[Ads-l] Dialog

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun May 14 21:02:40 EDT 2017

On Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 6:28 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>

> I guess "so coordinated an attack" would be beyond the ken of all but real
> poindexters.

It's hard to say. As the original sentence-partial indicates, people can
say - or even worse, write, if that line was in the script and not
ad-libbed - some weird shit.

On a re-run of an episode of Futurama, Fry has just asked,

"Is that the head of who I think it's of?"

But, in this case, we know that the strange syntactic structures are not
meant to represent real English.

Right? Right??

Switching from syntax to semantics, let me mention a now-canceled Comedy
Central, black-themed "anime," Legends of Chamberlain Heights, which has
the following dialog:

[Black teen, running from mob, reaches friend's door, knocks]
"Open the door, man! Let me in!"
[Friend opens door and lets him in]
"What's up, man?!"
"Niggaz is after me, man!"
"Uh, do you mean, _black bruthaz_ is after you?"
"Naw, man! I mean '_niggaz_'! Look through the window!"
[Friend looks, sees a mob made up predominantly of whites, but also
including numbers of blacks and Latinos, plus a smattering of East Asians
and South Asians.

That is, any random group of people can be referred to as "niggaz," if
there's no reason to distinguish the group's members from "the *real*
soul-brother," to quote Richard Pryor.
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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