Steve Hartman Keiser s.hartman.keiser at MARQUETTE.EDU
Fri Mar 2 21:17:41 UTC 2007

I¹m curious about the interjection ³umba!²  (mid-central vowels in both
syllables, stress on first syllable, second syllable can be lengthened).

I recall using this as a child (Cedar Falls, IA circa 1975) when someone was
doing something that would or should get them in trouble.  As in ³Umba!
You¹re gonna get it now!²  or ³Umba! I can¹t believe you just said that!² or
just ³Umbaaa!²

Has anyone else heard this?  Is there regional/social variation in the form
of this set of interjections?  I think something along the lines of
³ooooooo² (high back tense vowel) with rising or rise/fall intonation is
pretty common these days.

Steve Hartman Keiser
Assistant Professor.  Linguistics.
English Department, Marquette University

The American Dialect Society -

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