[Ads-l] fellow = black man

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon May 8 11:33:55 EDT 2017


Maybe it works a bit like “Canadian” does or recently did in parts of the South, if memory serves (see our threads on that from a decade or so); it might be odd to say “Joe is a Canadian” meaning ‘a black man’ (in the relevant setting, but common to say “That Canadian at the corner table wants his check” in the same context, with maybe some intonational, gestural, or other hint that the specialized meaning is intended.  Of course, in the old case Joe really is a fellow, while in the new one he’s not a Canadian, but they both involve a contextually specific disguised reference that works as an attributive label but not in predications where the property of being a “fellow” or “Canadian” is being directly asserted.    If so, I don’t know what the word is for this kind of thing.

LH

> On May 8, 2017, at 11:20 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> I don't see "fellow" as a full synonym. Could one say, for example,
> 
> ?Joe is a fellow.
> 
> and be understood as meaning he's a black man?
> 
> Is there a word for this kind of thing (apart from "partial synonymy")?
> 
> JL
> 
> On Mon, May 8, 2017 at 10:32 AM, Joan Hall <jdhall at wisc.edu> wrote:
> 
>> DARE has one additional example:
>> 1842 Buckingham Slave States<http://www.daredictionary.com/
>> bibliography?letterHeading=B#bibl_9915> 2.29 SC,<
>> http://www.daredictionary.com/search?f_0=reglabel&q_0=SC> The men are
>> usually called "boys," whatever may be their age; and very often "fellows."
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> 
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


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