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Cellar Door

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#1
Sorry if this is in the wrong forum, but I figured the usual intellectual types in The Writers Block might have some decent input.

In the movie Donnie Darko, the english teacher claims that a famous linguist once said that the word combination "Cellar Door" was the most beautiful word combination of all the different word combinations possible in the english language. EDIT: her exact quote: "A famous linguist once said that of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words, that cellar door was the most beautiful."

I thought about this and tried to google it. I figured I must be missing some kind of symbolism, but couldn't find much on the topic in my 30 second search. So my ploy was to get you, the more intellectual members of WTF.com, to give your input.
 
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#2
I remember that. You got my curiousity going, and this is what I have come up with, after searching:
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Cellar door is a combination of words in the English language once characterized by J. R. R. Tolkien to have an especially beautiful sound. This observation has later, seemingly by mistake, been attributed to Edgar Allan Poe. Tolkien, in an essay commenting on his affection towards the Welsh language, wrote:

"Most English-speaking people...will admit that cellar door is 'beautiful', especially if dissociated from its sense (and from its spelling). More beautiful than, say, sky, and far more beautiful than beautiful. Well then, in Welsh for me cellar doors are extraordinarily frequent, and moving to the higher dimension, the words in which there is pleasure in the contemplation of the association of form and sense are abundant."

Some sources also refer to a survey, possibly conducted some 60 years ago, probing the word in the English language generally thought to be the most beautiful. Contributing to this survey, H. L. Mencken supposedly claimed that a Chinese student, who knew little or no English, especially liked the phrase cellar door — not for what it meant, but rather for how it sounded.

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Also, yes, this prolly is the wrong forum.
 
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#3
I found that wikipedia page .. but still... I mean, I guess it sounds "beautiful" and when written in cursive like she wrote it in the movie, looks "beautiful", but is there no other meaning?
 
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#4
teh anarchist said:
I found that wikipedia page .. but still... I mean, I guess it sounds "beautiful" and when written in cursive like she wrote it in the movie, looks "beautiful", but is there no other meaning?
Many people speculate different meanings. However, no actual evidence has ever been found to support it.

It's just one writer's opinion. At least, that is the only known reason.

EDIT: We did cover this in one of my courses for creative writing. The teacher stated: "when great writers state opinions, they are often seen to have more meaning, than they really do". Then again, you never know, and he was reffering to, his love of the Welsh Language.
 

BklynCannonball

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#5
The writers of the film seemed to have used the term less as an "english lesson" and more to help connect their chain of events. Depending on your spin, the "Cellar Door" comment is the same as the other teacher's brief discussion on time travel. It's to get the character, Donnie Darko, to a specific place at a certain time. The whole film can be interpreted as a dream, kinda like Jacob's ladder, where like a dream all these things have strange symbolism outside of their root origin.

Cellar door is his subconscious emerging to the forefront.

Forgive me if I had strayed off topic and missed your question. I wasn't sure if that's what you were asking.
 
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#6
BklynCannonball said:
The writers of the film seemed to have used the term less as an "english lesson" and more to help connect their chain of events. Depending on your spin, the "Cellar Door" comment is the same as the other teacher's brief discussion on time travel. It's to get the character, Donnie Darko, to a specific place at a certain time. The whole film can be interpreted as a dream, kinda like Jacob's ladder, where like a dream all these things have strange symbolism outside of their root origin.

Cellar door is his subconscious emerging to the forefront.

Forgive me if I had strayed off topic and missed your question. I wasn't sure if that's what you were asking.
Are you taking about the meaning in the movie, or the meaning J.J.R. Tolkien intended? I could see this being true from the movies stand point, but not from his.
 

BklynCannonball

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#7
Movie.

It tickles your curiosity, it just seemed like they were trying too hard to be intellectually obscure.

I personally don't know doo doo about Tolkien. Though after reading a blurb I found online it seems that not only is "Cellar Door" coined by him as a beautiful word, it's also what you call a word you think is beautiful.

Pretty neat.
 
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#8
BklynCannonball said:
Movie.

It tickles your curiosity, it just seemed like they were trying too hard to be intellectually obscure.

I personally don't know doo doo about Tolkien
Don't know too much about him myself, that's why I asked. Read the biography, and a few things in regards to this quote, but that's it.

Curiosity, ha, it'll be the death of me, sooner or later.

Well, at least we have been supplied with a theory on the movies point.
 
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#9
I was referring to the Tolkien's meaning, but your theory of the movie's meaning was definitely interesting.
 

BklynCannonball

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#10
Thanks.

So what's your "Cellar Door"?

For me, today it's "pine cone"
 

BklynCannonball

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#12
So I watched Donnie Darko again last night.

I think it's so odd that Frank was actually his sister's boyfriend.

What the hell!?!?!?!

Did anyone else catch that? I'm sure it was pretty obvious but I guess I was too busy reading into the other stuff.

Also the two teachers: The director really makes them into something superhuman...kinda like angels, or fates if you will. Where, with their guidance, not interference, they can lead you to something extraordinary. There were hardly any human qualities to them. Or maybe it's 'cause Drew Barrymore's acting sucked. I dunno.

There were a lot of bad line deliveries in that film.

The whole time travel thing was awesome.

There's more I want to say but I had too much coffee and I'm not sure any of this is making sense in the way I want it to in the first place.
 
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#13
eh .. made enough sense to me .. but I hadn't realized that Frank was his sister's bf :confused:
 

BklynCannonball

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#14
Yeah it's wild.

During the Halloween party, there's a scene with his sister going up to her friends and asking "Where's Frank?" and they go "I think he went on a beer run". Then on the fridge there's that note that says Frank was here went to get beer. That's when he's basically freaking out and gets the idea to get out of the house.

It's interesting.

In the beginning of the movie, Frank first appears to Donnie right before his sister gets home from a date (assuming with Frank).