[Ads-l] Early Evidence for "Nobody Here But Us Chickens"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 19 01:26:16 EST 2017

On Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 9:03 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>

> Is there any doubt that the "racially charged" version is the original?
> And the punchline of a joke?

No. Wikipedia:

Origin of the phrase

The song [,"ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens,"] is sometimes cited as the
origin of the phrase, but the phrase is older. Its first known appearance
was a joke published as a reader-submitted anecdote in Everybody's Magazine
in 1908 regarding a chicken thief, formulated as, "'Deed, sah, dey ain't
nobody hyah 'ceptin' us chickens."

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

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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