searching Google images, one page is ‘The Ten Best American Diners in Sydney’, so the establishments and word exist here. Note that diners is (?has to be) qualified by American. Right next to it is ‘The Best Diners in America’. ‘The Best American Diners in America’ would be redundant. (Though I did go to a ‘Japanese garden’ in Japan (viz, a traditional one, not just any old (or new) one).)

Although TV Tropes explains the Shrinking Violet as “usually but not always female”, all but two of the real-life examples are male.

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2 thoughts on “diner

  1. It may be a typo but it could also be a maltranslation. After all, “he and his colleague Bjørnson was” should have been “…were”. So maybe “diner” was a typo for “dinner” or it was a bad translation of some sort of restaurant.

    Your mention of “Japanese garden” reminded me of the different senses of “garden” in England and America. It was a little unsettling, during the height of the pandemic, for me to see video of the centenarian British guy who would take steps in his “garden” every day when that “garden” was just a paved-over backyard with nothing growing in it whatsoever.

    Liked by 1 person

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