A children's punning/rhyming game

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Sun Jul 25 00:42:53 UTC 2004

On Jul 24, 2004, at 6:28 PM, Margaret Lee wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Margaret Lee <mlee303 at YAHOO.COM>
> Subject:      Re: A children's punning/rhyming game
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> In Lynchburg, VA, -- 50's-60's-I learned the first line as "What's MY
> name?" Doesn't it fit better with  the third line--Ask ME again?

I know this rhyme or whatever it ought to be called as a kind of verbal
practical joke. Someone asks someone else, "What's your name?" The
person asked, instead of answering "John" or whatever, replies with the
remaining three lines. However, I do see that, even if the person asked
replied by echoing the question: "What's my name?", thereby making the
response four lines long instead of three, the game would still play
out as intended.

-Wilson Gray

> Wilson Gray <hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET> 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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