"Jigaboo Man" (1911)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 29 19:45:58 UTC 2007

A speculation is a kind of theory and a theory is not affected by the
presence or absense of relevant facts, because a theory can always be
modified to account for the presence or the absence of such facts. The
finding of a pre-1911 exemplar of "jigaboo" wouldn't invalidate Doug's
speculation that "jigaboo" has no meaning as used in the 1911 song,
since Doug's speculation has relevance only for "jigaboo" as it's used
in the 1911 song. Finding that there is an earlier attestation of
"jigaboo," with or without a meaning, wouldn't obviate Doug's
speculation WRT the 1911 song.


On 3/29/07, Douglas G. Wilson <douglas at nb.net> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
> Subject:      Re: "Jigaboo Man" (1911)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >No, "Jigaboo" is not a nonsense word.
> I speculate that "jigaboo" as used in the 1911 song was a nonsense word.
> It is easy to argue against my speculation ... IF one can show an example
> of "jigaboo" (in any identifiable sense at all), from 1910 or earlier.
> AFAIK "jigaboo" in a racial sense is not attested earlier than 1926.
> Possibly this later usage was [partly] inspired by the nonsense usage in
> this 1911 song?
> Or maybe the word was identifiably race-linked in the 1911 song? I doubt
> it, but I'd like a look at the lyrics, if anybody has them handy!
> -- Doug Wilson
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