"to come", "cain't be hoped", and "dope wagon"

Alfred F. Rosa arosa at ZOO.UVM.EDU
Tue Apr 4 14:21:45 UTC 2000


Your mail caused me to remember a recent TODAY show program in which Katie
Couric thanked a singer and his group (I believe his name was Miner and
the group was somehow Air Force related) for being on the show and his
reply was, "Im so gracious and honored to be here."  I knew then that I
had to listen more closely than usual and, sure enough, in a rendering of
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL he belts out the mondegreen, "above the fruit and

Professor Alfred Rosa                  ||
Department of English                  ||
304 Old Mill                           ||
University of Vermont                  ||    "The limits of my language
Burlington, VT 05405-0114              ||     mean the limits of my
Telephone: 802-656-4139                ||     world."
Fax: 802-656-3055                      ||
e-mail: arosa at zoo.uvm.edu              ||           --Ludwig Wittgenstein
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http://www.uvm.edu/~arosa              ||

On Sat, 4 Apr 1998, Ronald Tucker wrote:

> I'm not a linguistics scholar (or any other kind for that matter). Just
> thought someone out there might be familiar with phrases that I heard as
> a kid in the Piedmont area of North Carolina (Stanly County to be more
> exact). I hope I didn't step in where I'm not wanted.
> My grandfather was from the western part of the county and he and his
> kin used some phrases that we didn't hear often in the eastern part of
> the county. One was the use of come to mean wanted or would like. For
> example "I could come a coke about now". This lead to no little bit of
> embarrasement when he, his girlfriend, and my dad and I took a trip to
> New Orleans in 1970 and ate at a little burger joint. He saw the milk
> shake machine behind the counter and told the waitress that he "could
> come a milk shake about now".
> Another usage that I heard often from the west Stanly folks was 'hoped'
> in certain instances instead of 'helped'. Actually I believe it was
> always in the phrase, "It cain't be hoped". Helped seemed to be used the
> rest of the time.
> Both of my paternal grandparents worked most of their lives in a cotton
> mill. The mill had a food cart that sold soda and snacks. It was often
> referred to by the mill workers and others associated with the mills as
> the 'dope wagon'.
> I just wanted to mention these phrases as I can't find many folks that
> remember them being used.
> Ron Tucker
> ront26 at suwanneevalley.net

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