the irish apple and the english apple...

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Fri Jan 17 10:59:09 UTC 2003

In a message dated 1/16/2003 10:07:52 PM Eastern Standard Time,
DanCas1 at AOL.COM writes:

> 90% of the several million Irish and Scots-Gaelic speakers that came to
> north
> America were illiterate.
> This is the old debate fought by Murray, Furnivall et al. over spoken
> rather
> than written sources.
> With Irish, Native American, African, and other penalized tongue you must
> put
> your ear to the ground.

   The facts are that we certainly do have a written trail for Irish
immigrants to New York City, and it's there for anyone to examine.  I'll
admit that many Irish publications are not full-text searchable yet (as are
19th Century African-American publications), but some are full text
searchable and the results are not promising.
   The Library of Congress's AMERICAN MEMORY database, on second check, shows
about 25 copyrighted songs in the Irish language.  None have "apple"/"Big
Apple" in them.
   The AMERICAN PERIODICAL SERIES, although not finished, is enormously
useful.  It has the NATIONAL POLICE GAZETTE, a publication full of Irish
criminals and full of slang.  Publications such as Mike Walsh's THE
SUBTERRANEAN and THE IRISH SHIELD are also in the series.  There's not a
single clue that "apple"/"Big Apple" comes from the Irish language, and
there's not a single "Big Onion," either.
   I did record a few "Big Potato" citations, but fairly recently in the late
20th-Century, if I recall correctly.
   I could put "my ear to the ground" some more, but it will probably get
stuck to a piece of gum.

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