awkward turtle

Amy West medievalist at W-STS.COM
Fri Apr 16 12:42:20 UTC 2010

Sorry to bug the ADS-L with a Way with Words-related posting, but I
thought this might be of interest to Charlie Doyle and other
folklorists out there:

We were "discussing" the recent "Awkward Turtle" episode of A Way
with Words: just 4 of my 14 students had heard of it. At least 2 knew
of the hand motion (put one pronated hand on top of the other with
finger tips pointed away from you and wiggle/circle both thumbs) but
one knew of an additional variant: "and it had babies," and its hand
motion of separating the hands curling in the fingers except the
thumb and pinky, and waggling the thumbs and pinkies of both hands.

My class is mostly students from Central Mass.: 3 of the students who
were familiar with "awkward turtle" were from outside Worcester, only
1 from Worcester knew of it. 2 of the 4 students had cheerleading
connections, so I'm wondering if it's particularly associated with
that group.

---Amy West

PS Grant, you said on the show there'd be a link about the Lunsford
study and the article in Wired by Clive Thompson about it, but there

The American Dialect Society -

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