PPP "retrofit"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 6 22:30:02 UTC 2008

I found "shat" rather catchy and I began to use it myself as a, well,
"euphemism," in place of the "correct" and obscene form, "shitted." I
naively assumed that that was also what the other "shat"-speakers were
doing. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that there's
nothing euphemistic about "shat" for millions of other people.

Speaking of mispreapprehension, I'm often shocked by the stunning
(a)melioration of BE obscenitites after they've been adopted by white

There's a commercial in which a couple of white chicks smoke over a
dynamite stud as he ease on by. One turn to the other and she say, "I
could hit that."

Say what?!!! She may as well have just come right out and said, "I'd
like to give that dude some pussy and suck his dick."

In my youth, *NO*, *NO*, *NO* DECENT girl would *EVER* have said
anything like that! Not only was it man-talk, but it was a
grossly-obscene expression. There are probably not a few genteel black
ladies of my age for whom this commercial is meaningless, because
they've never heard "hit that" used in its obscene, sexual meaning.

FWIW, IMO, there's no connection between the clean slang, "hit on,"
and "hit that." In my experience, "hit that" is two days older than
water, whereas I first heard "hit on" in its, again, in my experience,
original form, "hit on her and see whether she come in out the rain"
on the same day that I first heard "Have Mercy, Baby," by Billy Ward &
The Dominoes.

Well, I guess that the only real problem is that such changes serve to
drive home the point that it's a damned shame that the Fountain of
Youth is a myth. Sigh!


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.
-Mark Twain

On Thu, Nov 6, 2008 at 9:14 AM, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: PPP "retrofit"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Nov 5, 2008, at 7:34 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: PPP "retrofit"
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> I first heard PPP _shit_
>> back in the 'Sixties...  I've also heard the PPP
>> _shat_, possiby influenced by _sat_. I use _shitted_, myself.
>> When I first heard white GI's using the pasts, "shit" and "shat," I
>> thought that they were just joking or farting around. It wasn't until
>> I was browsing through the AHD about ten years later that I discovered
>> that these forms are as ordinary for some speakers as "shitted" is
>> for others.
> for what it's worth, OED2 has "shit", "shat", and "shitted" as
> alternative *past* forms from the 17th c. on, but only "shat" and
> "shit" for the past participle (and those from the 19th c. on, with
> "shitten" as the form listed for the 14th-18th c.).  but NOAD2 lists
> "shit", "shat", and "shitted" as alternatives for both the past and
> the past participle.  i assume that OED2 will eventually get with the
> program.
> arnold
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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