[Ads-l] When is a grate not a grate?

Geoffrey Steven Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Fri Jan 23 10:48:00 UTC 2015


A discussion of this around the dinner table with my wife (who grew up in Central Brooklyn in the fifties) revisited several songs talking about 'cellar doors', which is what she thought these things were called--definitely not 'grates', which are what cover the holes through which you can hear the subways. 
The songs date to the eighteen nineties, and are left as an exercise for the reader. They were discussed by one of the other Geoffs a few years ago. 

Geoff 

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 to anyone in an email, no matter how authentic the email looks. 

----- Original Message -----

> From: "Dan Goncharoff" <thegonch at GMAIL.COM>
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2015 8:06:55 PM
> Subject: Re: When is a grate not a grate?

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Re: When is a grate not a grate?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

> This seems to a consistent usage in NYC, calling the metal doors in
> the
> sidewalk leading to the cellar a 'grate'.

> I suspect this relates to older uses of "cellar grate" that refer to
> an
> actual grate, but it is tough to verify.
> On Jan 22, 2015 8:01 PM, "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at att.net> wrote:

> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > -----------------------
> > Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster: "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> > Subject: Re: When is a grate not a grate?
> >
> > -------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> ------
> >
> > At 1/22/2015 02:13 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
> > >On Jan 22, 2015, at 1:23 PM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
> > >
> > > > The source story has a photo of the metal cover which does not
> > > look like a grate:
> > >
> > >True. Looks rather more like a hole--not so grate.
> >
> > Fell through the hole left behind by the grate that went missing?
> >
> > Joel
> >
> >
> > >LH
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3Dhttp-3A__nydn.us_1CjbYs0&d=
> =3DAwICAw&c=3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3DwFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYi=
> ZRsMFFaLQ&m=3DgSCXPK8E2VHC2DJ58pQdzfUHcn1ysuPVbw7CrFbr2_4&s=3DmolrfMPwC05KT=
> 55cjtPNBwC4NQar_Vc1zlMAqHbhViI&e=3D
> > >
> > > > Benjamin Barrett
> > > > Formerly of Seattle, WA
> > > >
> > > > Lean Ainu!
> > >
> > https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3Dhttps-3A__sites.google.com_s=
> ite_aynuitak1_home&d=3DAwICAw&c=3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3DwFp3X4Mu39hB2b=
> f13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3DgSCXPK8E2VHC2DJ58pQdzfUHcn1ysuPVbw7CrFbr2=
> _4&s=3DEaiWCrrnPjMzqU3J2nBeEPb2HulI9uJy48-1l7ummuU&e=3D
> > >
> > > >> Dan Goncharoff <mailto:thegonch at GMAIL.COM>
> > > >> January 22, 2015 at 8:27 AM
> > > >> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > > -----------------------
> > > >> Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > > >> Poster: Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM>
> > > >> Subject: When is a grate not a grate?
> > > >>
> > >
> > -------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> ------
> > > >>
> > > >> There was a recent news report about a man who "Falls To His
> > > >> Death
> > Through
> > > >> Sidewalk Cellar Grate".
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > >
> > https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3Dhttp-3A__gothamist.com_2015_=
> 01_19_cellar-5Fgrate-5Fdeath.php&d=3DAwICAw&c=3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3D=
> wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3DgSCXPK8E2VHC2DJ58pQdzfUHcn1=
> ysuPVbw7CrFbr2_4&s=3D78QLVD5mKA6g-L4sRvSM_u1J-okfkcFFPbGZwIN7CvA&e=3D
> > >
> > > >> As the story later reports, however, he fell doors, not a
> > > >> grate.
> > > A grate is
> > > >> a lattice, not solid.
> > > >>
> > > >> What am I missing?
> > > >>
> > > >> DanG
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >
> > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
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> > >
> > >
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> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >

> ------------------------------------------------------------
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