Joe Pickett Joe_Pickett at HMCO.COM
Mon Dec 11 22:13:05 UTC 2000

Few (well, really none) are the occasions when I have had the opportunity
to correct Dennis Preston,
but I'm pretty sure matutu is a singular noun. Matutu may be a plural word
in other African usage, though.

Joe Pickett

from the Lonely Planet Travel Guide on the web

Driving in Tanzania is a trade-off between speed and potholes. Traffic
density is
                                low outside main towns, so your main enemy
is the holey road surface. On the
                                mainland at least, car rental is still an
expensive option. By bus, don't expect much.
                                On the long-haul routes there's generally a
choice between luxury and ordinary, but
                                these are very relative terms. On short
hauls the choice is between ordinary buses
                                and dalla dalla - the Tanzanian equivalent
of a Kenyan matutu.

"Dennis R. Preston" <preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU>@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on 12/11/2000
04:38:19 PM

Please respond to American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>

Sent by:  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>

Subject:  Re: jitney

Matutu is surely a plural.


>I think the "people mover" car or truck has various names in various
>English speaking countries.
>I know in Kenya that call it a matutu. I'd heard that some people in the
>NYC area also call it this because so many drivers are from Africa. I have
>no confirmation of this, however.
>In Liberia they call it a moneybus (even though it's usually a pick-up
>There are probably many other names.
>Joe Pickett
>James Smith <jsmithjamessmith at YAHOO.COM>@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on 12/11/2000
>11:51:48 AM
>Please respond to American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Sent by:  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Subject:  Re: jitney
>The only use of "jitney" with which I am familiar is
>for cars, vans, and small trucks used in unregulated,
>free-market mass transport in places such as Africa,
>the Phillipines, and Mexico and Central America
>--- Drew Danielson <drew.danielson at CMU.EDU> wrote:
>> OK, first let me acknowledge that my grammar tanked
>> in my last message.
>> I hereby "grammar-flame" myself.
>> I did some reading on the word "jitney" yesterday.
>> From what I was able
>> to dig up on the Internet, it generally refers to
>> independently-owned or
>> private vans or small buses that usually follow a
>> fixed route.  But
>> sites that describe a "jitney" in Pittsburgh
>> consistently refer to
>> independently-owned, for-hire cars (with drivers).
>> In an informal
>> interview with a Pittsburgher at the gas station
>> where I bought some
>> cigarettes last night the gentleman stated,
>> "Pittsburgh's cornered the
>> market on jitneys."
>> I wasn't able to find this definition in connection
>> to other cities
>> (searching on google.com for "jitney" "[name of
>> city]").  The Victoria
>> Transport Policy Institute defines "jitney" thusly,
>> "[j]itney services
>> use vans or small buses to provide self-financing,
>> privately operated
>> transit service."  In this case, it's used as a
>> technical term for a
>> type of shuttle service.
>> Note:  In my searching, I found that there's a play
>> by August Wilson
>> about a Pittsburgh jitney driver currently playing
>> on Broadway (it's
>> called: "Jitney").
>James D. SMITH                 |If history teaches anything
>SLC, UT                        |it is that we will be sued
>jsmithjamessmith at yahoo.com     |whether we act quickly and decisively
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Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at pilot.msu.edu
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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