Q. "How often did [your girlfriend's daughter] stay with you-all?"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 29 23:46:55 UTC 2010

A. "Uh, well, like, she usually _stood_ with us a couple of days a
week, Sometimes, she _stood_ three. Like that, you know?"

Spoken by a mid-thirty-ish, Latino man with Northern "voice," possibly
from greater NYC (many references to going to "The City" and he didn't
have rural "voice"). This is the first time that I've heard this use
of _stood_ since ca. 1967, when I heard it in the wild for the first
time. That time, it was used by a black ex-GI from New Orleans who
told me,

"Man, when I was stationed at Fort Polk[, LA], I *_stood_* in New Orleans!"

I.e., despite his being in the Army, a consequence of his having been
stationed at Polk, which is very near New Orleans, was that, for all
practical purposes, he might as well have still been "living on the
economy," because he was able to spend as much time as he wished in


Spoken many times, in place of "going (to)" and reminiscent of
once-stereotypical [gwajn(@)], over the course of her testimony by a
mid-thirty-ish black woman. Otherwise, nothing about her speech was

Those with long memories may recall that I once *totally* doubted that
[gwajn(@)] did or even ever had existed in BE. I knew of its supposed
existence *only* through my reading of quasi-, semi-, and fully-racist
literature. My grandparents, natives of Alabama and of Texas born
between 1860 and 1900 - BTW, the phrase, "grandchild of slaves," ought
to be dying out real soon, now - didn't use it. The closest thing to
that pronunciation that I'd ever heard in the BE wild was [gOjn(@)],
used by someone from Mississippi, back in '53.  However, I've since
come to discover that this pronunciation of "going (to)," [gwajn(@)],
once *was* quite widespread, even being used in East Texas[!] - though
not by anyone in *my* family, of course! ;-) - in the early 1900's.
Indeed, I'm now personally aware of a "gwine"-speaker, born 1897 in
Algiers, LA, who was still alive and speaking in 1973.


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

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

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