Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Fri Jan 28 18:59:36 UTC 2005

This, interesting in itself, also illustrates the thou/you split. Good
on you, Jon!


On Jan 28, 2005, at 9:33 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
> Subject:      Re: hooey
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> --------
> Thanks, Wilson.  [xui] it is, despite the oddly Chinese look.
> Never missing a chance to make history leap to life, I offer the
> following early ex. of "swearing like a trooper":
> "I then chanced to tread upon the Foot of a Female Quaker, to all
> outward Appearance,  but was surprised to hear her cry out D-------n
> you, you Son of a B----------- upon which I immediately rebuked her,
> when all of a sudden resuming her character, Verily, says she, I was
> to blame; but thou hast bruised me sorely. A few moments after this
> Adventure, I had like to been knocked down by a Shepherdess for having
> run my Elbow a little inadvertently into one of her sides. She swore
> like a Trooper and threatned [sic] me with a very masculine Voice.
>                                             ---------------"Lucifer,"
> "To Nestor Ironsides, Esq.," in The Guardian No. 454 (2: 262) (London,
> 1714).
> This was at a high-toned masquerade ball. It beats OED by 25 years.
> "Trooper" itself seems not to be findable before 1640.
> JL
> Wilson Gray <wilson.gray at RCN.COM> wrote:
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> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Wilson Gray
> Subject: Re: hooey
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> --------
> When I was a voice-intercept operator at Tempelhof AFB in the former
> West Berlin, we routinely used the word "dick" to mean "nothing," as in
> "I don't hear dick." By a coincidence that I still find amazing, the
> Russians whose voice communication we intercepted likewise used the
> phrase,heard to say, "Ya ne huya ne slyshu." Or, as we say in English,
> "I don't hear dick." Word for word, it's "I negation dick negation
> hear." (Multiple negation is obligatory in Russian and "huya" is the
> genitive singular of "huy," pronounced approx. "hooey.") The Russian
> military used "huy" relatively rarely and only in the one phrase
> respecting the clarity of a radio connection, which was also true of us
> American soldiers. The Russian soldiers much more commonly used "Yob
> tvoyu mat'," which ambiguously means "(I) fucked thy mother!" and "Fuck
> thy mother!" as an exclamation in situations in which Americans used
> "Motherfucker!" or "Son of a bitch!" In other words, as is so often the
> case, the military language differs from the civilian language. "Curse
> like a trooper/a sailor" has a factual basis.
> The transliteration of the Slavic sound [x] is pretty much a matter of
> taste. "Khooy" tends to give the untutored masses the impression that
> the Slavic word is pronounced [kui], when it sounds a lot more like
> "hooey," though not quite exactly like it. However, the transliteration
> of [x] as "h" does a better job of clarifying Jonathan's
> correspondent's point.
> I think I mentioned in an earlier post that what the Russians were
> using for communication was then called "using radio-relayed telephony"
> and is now known as "using a cell phone." So, it's not always assault
> rifles and such that trickle down from the military for civilian use.
> -Wilson Gray
> On Jan 27, 2005, at 10:35 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
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>> Sender: American Dialect Society
>> Poster: Jonathan Lighter
>> Subject: hooey
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>> -
>> --------
>> A few years ago a Polish colleague suggested to me that AmE "hooey"
>> comes directly from similar Polish, Russian; and Ukrainian words that
>> sound much like it (don't know how they're spelled). The suggested
>> Slavic etymon (if I may simplify just slightly) is the common vulgar
>> synonym for the penis, which is used widely in these languages as an
>> expletive, much like our beloved F-word. Probing more deeply, I yawned
>> and said "So what?" The answer was that in Russian and Ukrainian
>> especially this "khooy" is very often used as a one word reply
>> meaning, essentially, "That's a whole lotta shit and what's more screw
>> you!" Pithy.
>> Given the circa 1917 appearance of AmE "hooey" and that Slavic
>> immigrants had been arriving for some time previously, the suggestion
>> suddenly became plausible. To me.
>> The moral is, "Always demand 'So what?' and be sure to check out this
>> interesting suggestion."
>> JL
>> ---------------------------------
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