An African American proverb (?)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 3 04:12:13 UTC 2009

"Allotted" > " 'lotted" > "lot" [lot:] ( is certainly a plausible
analysis, given current ordinary pronunciations such as [pUt:] < "put
it," [set:] > "set it." As for the final "get it," cf., e.g.

a) Put it [pUt:] on the table


b) I told you where to put it [pUR.It]

The /t/ of _put_ in (b) is a flap, usually, but I've forgotten WTF the
symbol is! So, I'm using R for it.


On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 11:33 AM, Charles Doyle<cdoyle at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
> Subject:      An African American proverb (?)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Several scholars have identified as a proverb the expression "What God got lot out for a man he'll get it."
> As found in the typescript of reminiscences by an ex-slave for the WPA Writers' Project of the late 1930s, the saying certainly looks as if it was being used proverbially. And the sense is (almost) clear; one scholar has paraphrased it, "If it's for you, you’ll get it."
> But what is the grammar of the sentence?  Following the auxiliary "got," is that (apparent) verb "lot" a rare participle of "lay"--or what the transcriber actually heard for "laid"?  Or is it a contraction of "allotted" or some other verb based on "lot" in the sense of 'destiny'?
> We should remember, of course, that the transcribers employed for the project were not necessarily well trained for the task--and they were also capable of typos!
> Any opinions (or guesses) will be welcome.
> --Charlie
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