Heard on the street:

Geoff Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Sat Jul 4 10:24:20 UTC 2009

Interesting.  In Hawaiian English 'one time' means 'immediately', 'instantly'.  So when my native HE karate instructor was trying to get us white belts to stop wiggling after we finished a step forward with punch, he'd say
'Stop one time'.  It took me a while living there (I eventually became a competent second language speaker) to figure out what it meant.


Geoffrey S. Nathan
Faculty Liaison, C&IT
and Associate Professor, Linguistics Program
+1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)
+1 (313) 577-8621 (English/Linguistics)

----- "Wilson Gray" <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> From: "Wilson Gray" <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Saturday, July 4, 2009 3:57:20 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
> Subject: Heard on the street:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Heard on the street:
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Thirty-ish black speaker:
> "I'm going to have to shake a monkey _one time_ on this son of a
> bitch."
> I have no idea what "shake a monkey" means, having heard it only that
> one time, though I could make a WAG. However, I'm just noting an
> instance of the use of of "one time" as an intensifier that has
> nothing to do with time or with the number of instantiations of an
> action. Back in the 'Fifties in Saint Louis, when cigarette-smoking
> was merely hip, as opposed to being a full-blown habit, among studs
> of
> my age group,
> Say, man! Why don't you save me the short, one time?
> I.e., don't discard the butt of that Philip Morris. Pass it over to
> me
> so that I can smoke it. Period. Not just this one time.
> Let me hold a Benny Franklin, one time?
> I.e., lend me a half-dollar. (In real life, the sentence would be,
> "Lend me half-a-dollar, one time.")
> Of course, this could also be used in the standard manner, as in the
> famous, "One time, when I was at band camp ..." "Proper English" is
> always recognized as grammatically correct, though, in certain cases,
> it might not be recognized as socially correct, whether positively:
> "heavy," or negatively: "lame."
> I'm still talking about Saint Louis in the 'Fifties, of course, when
> didn't urrbody say no "urrbody" and didn't nobody know where Natural
> Bridge Road was.
> -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.
> -----
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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