Wikipedia on Jazz

Mon Jan 22 15:11:23 UTC 2007

        Thanks for the kind words.  The real credit, of course, should
go to Gerald Cohen, who prepared the long working paper on which this
article was based, and to the researchers who found the key sources in
the word's development.  Particularly important are the pioneering work
of Peter Tamony and the more recent discoveries of George Thompson, who
found the first use of "jazz," of Barry Popik, who found an early
article spelling "jazz" as "jaz-m," and of Fred Shapiro, who found the
earliest attestation of "jazz" in the music sense.  Jon Lighter's great
work in HDAS was very helpful too.  I did not always agree with Gerry's
conclusions, but if I've gone too far out on a limb, the theory of
Wikipedia is that this will be corrected in the editing process as the
article is brought around to a neutral point of view.

        What really struck me as I prepared the piece was the
overwhelming evidence that "jazz" derives from obsolete slang "jasm."
Barry's article spelling "jazz" as "jaz-m" really seems to me to be the
smoking gun here.  I wonder if Jon has any "jasm" cites beyond the ones
that are included in HDAS.  Also, while the California history of "jazz"
in the sense of pep or exuberant enthusiasm has been pretty well fleshed
out, there is still more work needed on the earliest applications of
"jazz" to the musical and sexual senses.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Jesse Sheidlower
Sent: Sunday, January 21, 2007 11:00 PM
Subject: Re: Wikipedia on Jazz

On Sun, Jan 21, 2007 at 10:27:32PM -0500, Sam Clements wrote:
> Definitely not "down" to Wikipedia standards.  :)
> Incredible job.

Yes, John, superb effort there.

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list