A Mythunderstanding of Slang

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by gendanken, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Oh, suffer.

    No, Moose. Its a sentence I'm using to show how your brain is working despite you.
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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    She herself directly probably posed no threat; but what she represented to him quite likely was something he perceived as a threat. (e.g. "The poor are going to suffocate the rich, they are going to drag them down into the gutter!")

    Not at all.

    And if someone didn't have a "liberal education", it was definitely me.
    I'd say my education has been extremely elitist. But the crux is that 1. my inquiries into why this elite is supposed to be worshipped and considered worthy were never answered and were met with disdain ("And if you can't see how wonderful this is, you're just a redneck and there is no hope for you"), 2. I myself was never actually part of the elite, but an outsider.

    In roundabout so, yes.

    That is not an adequate interpretation of my stance.
    People certainly have respect for quality, I have it too.
    But another matter is to actually establish the ontological status of this quality and notions of quality.

    I suppose "culture" has bypassed me ...

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    I was quite confused when I first heard Mariah Carey, she sounds quite like a big black woman.
    McWhorter does have a certain element in his voice that suggests he is black.
    Just click on this one, without looking at the video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fx-FP4owVkk&feature=related - is she black or white?

    I didn't grow up in the US, so I don't have this same cultural bias.
    Most of the Ebonics I have heard was from films about slaves or other struggling black people, and they were all hard-working, underpaid, mistreated by the whites.
    At first thought, I don't actually associate it with rap or hip-hop.
    Mind you, not that I consider myself any kind of expert on the matter. Just that my sources of information seem to be quite different than yours.
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Thanks for the source. Wikipedia has a slightly different take on it, but Wikipedia is written by folks like you and me.
    The flap is common. Indeed in the majority of the world's major languages R is pronounced that way. The gargled R of the Germanic languages is rather unusual. It also occurs in northern French because of the Frankish substrate under their Latin, and for reasons I have never seen explained something rather similar has evolved in the Portuguese of Rio de Janeiro. Our R is a modified version of the German/Scandinavian R, farther forward in the mouth, rather similar to the R vowel (not the R consonant) of Mandarin, and I have no idea how it came to be pronounced that way.

    But that flap in Spanish and (southern) French is their R, not their D and T. In American English we pronounce our intervocalic D and T that way, not R.
    In almost all American dialects and accents the intervocalic consonant in both liter and leader is reduced to a flap, so both words have identical pronunciations. Same for betting/bedding and metal/medal. There are only a few regional dialects in England where this happens; elsewhere the D and T are pronounced in their normal ways and there is no merging into homonyms.

    I didn't add writer/rider to that list. Even though we flap those consonants, in some regional accents (including the Chicago accent I haven't lost in 60 years) a long I before a voiced consonant (ride, wives, bible) has a cardinal A as the first half of the diphthong: AI; whereas before a voiceless consonant (right, wife, pipe) the first half is ʌ, the U in "up." So even though the consonant in writer and rider is the same in my Midwestern accent, the vowel is different so the words are not homonyms.

    I've never seen that difference between the two I's explained, but the diphthong ʌi is common in Dutch. Perhaps it's a legacy from the early Dutch colonists.
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  7. ScaryMonster I’m the whispered word. Valued Senior Member

    Fanny means something quite different in Australia then the United States understanding of it, anyone know how that happened?
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The origin of slang is often impossible to figure out. I can't find any etymology for the American word "fanny." Apparently in British slang it's a different body part; is it the same Down Under? I have no etymology for that one either.
  9. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

    In Britain in means vagina, in America it means ass.
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    This list almost qualifies as a cant: words they can use among themselves that are not likely to be understood by outsiders. But you're right, it's too slangy to qualify as jargon.

    Some of these are also used in the USA. "Con" and "front" have the same meanings here, and are in general use, not specific to police work.

    "Brew" means beer to us, often elongated to "brewski" since unlike you Brits we hate fast and succinct speech.

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    "Cooking the books" is fraudulent accounting to avoid paying taxes or, in a nearly opposite sense, to "launder" income from illegal business so one can pay taxes and not risk prosecution for tax evasion, one of the easiest ways the government tracks down criminals. "Cush" would be understood here but it's usually an adjective, as in "a cushy job," one that requires little actual work. "Data stream" is I.T. jargon for a sequence of signals; "Datastreaming" is also the name of a type of broadband network connection in the U.K.
  11. ScaryMonster I’m the whispered word. Valued Senior Member

    Yep but how did it become reversed? what's the entomology?
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    In the U.S., "ass" is common slang for a woman when regarded as a sex object. To "get a piece of ass" is to succeed in finding a woman willing (or drunk enough) to have sex with you. Apparently something similar, but in reverse, happened with "fanny."
  13. Arachnakid Linguist-In-Training Registered Senior Member

    Oh, that's one I haven't heard in a while!

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    Yes, it does mean the same thing as "ass" in the US, but a much milder version of it (like saying "poop" instead of "shit".)
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    "Ass" has lost its cachet of vulgarity. It's quite acceptable in family TV shows.
  15. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    So I guess if you say " Get Me some Fanny " All the peoples of the world will know quite clearly what that means ? Take a Load of Fanny and put the load right on Me . No I think that was a girl name Fanny?
  16. Hesperado Don't immanentize the eschaton Registered Senior Member

    I recall reading somewhere that the black penchant for saying "I be" "you be" "he be", etc., is actually a retention of a form of old English via the largely Scots who began to populate the Deep South in the 17th century and whose English the black slaves heard the most -- and that the black "be" echoes, by a translation across many generations, the kind of English preserved in the famous children's rhyme:

    Jack be nimble,
    Jack be quick,
    Jack jumped over the candlestick.

    (Indeed, that rhyme could form the nucleus of a rap song

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    Perhaps many people assume the "be" in that rhyme is the imperative; but I don't think so: the past tense of "jumped" would contra-indicate that.
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    It's "Take a load off, Fanny, and put the load right on me," from the song "The Weight" by The Band. It's their story of going to the Martin Guitar Company in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. ("I pulled into Nazareth, one evening 'bout half past ten...") They've said that all the people named in the song were real, including Crazy Chester, Miss Anna Lee, and Fanny. Of course Robbie Robertson says the song goes even deeper and was inspired by the theme of the impossibility of sainthood in Luís Buñuel's movies. "I just came here to buy a guitar and the next thing I know I'm in this crazy predicament."

    Fanny is not a common female nickname now, but it used to be. Fanny Brice was a beloved actress in the first half of the last century. She was the funny girl in "Funny Girl," played by Barbra Streisand.
    The leveling of all verb inflections (not just "to be") in AAVE (African-American Vernacular English) has also been attributed to the grammatical structure of Wolof and other West African languages. (Wolof is also one of the more likely sources of the word "okay.")
    You've transcribed it wrong. It's "Jack jump over the candlestick." The entire verse is in the imperative mode. Jumping candlesticks was a popular game in 19th century England and was also used for telling fortunes. If someone jumped over the candle without extinguishing the flame, it was said to be a sign of good luck. So chanting "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick" was an encouragement to jump strong and high so the flame wouldn't go out.
  18. Hesperado Don't immanentize the eschaton Registered Senior Member

    Thanks. My bad, as the kids used to say.

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