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

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Fri Jan 20 10:04:02 EST 2017


Jon's supposition about the original being the racially-charged joke is my sense also -- having come across "nobody but us chickens" as associated with blacks a long time ago.  Garson's cartoon suggests the same with its dialect.  


And the speaker is called "Rastus"  "Rastus is a pejorative term traditionally associated with African Americans in the United States. It is considered offensive."  "Rastus" in Wikipedia.


Joel


      From: ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
 To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU 
 Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 9:16 PM
 Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Early Evidence for "Nobody Here But Us Chickens"
   
There was a cartoon in "Life" that was printed the month before.

Date: June 11 1908
Periodical: Life
https://books.google.com/books?id=b88aAAAAYAAJ&q=%22nobody+in+heah%22#v=snippet&

[Begin punchline]
'TAINT NOBODY IN HEAH 'CEPTIN' US CHICKENS
[End punchline]

On Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 8:41 PM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:
> In the Yale Book of Quotations I included the saying "There's nobody here but us chickens," with a citation from 1937.  Subsequently I have found a 1912 occurrence of "There ain't nobody here but us chickens" in the New Orleans Times-Democrat.  Still earlier, Wikiquote cites a racially charged version, "dey ain't nobody hyah 'ceptin' us chickens," from Everybody's Magazine, July 1908.
>
>
> I would welcome information about any variants of this before July 1908.
>
>
> Fred Shapiro
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

   

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


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