Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 12 14:50:30 UTC 2009

FWIW, when I was a kid in Saint Louis in the 'Forties and 'Fifties,
White kids in the 'hood used a clearly-pronounced "lookit!" in those
places in which we colored kids used simply "look!" *One black kid,
under the influence of the white kid, no doubt, used "looky!" However,
as the 'hood shifted from 99% white to 99% black - there were white
families still moving into the 'hood even after my family had moved
out - he came back into the fold, using only "look!" again.

Saint Louis was a strange place. There were integrated neighborhoods,
neighborhoods so white that blacks just driving through them would be
"niggered" and have their cars literally stoned (times change; those
who listen to the words of songs by Saint Louis rappers will often
hear reference made to Kingshighway and Natural Bridge; this was once
one the 'hoods in which the colored were not allowed, to the extent
that I'm quite familiar with Kingshighway Blvd., but I'm not quite
sure where Natural Bridge Road is) and neighborhoods where, it was
said, "The white man has no rights!" But, since white people had no
reason to go into these neighborhoods, this claim was never tested, to
my knowledge.

I've read that white people tend to "get hat" or "hat up" out of
integrated neighborhoods when their children reach puberty. IME, the
Jews, caught between the hammer of the Irish Catholics and the anvil
of the black Catholics (we didn't know from Jews, except that there
were, oddly, some white people that we were allowed to fisticate with
- the "fist-" is not the root; if I simply pick up an eraser from from
your desk, I'm _fisticating_ with it; IOW, "fisticating" doesn't
necessarily involve any physical threat, only annoying physical
touching), without arousing the ire of other white people, who would
otherwise often join in in defense of white kids being picked on; [if
only we had known that it was *they* who operated the neighborhood
delicatessens, where we were accustomed to grab our lunches and
snacks!] who were the first to leave, the former Temple Sha'arei
Tsedek becoming Pleasant Green Baptist Church.

Then, white families with sons left, surely a coincidence, since all
black children in the 'hood were male.


PS. I thought that I had posted this long ago. However, it popped up
again, after my cat once again took a stroll across my keyboard. -W
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

On Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 12:12 PM, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â Re: lookit
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Apr 12, 2009, at 8:36 AM, Larry Horn wrote:
>> At 8:23 AM -0700 4/12/09, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
>>> its etymology
>>> derives it from "look" with an arbitrary final element.
>> arbitrary? Â I always assumed that (as Victor suggests above) it
>> derived from a childhood reanalysis of "look at" as a simple
>> transitive whence an intransitive, both transmitted across speakers
>> and repeatedly reinvented as a nonce form, i.e.
>> "Look at that!" > "Lookit that!" Â > "Lookit" as a simple intransitive.
>> It's not just "a phonetic spelling", but an actual reanalysis.
> i merely reported the OED's etymology, which i don't in fact find
> plausible. Â Victor's suggestion looks much more satisfying.
> but i wouldn't classify "lookit!" as an intransitive verb. Â i think it
> has indeed been reanalyzed, but as an interjection (as both the OED
> and NOAD2 say).
> arnold
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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