An African American proverb (?)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Jul 31 15:59:51 UTC 2009

Or is "lot" a noun -- "What lot [fate] God got out for a man he'll
get it."  So grammatically (or transcriptionally) a transposition of
"God got" and "lot".

While I can't attest to an African-American proverb, in the 18th
century the thesis that one's station in life was pre-ordained by
God., and that one (especially a slave) should willingly and happily
accept it, was commonly promoted.  (If necessary, I can provide a lot
of authorities.)


At 7/31/2009 11:33 AM, Charles Doyle wrote:
>Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
>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.
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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