"baby daddy," "underwears," etc.

Ronald Butters ronbutters at AOL.COM
Sat Nov 20 15:14:45 UTC 2010

Any time a term spreads from a regional or other restricted status into general vocabulary, it is worthy of discussion here, in my opinion. It is perhaps also possible that "baby mama" and "baby daddy," are new compounds for some people--not possessives but rather something on order of "baby diaper," in which case they could be considered as following general rules of compounding and have nothing to do with social or regional dialect. That, too, seems to me worthy of comment.

The other day, JL's posting concerning "underwears" might have been dismissed at first as trivial, given that virtually any mass noun can be treated as a compound (and is likely to be from time to time in uneducated speech, as JL well knows). A quick search of Google shows 408K hits for "underwears" and some of them do not appear to be typos or come from uneducated speakers (or just hits for underwear without the "s"--I think I was able to correct for that, at least partially), but seem to be a kind of slang expression or youthful buzz phrase. So it seems to me that even "underwears" is worthy of consideration here (though my first impulse was to dismiss it as mere "chatter").

On Nov 20, 2010, at 2:23 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> Are you people fucking serious, dealing with _baby mama_ / _baby
> daddy_ as though they was something new and mysterious, worthy of
> serio-jocular discussion, when they've  probably been around since
> 1619?
> What makes it so worthy of note? That whites have decided to define it
> in Urban Dictionary - surely one of the best monuments to casual
> racism ever devised - or use it in some form of media?
> My word! You people can not be serious! And, if you're traching for
> comedy, it's not funny.
> --
> -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
> Once we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity,
> or evil intent, we can uncumber ourselves of the impossible burden of
> trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition
> that we could be in error, without necessarily deeming ourselves
> idiotic or unworthy.
> –Kathryn Schulz
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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