Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 8 02:20:54 UTC 2009

I only scanned the article, since I knew that it would be filled with
nonsense based on various writings, movies, and TV shows, as opposed
to anyone's real-life experience as a black person or even on the
fringes of black life, so I missed the egregious swipe.

Back in the '50's, I read somewhere - Mario Pei? - that "flick" =
"movie" was a Briticism. At that time, "flick" was certainly the usual
term used among Negroes in Saint Louis. As to whether it somehow made
its way from the Mother Country to black Saint Louis, bypassing local
whites, I have no idea.

"My man," is a term of address that I first heard used in a most
friendly manner by black GI's in Amsterdam in 1961. At the time, I was
assed to death by this, since my only other experience with the term
had come from British movies, wherein "my man" is used only
condescendingly by members of the better classes to address members of
the lower orders, subtly implying that the "man" in some sense truly
*does* belong to the speaker, like a serf or a slave.. Clearly, there
is no immediate *semantic* connection between the BE term and the BrE
term. However, it's not much of a leap to the unfortunate assumption,
by people unaware of the intricacies of the British class system, e.g.
the average black American, that "my man" is merely a stronger, more
emphatic version of the long-used "man." But, of course, this is
merely a WAG.

I really doubt that BE "oh, snap!" has anything more to do with BrE
"oh, snap!" But, are "flick" and "my man" of BrE origin? If so, then,
"oh, snap!' could be, too. Who knows, since slangs terms and phrases
seem to appear out of nowhere with their meanings already or easily
understood? I wonder how often it occurs that a dialectologist doesn't
know whether to shit or go blind, when faced with a phrase like,
"bring smoke on [someone's] ass" = "fire a gun at [someone]" or "place
[someone] in an embarrassing position" and more. How closely is this
_bring smoke_ connected, if at all, to _bring P (pee?)_ in "bring P
(pee?) (on [someone's] ass) = "get laid," "fuck (in the literal sense)
[someone], or "fuck over [someone]" or "place [someone] in an
embarrassing position."

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 Tue, Apr 7, 2009 at 4:06 PM, Grant Barrett <gbarrett at worldnewyork.org> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Grant Barrett <gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â Re: "snap"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Despite an egregious swipe at an ADS member, this blog post has some
> very specific citations and information about the use of "oh snap!"
> http://www.edrants.com/the-mysterious-origins-of-oh-snap/
> It also includes the theory that I give some support to, that "snap"
> is in part a euphemism for "shit."
> Grant Barrett
> gbarrett at worldnewyork.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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