tangent to fronter/backer

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Sat Jun 22 15:47:41 UTC 2002

In a message dated 06/22/2002 11:14:58 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
einstein at FROGNET.NET writes:

> I make the speaking-to-horses click on the right side, but I'm right handed:
>  do left-handers click on the left side?

Not handedness.  Race.

Yes, race.

The white man (and white women, too) mounts horses from the left side.  I am
told the reason is that from the left allows one to use one's "strong right
arm" to aid in mounting.  Hence a white would "make the speaking-to-horses
click on the right side" since s/he is to the left and the horse is to the

For some reason that no one has ever explained to me, Native Americans (or at
least the Plains Indians) always mounted a horse from the right.  And a
horse, I am told, once trained to being mounted from one side, will not let a
rider mount from the other side.

On Jeopardy once there were two white and one African-American contestants.
The question, answered by one of the whites, was about which side to mount a
horse from.  Alex Trebek accepted "what is from the left".  The correct
answer should have been "what is from the left if you're white, from the
right if you're a Native American, and you'll have to ask [the
African-American contestant] what he does."

By the way, my sister would like to know who Alex Trebek's dialect coach is.

     - Jim Landau

PS.  About identifying the "MLA" as a linguistics society---I recalled that
the ADS holds joint meetings with someone, and not having the newsletter
handy I couldn't look up who it was,  but the initials "MLA" came to mind.
This brings up a question: if there really were a "Modern Linguistics
Association", would it allow discussions of proto-Indo-European?

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