No subject

Michael Newman mnewman at QC.EDU
Mon May 6 12:25:12 UTC 2002

"On the d.l." is common New York (and other places too I'm sure).
hip-hop slang. It may or may not have started in prisons. It is not really
accurate to describe it as African American because it's kinda "post
racial" (an interesting term in and of itself) in the sense that hip
hop is. It's used by Latinos, Whites and Caribbeans 'who are down
with hip-hop' much as by African Americans, and I think it is pretty
much avoided by African Americans
others who avoid identifying with that peer culture. I only heard it a
few months ago for the first time, but I heard "On the down low" at
least 6 years ago. It is not surprising that the slang would have
moved on to the (pretty transparent) initials. I do a slang survey
every year in my ling 101, and some of my Orthodox Jewish students
mentioned "On the down low," an obvious indication that it has come
to the end of its
run. BTW, they're also saying "my bad." there are a number of hip-hop
dictionaries. This one derives "on the down low" from "low profile"

(look under 'd' not 'o')

Michael Newman
Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics
Dept. of Linguistics and Communication Disorders
Queens College/CUNY
Flushing, NY 11367

More information about the Ads-l mailing list