Hoosier, asshole, etc.

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIOU.EDU
Tue Mar 25 18:14:33 UTC 2003

Hey, WE'RE the Athens of the Midwest!

Seriously, though, I also heard the 'Hoosier' = "who's your," "who's here,"
etc. when I lived in Bloomington in the '70s; these are pretty generally
spread, I think.

On the "lisped" pron. of 'asshole,' I wonder if this is an example of Herb
Stahlke's earlier notice of retroflexed /s/?  I've been meaning to get back
to that issue (see ADS-l, Feb. 4), because I've been collecting examples
ever since of what sounds very close to /S/ in lots of words, and not just
in the /str/ clusters familiar in Labov's Philadelphia study and my own
Cleveland students (I've noticed it in Cokie Roberts and Colin Powell
too).  An OU student radio announcer who sounds like a white Northerner or
North Midlander has it in 'storm', 'stream', 'university', 'snow',
'straight', 'district', and even "last year" [laeStjir].  (The /S/ is not
exact but approximate.  Herb, does this sound like what you're hearing?  I
have a grad student who wants to work on this--advice welcome!)

At 12:06 PM 3/25/2003 -0800, you wrote:
>As a person who attended Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana from 1961
>to 1965 I once invented a faux etymology or at least I think I did of the
>word "Hoosier"
>According to my faux etymology I suggested that it came from "I know your ma
>but who's your pa."
>It wouldn't surprise me in the least if someone else had invented this
>obvious play on words before I did but I have no knowledge that anyone did.
>This brings me to a couple phrases which were current during my time at
>The first is "Indianapolis is the asshole of the Earth and Crawfordsville is
>44 miles up it." which refers to the distance between Naptown as we called
>Indianapolis and Crawfordsville.
>The second refers to Crawfordsville's claim to be "The Athens of the
>Midwest"--I own a wine cup which has this inscribed on it..
>This is probably idiosyncratic but a college friend of mine who was from
>Baltimore once said that those who live in Crawfordsville tend to lisp and
>thus are not able to pronounce the word "asshole" correctly.
>Looking for answers to the origins of these phrases and words I am,
>Page Stephens
>----- Original Message -----
>From: <AAllan at AOL.COM>
>Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 7:47 AM
>Subject: Re: Earliest Citation for "Who's Your Daddy?"
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail
>header -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       AAllan at AOL.COM
> > Subject:      Re: Earliest Citation for "Who's Your Daddy?"
> > --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Don't forget one of the purported origins of the 19th-century "Hoosier".
> >
> > - Allan Metcalf

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