Heard on The Judges:_dude_,slight semantic shift

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Apr 16 23:01:51 UTC 2010

At 5:30 PM -0400 4/16/10, Wilson Gray wrote:
>Mid-thirty-ish, black male speaker:
>"Your honor, I was going to get a job and _be a *dude* about it_."
>[I.e. be a provider for his girlfriend and their family]
>Certain phrases are common, IME, to all dialects of English and don't
>get "slangified," so to speak. Replacing "be a *man* about it" with
>"be a *dude* about it"?
Interesting.  "He's a real guy" is clearly different from "He's a
real man", and ditto "be a man/guy about it", "man/#guy up", etc.
But I'd have thought "dude" was closer to "guy" in such contexts --as
you say, there seems to be a bit of a shift for this speaker.  For
me, "he's being a dude about it" would refer to things like declining
to change diapers or to talk about his feelings rather than being a
provider for the family.


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

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