[Ads-l] (reposted with typos corrected) Re: jitney--etymology and antedating

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 10 02:36:28 EST 2017


A propos of nothing in particular, Mississippi's Jitney Jungle chain of
grocery stores, founded in 1912, went out of business in 2000. The company
had branches in St. Louis.

On Sun, Jul 3, 2016 at 9:46 AM, Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:

> Previously I antedated jitney to 1899 [1]:
>
> Morning Herald, page Page 4, iss. 349, December 16, 1899
> Lexington, Kentucky
> Headline:
> Election So Quiet This Pair of "Heavy-Enders" Didn't Know it Was on - A
> Little Tramp
>
> "Can't spare de change. Me granmaw died in Sout' Afriky an' I need dis
> to float me over ter de fun'ral"
> "Quit yer kiddin' an' let me have a jitney"
>
> In the May 1, 1915 Literary Digest, Frank H. Vizetelly, "The
> Lexicographer's Easy Chair" p. 1062,
> col 2-3 reported:
>
> "To Troop-Sergeant George Washington Lee we owe the reminder of a little
> catch popular with the
> Louisiaian French-Speaking negro:
> Mettons jetnée danz il trou
> Et parcourons sur la rue--
> Mettons jetnée--si non vous
> Vous promenez à pied nou!
> This may be freely translated:
> Put a jitney in the slot
> And over the street you ride;
> Put a jitney--for if not
> You'll foot it on your hide.
> ...." [But the whole article is worth reading, including the proposal that
> the word was "coined
> by Southern negros for a nickel" and influenced by French jeton or jetton.]
>
> The following newly-reported discovery appears to confirm such an origin
> by giving--in an
> African-American newspaper in 1898--a transitional form.
>
> Illinois Record, Springfield IL, [America's Historical Newspapers] Jan 29,
> 1898, p. 3 col. 5
> "Spingfield South-End Happenings":
> "What little jetney coachman on S. 6th street has such a big head he cant
> put on the coachman's
> hat he only wears the coat with brass buttons?"
>
> Note association with coach as well as (presumably) coin (or token), of
> little worth.
>
> [For previous discussion and bibliography--though citing Vizetelly in a
> 1932 reprint--David L. Gold,
> "9. American English jitney 'five-cent coin; sum of five cents' Has No
> Apparent Jewish or Russian
> Connection and May Come from (Black?) Louisiana French jetnée (On the
> Increasing Difficulty of
> Harvesting All the Grain)" in Studies in Etymology and Etiology....2009.]
>
> Stephen Goranson
> http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/
>
>
> [1] https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__
> listserv.linguistlist.org_pipermail_ads-2Dl_2009-
> 2DMarch_089013.html&d=CwIFAw&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6Y
> HLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=uUVa-8oDL2EzfbuMuowoUadHHcJ7pjul6iF
> kS5Pd--8&m=yg00-wyRnpXZDnNF-ZX6mS_lLkp0Tjoa3OWxpnu1geU&s=r-
> SO5IhEKREmJB2MZcd4Ip4KdlgGlNgIyjxbv1negvE&e=
> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-
> 3A__www.americandialect.org&d=CwIFAw&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6Y
> HLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=uUVa-8oDL2EzfbuMuowoUadHHcJ7pjul6iF
> kS5Pd--8&m=yg00-wyRnpXZDnNF-ZX6mS_lLkp0Tjoa3OWxpnu1geU&s=
> AbpbWfJuKpRzc1XrDFtwU-8VhJHDxKMwiHawou7uxCI&e=>
>
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>



-- 
-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

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