Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Jan 21 01:31:17 UTC 2011

At 6:39 PM -0500 1/20/11, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>My grandmother (b. 1888) used "bellybutton" exclusively. Except for "navel
>oranges." I couldn't understand what oranges had to do with the navy, but
>she explained that "some people" called the bellybutton the "navel."  Weird.

Also useful for contemplation purposes.  Contemplating one's
bellybutton just doesn't cut it when you're talking omphaloskepsis.


>On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 5:29 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at> wrote:
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  -----------------------
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>>  Subject:      Re: bellybutton
>>  On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 2:26 PM, Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at> wrote:
>>  > "bellybutton"--which I had always taken to be a jocular nursery term, not
>>  altogether seemly in adult discourse.
>>  Absolument! Indeed, for me, _bellybutton_ is only a literary term. The
>>  shift from childspeak to adultspeak was from [neb@] to [nevl].
>>  However, given the current state of corruption in BE as a consequence
>>  of desegregation, nowadays, it wouldn't surprise me to hear a black
>>  person use "bellybutton" independently of a TV-show script. Since I
>>  grew up using _stummy_, it was a while before I was certain that I
>>  grasped the meaning of the slogan, "Tums for the _tummy_!" It is - or
>>  was formerly - the case that _stomach_  alone covers - or covered -
>>  all of the sE nuances of "stomach abdomen belly tummy."
>>  --
>>  -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 that 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 -
>"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>The American Dialect Society -

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