Just wondering

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 29 23:23:29 UTC 2006

My mother says purse and pocketbook, as does my wife. Neither of them
is aware of any distinction between the two. I've tried for years to
find a difference, but the women that I''ve known appear not to have
any particular preference. I've tried to trick them, without success.

Would you get my purse out of the closet?

Of course. Just tell me which pocketbook you want.

Okay. Bring tthe one that [fits some description].

And there have also been conversations like:

Where'd you say your people / kinfolk are from?

[Some Southern state.]

Do people be saying "bissep" instead of "except," down yonder?

Sure enough. Everybody bissep me.

Say what?

Aw, I was just messing with your mind, man.


On 12/29/06, Alice Faber <faber at haskins.yale.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Alice Faber <faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU>
> Organization: Haskins Laboratories
> Subject:      Re: Just wondering
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Jim Parish wrote:
> > Wilson Gray asked:
> >
> >> 2) Is there anyone for whom the words "pocketbook" and "purse"
> >> denote different objects? Not "can" or 'could," but _do_.
> >
> > Scot LaFaive replied:
> >
> >> For #2, I consider a pocketbook as a large wallet for women and a purse as a
> >> bag with a shoulder strap.
> >
> > That's my understanding also. (My visualization of a pocketbook is
> > something that can be conveniently held in one hand; a purse is rather
> > larger than that, in my head.)
> Well, just for an opposing point of view. A pocketbook is what my mother
>   (and her mother, before her) calls a purse.
> --
> ======================================================================
> Alice Faber                                     faber at haskins.yale.edu
> Haskins Laboratories                          tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
> New Haven, CT 06511 USA                             fax (203) 865-8963
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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.
-Sam'l Clemens

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list