Cross-posting a query

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Jul 12 15:53:56 UTC 2008

I'm sure someone here can antedate "keep it real" beyond the Seinfeld
death by licking-poisoned- cut-rate-wedding-invitation-envelope
episode.  I can post the appropriate antedate on GALA-L, with credit,
for Prof. Colvin.


>Date:         Sat, 12 Jul 2008 15:53:13 +0900
>Sender: International Gender and Language Association
>From: "Robert O'Mochain" <omochain at LANG.OSAKA-U.AC.JP>
>Subject: Re: [GALA-L] "keep it real"
>Dear Sarah Colvin,
>I first heard that expression on an episode of "Seinfeld" (probably 1997).
>In the context of the storyline it seems funny on the lips of the character,
>Costanza, because he uses it to say goodbye to the parents of his former
>finance. They seem too old and high class for that phrase; it seems too
>casual in the context because of the serious tone involved with the parents
>(he was partly responsible for the death of their daughter); and finally,
>because the character in the show often lies to this couple (and often lies
>in general) so the implication of authenticity in "Keep it real," seems
>incongruous coming from "Costanza".
>Hope this helps (if only a little!)
>Robert O'Mochain.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: International Gender and Language Association
>[mailto:GALA-L at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG] On Behalf Of Sarah Colvin
>Sent: Friday, July 11, 2008 10:24 PM
>Subject: [GALA-L] "keep it real"
>Can anybody give me a reference or advise me re. the history, use, and
>meaning of the phrase "keep it real"?
>Sarah Colvin
>Professor Sarah Colvin
>University of Edinburgh
>David Hume Tower
>George Square
>Edinburgh EH8 9JX
>Tel. ++ 131 650 3630
>email: sarah.colvin at
>The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
>Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

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