"take and VP"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Feb 14 17:19:09 UTC 2006

I agree with you there, dInIs. If the the white speakers had had any
traces of Down Home in their speech, I wouldn't have thought much of
it. I would have thought, "It's just a  Southern thing, to be
expected." I remember an embarrassing moment from my Army days. I
heard some black GI's talking behind a closed door. Since black guys
were rather rare in elite, non-combat units like the Army Security
Agency, I just barged in to see who they were, where they were from,
how they came to be in the Agency, etc.

Well, it turnrd out to be a roomful of white GI's. I was so startled
that I don't remember how I explained away my having walked in without
bothering to knock. In any case, they were all from Louisiana, so I
told them that I was from deep East Texas, only a hoot and a holler
from Sreepote and we sat around shooting the shit, for a while.

BTW, this social anomaly may interest you, dInIs. In those days, late
'50's to early '60's, it was working-class soldiers from the North who
demonstrated the most racial animosity against their black
counterparts, not the Southern soldiers, whatever their class. It was
like "You understand. There's nothing to laugh about in the way we
talk. You know what sweetmilk and lighbread are. You eat hamhocks and
black-eyed peas, mustard/turnip/collard greens. Here in Germany, we're
all Southerners together." When we weren't on duty, I called not only
the first sergeant, but also his *wife*, by their first names. They
were Alabamians and my father was a native of Alabama. So, it was like
"Old Home Week" when I got together with them. On the other hand, the
Northern GI's referred to him as The Buzzard behind his back and
ignored the existence of his wife.

There was another time when a white Louisianan felt such a connection
with me as a fellow Southerner that he got out his prep-school
yearbook to impress me with whaat a BMOC he had been, forgetting that
the yearbook revealed that, among his various other accomplishments,
he had been president of his school's Young White Citizens Council. I
pretended not to have noticed that, so as not to embarrass him.


On 2/14/06, Dennis R. Preston <preston at msu.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Dennis R. Preston" <preston at MSU.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: "take and VP"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Wilson,
> Funny; my association with this use is by White, working-class high-
> and lowland Appalachians, not with Blacks at all.
> I'ma haul off and change my mind on your report (just as yours was
> changed by your experience).
> For me this reraises the more general question  of the similarities
> of White and Black speech in the South in general, and I suspect we
> have a lot more to learn. Who learned (borrowed, stole) what from
> whom?
> dInIs
> >For a large part of  my life, I've considered forms like:
> >
> >I took and hit him
> >
> >to be peculiar to Black English. However, I've now heard
> >this used by white people from states as disparate as
> >Connecticut and Illinois. A colleague from Connecticut
> >used it, bot only on very rare occasions.
> >
> >However, on today's Jerry Springer Show, there was a
> >white guy from Illinois who used "take and VP" in
> >practically every sentence, to a degree actually far greater
> >than I'm accustomed to hearing from black speakers. He
> >said things like:
> >
> >If she really loved me, she wouldn't've _took and slept_
> >with other guys
> >
> >When she asked me for things, I _took and gave_ them to
> >her, but she still _took and went out_ with other guys
> >
> >He happened to say, "We're both from the same state, Illinois."
> >Unfortunately, he didn't say what location in Illinois. Oddly,
> >neither of the other two people that he was interacting with
> >used "take and VP" at all.
> >
> >-Wilson Gray
> >
> >------------------------------------------------------------
> >The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> --
> Dennis R. Preston
> University Distinguished Professor
> Department of English
> 15C Morrill Hall
> Michigan State University
> East Lansing, MI 48824
> 517-353-4736
> preston at msu.edu
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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