"Does anybody remember laughter?"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 11 05:33:43 UTC 2005

How you feel about it may depend on your age and background. In the
'50's in the hood, "Mary fucked John" would have occurred only as a
blooping of "Mary fucked over John." To this very day, I have to force
strings of the type, "MFJ." That is, I sometimes stutter when I say
them, because my antiquated grammatical operating system crashes and I
have to restart it.

Back in that day, "lay" as "fuck" was regarded as white, so nobody
used it. Also, at the vast-majority-white Jesuit prep school that I
went to, guys didn't discuss their sex lives, if any, since the
priests didn''t play that. So, it wasn't till I was at UC Davis,
starting in the very late '60's that I became accustomed to "laid."
But, even there, it was used relatively rarely. The unisex standard
Californian, "ball," was the term of choice. Among whites, anyway. If
you heard a black stud using either "lay/laid" or "ball," you knew
that he spent a lot of time socializing with white people.


On 11/10/05, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: "Does anybody remember laughter?"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >I wonder how universal this distinction ever was. There must always
> >have been speakers who were insensitive to nuances of this sort.
> >Certainly there were plenty in the NYC around 1960 who didn't
> >obviously observe the distinction.
> >
> >Even "bang" and "screw" have been used transitively with female subjects.
> >
> >Grammatical subjects.
> >
> >JL
> I actually got a lot of flak from students in language and gender
> classes when I used the data from that paper (and the Baker one I
> mentioned in my last note).  I agree with Jon that the distinctions
> Quang draws may have been, as it were, overblown.  There are also
> other parameters not considered therein: male/female vs.
> penetrator/penetratee (cf. same-sex coupling) vs.
> initiator/initiatee.  Perhaps in the canonical case these may have
> coincided, but that leaves out quite a lot of variation.
> L
> >Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> >---------------------- Information from the mail header
> >-----------------------
> >Sender: American Dialect Society
> >Poster: Wilson Gray
> >Subject: "Does anybody remember laughter?"
> >-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> >Does anybody else recall when men "laid" and only women "got laid"?
> >How about the article in _Studies From Left Field_ (1971) in which the
> >sentence, "John fucked Mary," is accepted as grammatical, whereas the
> >sentence, "Mary fucked John," is marked as ungrammatical?
> >--
> >-Wilson Gray
> >
> >
> >
> >---------------------------------
> >  Yahoo! FareChase - Search multiple travel sites in one click.

-Wilson Gray

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