Waterless words . . .

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Sun Nov 4 19:43:21 UTC 2007

As everybody no doubt knows, the American Southeast (especially Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama) is being afflicted with a horrific drouth. Real and serious concerns about the future quality of life are continually raised--even if rainfall should resume. During my attenuated shower this morning, I got to thinking about the comparatively sudden changes wrought on the vocabulary of the region. The terms themselves, of course, are not new, but their prevalence in common conversational discourse is. Tens of thousands of people now routinely speak about "navy showers" and "gray water" use. And the adage "If it's yellow, let it mellow; / If it's brown, flush it down" is no longer just an off-color saying quoted with amusement from California eco-freaks; it's serious advice printed in community newspapers and uttered in somber discussions about the current crisis.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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