More 1908 Dialect Notes on E 'Bama (white) English

David A. Daniel dad at POKERWIZ.COM
Mon Aug 30 11:22:38 UTC 2010

My mother (born Indianapolis, 1920 and raised there) used trade-last exactly
as "a compliment that one has heard about someone, which one offers to tell
to that person in exchange for a compliment heard about oneself". I
heard/used it a lot as a kid in the 50s-60's but haven't used it much, if at
all, since then. I might start again now, though. It's kind of cute.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Jonathan Lighter
Sent: Sunday, August 29, 2010 11:50 PM
Subject: Re: More 1908 Dialect Notes on E 'Bama (white) English

My grandmother told me about "trade-last."  She said it was familiar to her
in NYC around 1910 or earlier.

"You don't say!"  Common in movies of fifty years ago and more. Am not
sure if I've ever heard a person utter it live.

I never heard "titty" in NYC except in derisive contexts about nursing
babies. "Tit" was the universal rude synonym.  When I first heard "titty" i=
the South, it seemed weird.


On Sun, Aug 29, 2010 at 10:26 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at> wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> "WHUT, pron.  What. A common pronunciation."
> Whut TF?!!! There's *another* AmE pronunciation?! Abstracting away
> from the three pronunciations of _wh_, of course.
> "WHAR, adv.  _Whur_ is also heard."
> Some may recall my surmise that there may be a connection between
> these two pronunciations.
> "WHIPPERWILL, n.  The chuck-will's-widow."
> Also commonly known as the whip-poor-will.
> "Y'ALL, pron. pl.  You all. This form is now practically universal in
> the South [and absolutely universal in BE. W]. *It is never used with
> a singular significance, as has been asserted by some.*" [emphasis
> supplied]
> Amen!!!
> "YOU DON'T SAY.  You don't say so; equivalent to 'I am greatly
> surprised by what you say.' A negro usage, chiefly."
> Most certainly a phrase favored by my Texas grandmother, along with
> the perhaps-more-stereotypically-Southern, "I declare!" She also used
> "You don't say so!"
> "WORK LIKE A CHARM, v. phr."
> This was once peculiar to the South?! Youneverknow.
> "WORK THE RABBIT'S FOOT ON ONE, v. phr. To conjure ..."
> No mention of this as "A negro usage." Interesting.
> "VOMIK, n. and v. Vomit."
> Again, no mention of this as "A negro usage." Though not universal,
> the shift of spelled _-it, -et_ to [Ik] is completely ordinary among
> BE speakers.
> "A negro is never addressed as _Mr._ by a white person."
> Those were the good old days!
> "TRADE-LAST, n.  A compliment reported from a third party."
> An interesting word!
> "TOSSEL, n.  Tassel"
> Common among urrbody in Saint Louis, but not used in E TX BE.
> "TOAD-FROG, n.  Toad. Universal."
> Yep. I had to unlearn it.
> "TITTY, n.  A woman's breast."
> Not specified as "Universal," though, of course, it is.
> "TOD(S) [falls together w. sE _toad(s)], prep. Toward(s)."
> Alternates w. _twod(s)_ [twOd(z)] in E TX.
> "TIGHT, n. ... [U]sed of financial stringency. 'I'm in a tight (for a
> little money).' "
> Universal in BE.
> "TEENINCY [ti 'naIntsI], adj.  Very tiny."
> Universal in BE and WE in Texas. (I heard it used by white Texans
> while in the Army.) I've never heard it used by anyone from anywhere
> else, not even by my father, a native of _W_ 'Bama. Also [ti 'naintSI]
> in TX.
>  "TACKY, adj.  Shabby, out of style ... Common. A _tacky party_ is a
> party in which the guests dress comically or ridiculously."
> As fate would have it, It's precisely in the term, _tacky party_, in
> which I learned this meaning of "tacky." Sadly, I didn't learn it
> until *after* I had arrived at the party, well-advertised in advance
> as being a "tacky" one. As they say, "If you don' know, you bettuh
> *aks* somebody!"
> --
> -Wilson
> =96=96=96
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"=96=96a strange complaint t=
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> =96Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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