East Texas blacks shake hands with Oxford University

Jonathon Green slang at ABECEDARY.NET
Sat Jul 24 13:29:43 UTC 2004

On Sat, 24 Jul 2004 06:09:17 -0700, Jonathan Lighter
<wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
> Subject:      Re: East Texas blacks shake hands with Oxford University
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Supposedly "plunk/plonk" originated in World War I.  British and
> American soldiers both tended to pronounce "vin blanc" as something like
> "van blunc."
> Wilson, yours is the first US example of "plunk" I have seen, though
> syn. "pluck" has been reported once or twice.
> JL

I'm not sure about 'plunk' at Oxford. Not in my time - 1966-9. Plonk, no
doubt and I remember a cheap wine, c. 1980, which labelled itself
'Plonque'. I just wonder whether what Wilson heard as 'plunk' was perhaps
an upper/upper-middle class UK pronuinciation of plonk. Think of Prince
Charles attempting to get his strangulated syllables around it. As for the
WW1 Tommies, didn't 'vin blanc' come out more as 'vin(g) blong' (and thus,
no doubt, plonk). Hence, from the WW1 memoirs of  Frank. Richards _Old
Soldiers Never Die_ (1964) 83: 'Ving blong was very cheap [...] a man
could get a decent pint and a half bottle for a franc.' Red wine was
'vongrooge'. Australian troops also called white wine 'plinkety-plonk.'

Jonathon Gree

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