Teen Lingo site

Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Tue Feb 1 22:23:04 UTC 2005

On Feb 1, 2005, at 1:58 PM, Baker, John wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Teen Lingo site
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
>         The earliest I see on Westlaw is the Seattle-Times, 6/22/1986,
> where it's a reference to Bo Jackson.  But Westlaw poops out around
> that time, so the absence of earlier cites there is not significant.
> I've always heard this as referring to Frank Sinatra, and indeed there
> is a 9/16/1987 use in the Boston Globe to refer to Sinatra.
>         It's got to go back farther than this.  What surprised me was
> the vast range of people to whom it can refer.
> John Baker

> "It's got to go back farther than this."

You mean, WRT a citation in print? (BTW, congratulations on your use of
"farther" in this environment.) I first heard a very similar phrase in
1954 - the year that I graduated from high school and I have no reason
to think that the first person that I heard say it also coined it.

A couple of weeks back, I heard Jon Stewart use the phrase, "Get your
heels to clicking." ("Get to stepping" was an occasional variant.) Not
only was this the first time that I'd ever a white person use this, but
it was also the first time that I'd heard it said since the mid-'60's
in L.A. and the first time that I'd heard it used by a "square," in
this case, someone who wasn't a pimp. Rarely - any whore who'd been
broken in and turned out for a week or so would know better than to do
anything that would cause her pimp to have to take her to task - a pimp
might use this phrase to enjoin his whores to work harder, not smarter,
when he was, e.g. gambling away "his" money faster than his whores
could bring it in.

The phrase's meaning and use were so restricted back in the day that
I'm stunned and amazed that any non-senior citizen at all living in the
21st century could possibly have even heard it, let alone find a reason
to use it.

-Wilson Gray

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Of Laurence Horn
> Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 9:14 AM
> Subject: Re: Teen Lingo site
> At 12:11 AM -0500 2/1/05, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>  Another first: on a sitcom, I heard a white character
>> say: "It's your world. I'm just living in it."
> This has been big on ESPN's SportsCenter for a while.  A highlight
> of, say, a basketball player X making a great move is shown and the
> anchor says "It's X's world; we're just living in it."  At least
> since the late 90's.  Maybe first with Michael Jordan?  Can you help
> narrow it down, Alice?
> larry

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