[Ads-l] "(jump) salty"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Jan 16 20:03:39 UTC 2015

On Jan 16, 2015, at 2:21 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:

> My latest Wall St. Journal column is on "salty" ('exceptionally
> bitter, angry, or upset'), which won the Most Likely to Succeed
> category in the ADS WOTY voting. I talk about how it's a revival of
> African-American slang dating back to the '30s, particularly in the
> expression "jump salty" (which has come up on ADS-L several times).
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.wsj.com_articles_a-2Dsalty-2Dword-2Dwith-2Da-2Dpromising-2Dfuture-2D1421427784&d=AwIBAw&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=Xa1FAQtKKPtOdtxbVYeWzEPUFIBNQ7007YVjSFjsCUs&s=oSqoh887_rMR0LrhE8p1ncvMUKLS7ZcAAQtOrEoH1cg&e= 
> The column includes a modest antedating for "jump salty," which OED2
> has from 1938 and HDAS and GDoS have from 1936:
> 1935 _Philadelphia Tribune_ 18 July 11/1 Now as far as France and
> Italy were concerned, Hitler was jumping salty, spreading that jive.
> There are a few other examples from 1935 in the Philadelphia Tribune.
> It's interesting that the early examples are found in Philly,
> considering how "salty" has persisted in urban slang there.
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__articles.philly.com_2014-2D02-2D20_entertainment_47493528-5F1-5Fdialect-2Dwilliam-2Dlabov-2Dslang&d=AwIBAw&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=Xa1FAQtKKPtOdtxbVYeWzEPUFIBNQ7007YVjSFjsCUs&s=PCCfcUd7336hTwTid2u4oj1NnN_25gbGuOFTpTCJiFk&e= 

Ben et al., 

re "drawlin" as discussed in the latter link above:
Another, drawlin, was up for debate in the food court of the Gallery mall on a recent afternoon.

Jahnasia Jones, 14, a student at Murrell Dobbins CTE High School, translates it thus: " You drawlin means 'You playing too much - like, stop, for real.' We also say, 'You irkin.'"

But her friend, Isaiah Dunbar, 15, said the word might also signify amusement, "like, 'You funny.' "

Most linguists agree that jawn is a cognate of joint. But when it comes to drawlin, there's not much to go on, Zimmer said.

"If it originates in oral use, it can become popularized in a community without having ever much of a written record," Zimmer said.

Not that this necessarily helps, but Patti Smith, in her (Philadelphia- and South Jersey-inflected) audio reading of her wonderful memoir _Just Kids_, exhibits a number of Philly-isms in her phonology, among which is her consistent linking [l] in words like "drawing".  So there are frequent references to Mapplethorpe's and her "drawlings". (I brought this up last summer when we were in the middle of a thread on "hog mawls".)  I'm wondering if the slang word above, whatever its current range of applicability, might have originated as "drawing" rather than "drawling".   As to the meaning, I did say it wouldn't necessarily help.



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