East is back (was: /or/ distinctions: TOUR)

Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Mon Apr 17 17:48:24 UTC 2000

--On Mon, Apr 17, 2000 9:52 AM -0600 David Bowie <db.list at PMPKN.NET> wrote:

> From:    "Steve K." <stevek at SHORE.NET>

> : I could be alone in my little solitary isogloss, however. I think
> : my use of 'out east' is modeled on 'out west' and I never really
> : heard people refer to the east all that much, so I probably made
> : up my own phrase.
> Well, to this Easterner, it's consistently "out West" and "back East". To
> many of my students here in Utah, though, most of whom are from Utah,
> southern Idaho, and Southern California, "out East" is a fairly common
> naturally occurring form.
> I had a professor at the University of Maryland who was from California,
> and she used "out East", even in Maryland. She said that she tended to
> think that the usage was a result of the US West finally becoming an
> established (rather than a frontier) place for people to live, so that
> the West to Westerners was a "here" rather than a perennial "there", no
> matter where you happened to be at the time.
> David Bowie                                       Department of English
> Assistant Professor                            Brigham Young University
> db.list at pmpkn.net              http://humanities.byu.edu/faculty/bowied
>    The opinions stated here are not necessarily those of my employer

Wow!  I've never heard a Westerner say "out east."  When I said a Westerner
would find it bizarre, I didn't mean I'd never heard it.  I did hear from a
native Wisconsinite that it was common where he grew up, but I've never
heard a Westerner use it.  Your students' use of it would seem to indicate
it's catching on with the younger generation, but that probably can't
explain away its use by your California-born professor in Maryland.

Now after all of my "never" assertions, I'll probably hear about three
native Oregonians say "out east" within the next three days or so. :)

Peter Mc.

                               Peter A. McGraw
                   Linfield College   *   McMinnville, OR
                            pmcgraw at linfield.edu

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