t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Sat Jul 31 07:11:57 UTC 1999
I'm glad to be in company with you and Eric Hamp on this one.
It's lucky my memory of our family's folk etymology for "jaywalk"
antedates, by some years, the first course I took in linguistics back in
1955. The professor was . . . Eric Peter Hamp.
By 1955, I no longer had much opportunity to discuss word derivations
with my parents, and Eric didn't happen to mention "his" etymology of
jaywalking back then.
I was not aware of your comments, or Eric's, in COMMENTS ON ETYMOLOGY
(1955) until you cited them in your message.
That's just to point out that you now have evidence for *three*
independent inventions of the J-curve etymology for jaywalking.
-- mike salovesh <salovesh at niu.edu> PEACE !!!
P.S.: Early in that Intro to Linguistics course, I was impressed by
Eric's citation of variations in Latin "centum" (the lines dividing
chentum) in support of his pronunciation of Celtic, beginning with /k/.
I would have taken him as a model for all things etymological if it
weren't for his way of saying "schedule". His initial sh directly
contradicted the initial /k/ he claimed as the only proper way to
I decided to stick to my own sprachgefuhl from then on. When anyone
objects, I irrelevantly refer to Chomsky's (later !) dictum about the
native speaker being the only dependable judge of the grammaticality of
I may get things wrong, but at least I don't feel uncomfortable about
========== Responding to the following message from Ron Butters
In a message dated 7/29/99 1:51:36 AM, t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU writes:
<< Family tradition stuck me with a different folk etymology for
starting out in a proper straight line, but then curving off in another
direction, as in the shape of the letter J. >>
See Two Notes: The Origin of JAYWALKING; The Pronunciation of Foreign
Loanwords in English. COMMENTS ON ETYMOLOGY, 1995 (A follow-up on an
note in the same place by Eric Hamp]:
"I'm with Eric [Hamp] about jaywalking: somewhere along the way I
the etymology in my mind in which the JAY- describes the actual path of
jaywalker--curving just before he or she hits the curb on the other side
the street, thus tracing the actual path of a "J"--as opposed to the
an "L" which one would follow when one crossed sharply at a corner. I
idea if this is historically right (nor can anyone else, I imagine), but
seems to me at least as plausible as the "bumpkin" solution--and it gets
credence from the fact that Eric and I have constructed it totally
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