Tortilla Soup/Aztec Soup (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Tue Dec 4 17:01:57 UTC 2007

Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society
> [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Barry A. Popik
> Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 7:33 PM
> Subject: Re: Tortilla Soup/Aztec Soup

> ...
> --------------------------------------------------------
> ...
> >Barry seemed to think (and I don't want to put words  in
> >his
> >mouth), however, that since no pre-Big Apple cite had ever
> >been  found, none would ever be found.  This seems odd,
> >coming from someone who has found so many important
> >antedatings, himself.  Barry knows as  well as anyone that
> >many potentially important texts aren't digitized,  that
> >existing databases have imperfect OCR and search engines, etc.
> ...
> I professionally disagree. The most important texts (every
> word of the NY Times for example) have been digitized
> already. "Big Onion" ain't there. Other slang researchers
> agree with me. I disagree with Bill, but I most strongly
> objected to his saying that it was a "big leap" in saying
> that a term that doesn't appear didn't exist. This is a
> professional disagreement.

Then I hope that we can cordially agree to disagree.  I don't think
the "Big Onion" story is finished.  Nor do I think the last word
has been written on "The Big Apple," nor Jazz/Jass/Jazbo, nor
"The Windy City", nor Murphy's Law, nor "full/whole nine yards,"
nor any of dozens of other interesting words and phrases (many of
which you have done seminal research on).

There is too much out there left to review to make unequivocal
statements about any of them.

You referred, in earlier emails, to the substantial coverage of
NY in digitized databases:  The NYT (more or less complete in
ProQuest Historical Newspapers), and the NY World, Tribune, and
Sun (in Chronicling America, coverage from 1900-1910), and the
Brooklyn Eagle (up to 1902). There is also, by my count, coverage
for seven more pre-WWII NYC newspapers in Newspaperarchive (with
varying levels of completeness), and some New York material in AHN
and EAN, and the Wall Street Journal in PHN.

But so many resources are still unavailable.  Where is the coverage of
NY show business scene? Variety? Playbill?  American Periodical Series
a bunch of magazines, but they've hardly scratched the surface.  There
college newspapers, bulletins, newsletters, tracts, handbills, tons of
from NYC that have never been searched in any meaningful way.
from the many ethnic communities that have lived in New York -- where
are the English-language databases of the Jewish/Yiddish community? The
of newspapers in Chronicling America list over TWO THOUSAND NYC
for the period through 1940.

There is much more to be searched, than has been searched.  And that
the case, I believe that it is certainly possible that "big onion" can
be antedated prior to the 1942 cite I previously provided, possibly to
that precede "Big Apple".  You believe otherwise.  Only time will tell.

> I respect Bill Mullins greatly.

Thanks, Barry.  Coming from you, I take that as a high compliment.

But some of your recent emails that addressed my comments were written
such a state of high dudgeon that I think a reasonable person could
think otherwise.  You've interpreted similar tones from Ron Butters as
insults.  I don't think you were trying to insult me, and I don't think
was trying to insult you.  But, sarcasm (from both you and Ron) lacks
and is easy to misinterpret.  Again, if you could just dial the rhetoric
back a notch
and simply report the data, I think some elements of the list would be
much less
likely to complain about your posts.


Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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