More on Wolof "hip"

Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Thu Dec 9 22:50:26 UTC 2004

On Dec 9, 2004, at 4:36 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: More on Wolof "hip"
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> At 4:02 PM -0500 12/9/04, Wilson Gray wrote:
>> On Dec 9, 2004, at 3:11 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>> that "toke" is more likely from Span. toccare, etc.
>>> etc.
>>> Larry
>> I assume that "toccare" is a lapsus digiti for "tocar." And, FWIW, if
>> it is from Spanish, it's
>> more likely to be from some variety of North-American Spanish than
>> from
>> Castilian.
>> -Wilson
> Oops.  Lapsus mentalis, more like.  It's actually an application of
> the well known rule of "_tocar_, from Vulgar Latin *" deletion on my
> part.  This is AHD3 speaking, and the derivation is prefaced by a
> "perhaps", and comes via "toque".  No details on which variety of
> Spanish.  The OED is, as usual, more cautious and just has "origin
> uncertain" for both the verb and the (relevant) noun.
> L

The form "toque" ['toke] is the polite singular imperative of "tocar."
-1967-68-school-year meaning is "touch." But that doesn't mean that it
couldn't have had the relevant meaning as a slang term or been
misunderstood by the non-Spanish-speaking as having that meaning.

According to various histories of the use of weed, it was introduced by
Mexican stoop-laborers to their black-American counterparts. This is
where the Mexican-Spanish bit is relevant. Later, when blacks became
in, the use of grass was passed on to whites. I don't vouch for the
truth of this, since it's only something that I read somewhere, five to
25 years ago.


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