Heard on The Judges: "hold" = "borrow"

Dan Goodman dsgood at IPHOUSE.COM
Wed May 7 02:42:49 UTC 2008

Wilson Gray wrote:
> Twenty-ish, black, female plaintiff from somewhere near the town of
> Concord, NY, who spoke a passing-strange dialect: r-ful, with
> Noo-Yawk-City-like vowels, but, otherwise, Deep-Southern, such as
> using "Mr. [First Name]" and "Miss [First Name]" as a sign of respect,
> even to and of the couple that she was suing:

I would guess that's Concord on Staten Island, rather than Concord in
Erie County -- where NYC-like vowels would be possible but unlikely.

In the 1960s, when I lived in Manhattan, I probably wouldn't have found
that mixture particularly strange.  But if I were a trained linguist, I
might have.

> "So Mr. Albert said that he was gon' call Miss Betty and aks her could
> I _hold_ her car."
> I didn't find this use in HDAS [admittedly, my glaucoma, presbyopia,
> and myopia handicap me when it comes to searching fine print and I may
> have overlooked it], but DARE has it "in var applications of std sense
> 'be in possession of' ...":
> a  "To examine, to look at ..."
> ...
> c  "To borrow ..."
> Clearly, the speaker is using "hold" in sense c, of which DARE has an
> example from Virginia. However, this sense is "standard" in Saint
> Louis BE.
> DARE has an example of sense a from North Carolina, calling it "Rare."
> But, again, this sense is also "standard" in Saint Louis BE.
> (And, as usual, I'm talking about Saint Louis BE as I know it from a
> half-century or so ago.)
> -Wilson
> ---
> 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

Dan Goodman
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