joning (was Deep Down in the Jungle redux)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 22 20:19:11 UTC 2006

At first, when I saw Matthew's comment, I thought, "Tsk, tsk, tsk. What is
wrong with the young people of today?" But, once upon a time, I'd have bet a
fat man that "joning" was originally "jawing," as in, "Don't be jawin' with
me!" "If you gon' jaw wit' me, you got to come heavy." IAC, if it ever was
"jawing," it very quickly and quite thoroughly became "joning," so
quickly and so thoroughly that it's entirely possible that I had
somehow originally misheard it. Like, there was no overlap, such as there
was - actually, still is - between "hep" and "hip." And, when I saw it in
print as "joning" and read somewhere or other that black kids in
DC - which doesn't have much connection with Saint Louis, if any - also say
"joning," my former certainty was reduced to merely a vague FWIW impression.


On 5/22/06, Matthew Gordon <gordonmj at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Matthew Gordon <gordonmj at MISSOURI.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: joning  (was Deep Down in the Jungle redux)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Last year I had a student (young African American from Chicago, I think)
> who
> did a project investigating this program on BET where contestants rap
> insults at each other. She described them as "jonesing on" each other. I
> remember she said "jonesing" and not "joning" b/c I had only heard the
> former in the more common sense of "longing for," etc., and I'd never
> heard
> of 'joning' until now. Wilson's and Sean's comments have shed some light
> on
> this use of "jonesing" which seems to have developed from "joning."
> On 5/22/06 12:01 AM, "Seán Fitzpatrick" <grendel.jjf at VERIZON.NET> wrote:
> > << In Saint Louis, "sounding" was just another way of saying "joning" (I
> > once read somewhere that this latter term is also used in DC). -- Wilson
> > Gray, Sunday, 21 May, 2006 00:27>>
> >
> > And out into the D.C. suburbs circa 1960.  Although Iąm not sure whether
> I
> > heard łjone˛ in parochial school or after I started high school at N.
> > Capitol & Eye Streets in D.C., it doesnąt matter.  Most of the students
> were
> > from the suburbs.
> >
> >
> >
> > Seán Fitzpatrick
> >   Time flies like an arrow.
> >     Fruit flies like a banana.
> >       Chuck Yeager flies, like, airplanes.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society -
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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