random BE slang in the HDAS

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIO.EDU
Mon Jul 26 17:27:31 UTC 2004

At 11:18 AM 7/26/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>At 1:17 AM -0400 7/26/04, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>It wasn't till I was in my 40's that I
>>understood that whatchanamit was writing exclusively for a white
>>Southern audience that would have immediately understood that, e.g.
>>"brer" (or however he transcribed it) is not meant to be pronounced
>>"brair." And I'm still left with the problem of what is represented by
>>the string, "sezee."
>"Says he"?  Just a guess.

And I suspect Harris was trying to approximate the Gullah quotative "say,"
as in "Bruh Fox answer, say ...." (common in West African creoles
too).  When I play the OSU Language Files tape of a Gullah woman telling
the Fox and Rabbit tales, I always have to tell my students that the
woman's "Bruh" [br@] is the same word they've read in Harris (or more
likely heard in the movie version) as "Brer," and they're amazed, all being
r-ful.  "Bruh" transmutes into "Bro" today, but better Gullah would be
"Bruh" or "Brudda."

BTW, the audiotapes accompanying LF are priceless, and I've had them for
years.  But when I was at OSU a couple of years ago and asked for a
replacement for one I had lost (on the Ten Top Languages of the
World--anyone have it?), Brian Joseph said they could no longer find
them!  What a loss.

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