A children's punning/rhyming game

Janis Vizier Nihart tarheel at MOBILETEL.COM
Sat Jul 24 03:02:14 UTC 2004

I grew up in the 50's and 60's and definitely remember hearing and using the
rhyme in South Louisiana.  What does Puttin and Tane mean?
Janis Nihart
----- Original Message -----
From: "Wilson Gray" <hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET>
Sent: Friday, July 23, 2004 9:30 PM
Subject: A children's punning/rhyming game

> ---------------------- Information from the mail
header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET>
> Subject:      A children's punning/rhyming game
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On my very first day in the first grade 1942 in Saint Louis, I was
> victimized by the following word game:
> Q. What's your name?
> A. Putting and ta'en!
>       Ask me again
>      And I'll tell you the same.
> This struck me as so hip that I couldn't wait to get home and tell my
> mother about. Unfortunately, she, born in Longview, TX, in 1914, was
> not impressed, since kids were already running this game on one another
> when she was a child.
> This little front-off game is so popular and well-known among black
> children that it was re-written as a rhythm-&-blues dance song for
> adults that was famous for fifteen minutes on black-oriented AM radio
> back in the 'Sixties.
> So far, I haven't met any white people to whom this is familiar.
> Ordinarily, I'd conclude that this game is only a black thing. However,
> over the years, I've found it in nursery-rhyme collections directed
> toward a white audience. In fact, had I not, I wouldn't know how to
> write it out the first line of the answer, since what I've always heard
> sounds something like this:
> Q. Whutcho name?/whussho name?
> A. Putnin tane!
>       Ass/ax me agin,
>      I teh yuh dih same.
> Anyway, are any of y'all white folk out yonder familiar with this?
> -Wilson Gray

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