A children's punning/rhyming game

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIO.EDU
Sat Jul 24 17:52:28 UTC 2004

My mother (white, born in MN in 1906) chanted a similar rhyme to us when we
annoyed her with constant questions, but the second line was
different.  For the life of me, I can't recall what it was though, and none
of the alternatives offered ring a bell. It sounds like a turn of the (old)
century rhyme that has largely faded, maybe because the second line doesn't
make any sense.  But what's a front-off game?

At 10:30 PM 7/23/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>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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