Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 19 12:46:53 UTC 2010

What's really improbable is that a whole book could be written about it!
Kudos to Allan!

Anyway, "improbable" is another one of those words that appeal to highbrow
audiences.  Can't hurt, right?

So, with a book on the F-word and book on OK, what's left?


On Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 10:43 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: OK
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 9:16 PM -0600 11/18/10, Cohen, Gerald Leonard wrote:
> >Thanks. Would Allan now be willing to tell us something about his
> >book?  And why is the story of OK improbable?
> >
> >Gerald Cohen
> Well, my students always find it odd that a word with as much
> historical significance could have originated from that trend of
> pseudo-semi-illiterate "laconics" in the silly little jocular pieces
> in newspapers.  A loan from Choctaw or Wolof, now that would be
> serious, and even "Old Kinderhook" would seem more plausible,
> especially given the context of a successful presidential campaign,
> but learning that America's greatest gift to the English language is
> in fact the sole survivor of that proto-texting fad that was equally
> exemplified by "K.Y." for 'Know Yuse', "O.W." for 'Oll Wright', and
> "N.S." for 'Nuff Said'--pretty improbable, all things being equal.
> OK, not *sole* survivor--there were the three R's (Reading, 'Riting,
> and 'Rithmetic) too. But still.
> LH
> >________________________________
> >
> >Original message from American Dialect Society on behalf of Arnold
> >Zwicky, Thu 11/18/2010                            5:14 PM:
> >unless i missed it -- always possible -- no one has celebrated Our
> >Own Allan Metcalf's publication of his book
> >   OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word (OUP)
> >arnold
> >
> >------------------------------------------------------------
> >The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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