Tony Glaser tonyglaser at MINDSPRING.COM
Wed Nov 29 01:28:41 UTC 2000

I'm new to this list, and am not a professional in the area of
dialects or linguistics, just an interested layman, so please forgive
me if I'm intruding or if my question is inappropriate.

I lived in Montserrat in the Eastern Caribbean for many years, and
occasionally heard people (English/Montserrat creole speakers) use
the word "blessed" to mean "injured" - derived from the French
"blessé" (although quite why it should appear in the English-speaking
Caribbean I'm not sure).

A couple of years ago, here in Charleston, SC, I was speaking to a
middle-aged black lady (a patient of mine - I'm a family doctor) and
asked her about a bump on her knee. "Oh", she said, "I got blessed".
I asked her what she said, not sure if I had heard it correctly; and
she looked rather embarrassed and tried to change the subject, but
eventually admitted that that was what she had said, and that it
meant she had got injured in a minor way. I asked where it came from
and if other people used the word, but she didn't have any
information to offer. She was not a classic rural/Sea Island
Gullah/Geechee speaker (and please don't ask me what the difference
between the two!), although I think she was from the relatively
suburban parts of James Island or possibly Johns Island.

I've looked in Gullah dictionaries and asked various people about
this, but can find no reference at all to the use of the word
"blessed" in this way.

I would be interested in any input!

Tony Glaser

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