Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 31 23:53:44 UTC 2007

Good catch re height, Benjamin. The "clothes-wearers" live along the
coast, more or less on the beach, in fact, whereas the shorter
traditionals live in the jungle.

A clothes-wearer chief was worrying about coming up with at least "200
pigs" as his tribe's share-gift for an upcoming
rally-party. Afterwards, a traditional remarked that he'd had a good
time "last night."

The traditional women and girls wear ankle-length grass skirts. A lot
of them also wear home-made bras cunningly woven from grass. Others
wear home-made bras made of cloth. Girls, even post-pubescent ones,
and old ladies go topless. Interestingly enough, WRT to the wearing of
bras, this closely matches the practice among the "tradiitional" black
Americans of my youth. The training bra was unknown. Post-pubescent
girls didn't start wearing bras till they had grown for-real,
mature-woman breasts and AARP-aged, elderly ladies didn't wear bras
except for "choich" and other dress-up occasions. It's a universal
black thang, I reckon. :-)

The reason for this attitude toward the wearing of bras was clearly
explained by Garrett Morris, speaking for all black men of his -- and
my - era, on an episode of the old SNL: "Ah lak a gal wif a big butt."
And, as contemporary songs like "Baby Got Back," "Back That Azz Up,"
and "Feelin' On Yo' Boody" show, this tradition is still being
maintained, though, nowadays, cleavage also can draw a brotha's


On Dec 30, 2007 11:48 PM, Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Melanenglish?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I think I saw it. It's on an island that has a cargo cult. It seems
> they have a lot of words from English, which probably arrived with
> their religion in WWII.
> I recall from Turnbull's _The Forest People_ that being tall can be a
> great disadvantage if you have to walk through the jungle. I think
> the Mbuti pygmies laughed at him for being so tall.
> Benjamin Barrett
> a cyberbreath for language life
> On Dec 30, 2007, at 8:40 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> > Subject:      Melanenglish?
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > ---------
> >
> > I'm watching the Travel Channel, which is featuring the life of
> > Melanesian-looking people - the guys are wearing only penile sheaths -
> > on an island named "Tanna." As they speak the usual random babble of
> > phones, pitches, and tones that you hear when you have no training in
> > linguistic fieldwork, I suddenly hear what appear to be English
> > strings like "two hundred" and "last night." And sho nuff, the
> > subtitles read, "two hundred [pigs]" and "[had a good time] last
> > night."
> >
> > The program features both traditional and modern (called
> > "clothes-wearers" by the traditionals) tribes. It's startling to see
> > that the moderns generally stand head-and-shoulders taller than the
> > traditionals.
> >
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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