Fwd: Re: More on Wolof "hip"

Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Thu Dec 9 18:48:36 UTC 2004

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Wilson Gray <wilson.gray at rcn.com>
> Date: December 9, 2004 1:43:47 PM EST
> To: "Stahlke, Herbert F.W." <hstahlke at bsu.edu>
> Subject: Re: More on Wolof "hip"
> On Dec 9, 2004, at 8:14 AM, Stahlke, Herbert F.W. wrote:
>> Wilson,
>> I'm copying you on this because the ADS-L server has been eating my
>> postings.
>> I liked Jesse's article, and it's converted me from being another
>> Wolof-caller.  I've used an old Xerox-to-mimeograph (can't think what
>> that process was called) copy of Dalby's London Times article in my
>> classes, but I'll have to add even more caveats to it when I pass it
>> out.
>> I was puzzled that Jesse wrote, "Even obvious problems with the
>> etymology-such as the fact that Wolof does not generally use the
>> letter
>> "h"-were ignored. (The word in question is actually spelled xippi.)"
>> without adding that the <x> represents a voiceless velar fricative, a
>> sound English hasn't had for a long time and that English replaced
>> word-initially with [h] back in Old English times.  The sounds are
>> much
>> more similar than an English reader would suspect by looking at the
>> letters <x> and <h> and assuming their usually values in English.
>> This
>> complaint doesn't weaken Jesse's argument, but his use of English
>> letters without explanation appears to strengthen his case beyond the
>> facts.
>> Herb Stahlke
> You raise an excellent point, especially since the article was aimed
> toward a general audience and not toward one of dialectologists,
> whether professional or amateur, and linguists. I noticed that myself.
> Like, how could I miss it? But inasmuch as the article reflected my
> own attitudes and feelings WRT the Wolof theory - I haven't believed
> it for a second - and Major 1994 - a very good read, but it doesn't
> even *look* like scholarship - I didn't bother to say anything. I'm a
> follower of the
> "We-built-a-whole-nother-(sub)culture-from-nothing-and-made-the-whole-
> motherfucking- WORLD-take-notice!" school of thought as opposed to the
> "We-brought-our-culture-with-us-from-Mother-Africa-and-have-since-
> maintained-it-and-we-have-developed-nothing-new-despite-what-The-Man-
> says!" school.
> -Wilson
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Wilson Gray <wilson.gray at RCN.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: More on Wolof "hip"
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>> --
>> -------
>> On Dec 8, 2004, at 10:23 PM, Jesse Sheidlower wrote:
>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>> -----------------------
>>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>> Poster:       Jesse Sheidlower <jester at PANIX.COM>
>>> Subject:      More on Wolof "hip"
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>> -
>>> --------
>>> ADS-L'ers who are a fan of the Wolof "hip" story might be
>>> interested in my article on the subject in Slate:
>>> http://www.slate.com/id/2110811/
>>> They let me namecheck Larry for the headline, thank goodness,
>>> though they insisted on using the word "coined".
>>> Jesse Sheidlower
>>> OED
>> I've read the article and I agree with it completely. I especially
>> enjoyed your critique of Major 1994, given that I'm in total agreement
>> with your opinion of it, since it's also my opinion of it. I also
>> enjoyed your takedown of Herbert Gold. Once upon a time, I confess, I
>> rather leaned toward the "booted to the hip" etymology, but I couldn't
>> reconcile it with my own primary use of "hip" as meaning "in
>> possession
>> of knowledge" and not as meaning "prepared," "ready," etc.
>> -Wilson Gray

More information about the Ads-l mailing list