man+(noun) combin ing form

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Tue Oct 4 11:04:59 UTC 2005

I remember such use from the Louisville area but hardly belive it was
very local. I also remember its being very common with a
definitivizer in such expressions as "Our colored man did it" or
"I'll call the colored man and ask him to do it." This specific use
would rather obviously have developed from such uses as "They had a
colored man (woman) to help them out." Forestress was the rule
(except, as always, when used emphatically/contrastively).


>>In a message dated 10/2/05 10:58:56 PM, JJJRLandau at AOL.COM writes:
>>>  My recollection is that in Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1950's and 1960's,
>>>  the term "colored man" did NOT mean "an African-American male" but rather
>>>  had
>>>  the more specific meaning "an African-American male employed in a white
>>>  household" or even more specifically "an African-American male employed in
>>>  a  white
>>>  household as a semi-skilled artisan, such as a handyman or  gardener."
>>>  Similarly "colored woman" had the specific meaning "an  African-American
>>>  cleaning
>>>  woman".   However (NAACP please note)  "colored people" did indeed mean
>>>  "African-Americans in general".
>>Couldn't a distinction made on the basis of stress? i.e.,
>>colored MAN = African-American servant
>Not sure about this; *my* intuition is different.  "I'll have my
>colored man do it", "Where's the colored man?", and so on would still
>seem to have the forestress.  (I hear this with non-rhotic
>pronunciation, no doubt from old movies:  "CULluhd man".)
>>COLORED man = African-American male
>>That would seem intuitively right to me.

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
15C Morrill Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
preston at

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