same old

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jun 19 05:14:07 UTC 2001

At 1:05 PM -0400 6/19/01, Dennis R. Preston wrote:
>Not so fast Jesse. Mine is not mock-pidgin and would sound exactly
>(to a nonsoutherner) like what is represented here. It is defintely a
>result of the processes of consonant cluster reduction (/old/-->/ol/)
>and /l/-vocalization (/ol/-->/o:/).
>dInIs (who didn't never make no fun of no pidgins)

No, but your version is consistent with Jesse's, if we assume that
the original (Korean War era?) "same-o same-o" was reanalyzed on
re-entry Stateside into "same-old same-old" which would then have
been subject to the phonological shifts you mention to turn back into
"same o(l') same o(l')" for speakers in the relevant isogloss(es).
I'm not saying that's what happened, but it's possible.


>>The assumption that "old" was progressively reduced to "oh" in this
>>phrase is probably wrong. The original phrase (at least according
>>to the evidence I've seen) was "same-oh same-oh", in a real or mock
>>pidgin English among the U.S. military in East Asia; the "same ol(d),
>>same ol(d)" version seems to be a later folk-etymologized form.
>>Jesse Sheidlower
>Dennis R. Preston
>Department of Linguistics and Languages
>Michigan State University
>East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
>preston at
>Office: (517)353-0740
>Fax: (517)432-2736

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