Heard on The Judges

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 28 19:52:40 UTC 2008

Late-forty-ish, black female plaintiff from Georgia:

"When I was parkin' my car, I saw the dog.

Judge David Young: "Did you know the dog?

"Well, naw. I ain't never gone up to the dog and talked to him or
nothin'. Anyhow, the dog was _aloose_."

It's nice to find an "aloose" in the wild. Ever since a
standard-speaking friend pointed out to me that "aloose" is not
standard - I was taken completely aback by his claim, refusing to
believe it until I couldn't find "aloose" in any dictionary - I listen
for it.

What's really interesting about this instance is its use as a simple
predicate adjective. Normally, it occurs only in phrases: break
aloose, get aloose, knock aloose, come aloose, turn aloose, but no
_*be*_ aloose, an observation with which DARE concurs.

_The dog was aloose_ is novel.

"And when I got out my car, the dog run up, jumped up on me, and
knocked me down. When I fell down, I hurt myself and I was in so much
pain that the only thing that I could think of to do to try to ease
the pain was to light me up a cigarette."

[She had suffered a broken hip and a fractured femur and the first
thing that crossed her mind was to light her up a cigarette?! Well,
including the ten years that it took for me to quit for good, I smoked
for fifty years, so I do know where she was coming from.]

Late-forty-ish, black female defendant from Georgia:

"I live way out in the country, so my children _hustle_ pecans."

For me, this is new in such a benign use. Hustle drinks, hustle butt
(a Los Angeles variant of HDAS's HUSTLE verb 4.a.) are more usual.


All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
                                              -Sam'l Clemens

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

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