[Ads-l] go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 21 14:01:08 UTC 2015


Wasn't there a Pilot Training Facility near Burton on Trent? I ask because,
if "gone for a Burton" occurred naturally, this might explain the phrase --
perhaps "gone for a Burton" originally meant headed to town for some beer
and fun, but quickly changed to mean gone and not coming back. Just a
thought.

DanG

On Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 6:45 AM, Geoffrey Steven Nathan <
geoffnathan at wayne.edu> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Geoffrey Steven Nathan <geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> I actually own a copy of Service Slang (my father was an officer in the
> RAF=
>  during WWII). I've scanned the relevant page, but the upshot is that
> altho=
> ugh they cite the rhyming slang etymology, they express doubt. But there
> is=
>  an accompanying cartoon suggesting the beer connection (guy sitting at a
> h=
> eavenly bar with prominently displayed beer taps)
> Here's a scan of the page (assuming this link works):
>
>
> https://www.dropbox.com/s/g02xx6a1178sj7d/Gone%20for%20a%20Burton.pdf?dl=3D=
> 0
>
> Geoffrey S. Nathan
> Faculty Liaison, C&IT
> and Professor, Linguistics Program
> http://blogs.wayne.edu/proftech/
> +1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)
>
> Nobody at Wayne State will EVER ask you for your password. Never send it
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> ________________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> ADSGar=
> son O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2015 9:05 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: Re: go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess
>
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> ----
>
> Michael Quinion examined the possibility that Burton referred to a
> brand and wrote that the "most probable candidate, the Burton Brewery
> Co Ltd, closed in 1935 and was hardly well-known even before then."
>
> Another hypothesis that has been raised on this thread is: Burton beer
> referred to a type of beer and not a specific brand. Indeed, there are
> many matches for "Burton beer" and "Burton Ale" in various databases
> in the past.
>
> Bass brewery was founded in 1777 and is based at Burton-upon-Trent.
> There is some evidence of a "Bass's Burton ale". An advertisement in
> 1915 by an importer of Bass printed in a Connecticut newspaper stated
> "Bass Strong Burton Ale / On Draught Everywhere". Perhaps it was "on
> draught everywhere" in the U.K. Of course, 1915 is early. I do not
> know if it was "on draught everywhere" in the U.K. in the 1930s and
> 1940s. Other brewers perhaps made Burton ales, i.e., a drink that a
> pubgoer would call a "Burton".
>
> The databases that I can search in the 1930s and 1940s primarily
> contain U.S. newspapers, so it is difficult for me to access the
> availability of Burton-type beers in the U.K.
>
> Year: 1908
> Title: Culture by Conversation
> Author: Robert Waters
> Quote Page 218
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> Everybody has heard of Bass's Burton ale; but not everybody knows that
> the brewer of the same was made a lord, and is now known as Lord
> Burton.
> [End excerpt]
>
>
> Date: November 8, 1915
> Newspaper: The Day
> Newspaper Location: New London, Connecticut
> Description: Advertisement from Bass & Co., Importers, 90 Warren St., New
> Y=
> ork
> Quote Page 4, Column 7
>
> [Begin advertisement excerpt]
> Bass Strong Burton Ale
> On Draught Everywhere
> [End excerpt]
>
> Garson
>
>
> On Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 4:07 PM, Jonathan Lighter
> <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
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> ------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> > Subject:      Re: go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess
> >
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> ------
> >
> > Garson, while "Cockney" rhyming slang usu. takes the binary form you
> > mention, there are exceptions.
> >
> > E.g., "septic" for "American" (short for "septic tank" =3D Yank).
> >
> > That isn't the "gone for certain/ a Burton" pattern, but it does show
> tha=
> t
> > others exist.
> >
> > I still feel, however, that "gone for certain" is a strained
> interpretati=
> on
> > that smacks loudly of folk etymology.
> >
> > That gut reaction gains support from searches of Google Books for ["gone
> > for certain" + "RAF/ Blitz/ air force"]  Those search (remarkably)
> produc=
> es
> > only *two* hits out of a bajillion possible instances - neither of which
> > has anything to do with an aircrew or an airman being shot down.
> >
> > Long ago I consulted Hunt & Pringle's _Service Slang_ for items related
> t=
> o
> > American military slang. The book is one more cartoon-illustrated,
> quicki=
> e
> > slang glossary of some historical,  but  limited etymological, value.
> >
> > JL
> >
> > On Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 11:54 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
> > adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
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> >> -----------------------
> >> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> >> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> >> Subject:      Re: go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess
> >>
> >>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> -------
> >>
> >> Welcome Peter and thanks for sharing an intriguing citation. Extracted
> >> text suggests that the discussion concerning "Gone for a Burton" was
> >> contained within an article that reviewed one or more books about
> >> slang.
> >>
> >> A snippet from the same page of "John O'London's Weekly" did mention a
> >> book about slang called "Service Slang" compiled by J. L. Hunt and A.
> >> G. Pringle publisher by Faber. It is possible that the phrase "Gone
> >> for a Burton" was contained within the book "Service Slang". The
> >> linkage to Cockney slang might also appear in "Service Slang".
> >> Alternatively, the article in "John O'London's" Weekly" might
> >> reference more than one book about slang. I have only extracted small
> >> sections of the full article. It is also possible that the article
> >> author made the linkage to Cockney slang without support from any
> >> book.
> >>
> >> In the Cockney slang examples I have seen the rhyme is employed during
> >> an intermediate stage. The final slang word does not rhyme with the
> >> initial target word. For example, "stairs" is transformed into
> >> "apples". The intermediate rhyming phrase is "apples and pears". The
> >> word "pears" rhymes with "stairs", but it is not used.
> >>
> >> Transforming "Gone for certain" to "Gone for a Burton" does not seem
> >> to match the Cockney slang derivation pattern although it might be
> >> some kind of intermediate stage. (This same point was made by Dan
> >> Goncharoff when discussing the linkage between "curtain" and
> >> "Burton".)
> >>
> >> Year: 1943
> >> Periodical: John O'London's Weekly
> >> Issues 1210-1223
> >> Quote Page 170
> >> Database: Google Books snippet; data may be inaccurate and should be
> >> verified on paper; probing with the year 1943 reveals snippets
> >> indicating that the volume does contain issues from 1943.
> >>
> >> [Begin extracted text]
> >> There are traces, too, of an older argot. The Cockney has taken his
> >> rhyming slang with him into the Services. "Cape of Good Hope" is still
> >> -- as it was in the last war -- "soap"; and "Gone for a Burton" is
> >> "Gone for certain." The compilers regret that, owing to space, they
> >> have had to omit many examples of rhyming slang ; though one may enter
> >> a slight protest that they have noted so famous a derivation as "tin
> >> titfor" (steel helmet) as "seagoing term" only, and ...
> >> [End extracted text]
> >>
> >> [Begin extracted text from an earlier position on the same page]
> >> ... imagine any circles which have not been made acquainted with at
> >> least some phrases of Service slang. My own reaction to reading
> >> through Service Slang (collected by J. L. Hunt and A. G. Pringle and
> >> published by Faber at the modest price ...
> >> [End extracted text]
> >>
> >> Special thanks to Stephen for accessing the journal "Great Britain and
> >> the East" and sharing what he found on the page containing the phrase
> >> "went for a Burton".
> >>
> >> Garson
> >>
> >>
> >> On Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 7:19 PM, Jonathan Lighter
> >> <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> >> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> >> -----------------------
> >> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> >> > Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> >> > Subject:      Re: go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess
> >> >
> >>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> -------
> >> >
> >> > Could be - but that would seem to indicate that the ale really is
> behi=
> nd
> >> it.
> >> >
> >> > FWIW, "gone for certain" strikes me as somewhat unidiomatic, at least
> =
> in
> >> > the context of air warfare.
> >> >
> >> > JL
> >> >
> >> > On Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 4:39 PM, Peter Morris <
> >> > peter_morris_1 at blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> >> >
> >> >> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> >> >> -----------------------
> >> >> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> >> >> Poster:       Peter Morris <peter_morris_1 at BLUEYONDER.CO.UK>
> >> >> Subject:      go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> -------
> >> >>
> >> >> This is my first posting. I hope it attaches to the thread correctly.
> >> >> Apologies if not.
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >> Here's  a different early (1943) suggested etymology:=3D20
> >> >> http://tinyurl.com/pt3emtn
> >> >>
> >> >> "The Cockney has taken his rhyming slang with him into the
> >> >> Services. "Cape of Good Hope" is still -as it was in the last=3D20
> >> >> war- "soap"; and "gone for a Burton" is "Gone for certain."
> >> >>
> >> >> ------------------------------------------------------------
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> >> >>
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
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> >> truth."
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> >
> >
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> ."
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