New-to-me change in BE

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 1 00:21:24 UTC 2010

Perhaps mid-thirty-ish, middle-class, black male speaker from
Sacramento, CA, discussing how pleased he was with the outcome of a
new surgical procedure for obtuse-angle glaucoma (one of those
strange, racist-sexist diseases: over 90% of all black males who are
blind have glaucoma, e.g. your humble correspondent, now devoid of
stereoscopic vision as well as severely myopic; right eye sand blind).
Heretofore, surgery has been available only for acute-angle glaucoma.
("obtuse" and "acute" are *rapidly* being dumbed down - or should that
be, "dumbed-down"? - to "wide" and "narrow."

"I was happy to [h&pi _T at _] see ..." (no pun intended, of course!)

Naturally, *I* would say "[h&pi _t at _] see ..."

When I was a school-kid in Saint Louis, ca.1945, I noticed that Father
Molloy, assistant rector of our parish, always called my friends,
Walter Joyce and Walter Francis, by what I heard as "Walder."

At the time, I had no concept of any kind WRT ethnic surnames. Hence
the irony of Fr. Molloy and Walter Joyce both having names indicative
of Irish ancestry or ownership completely escaped my notice for
another half-dekkid. The irony began to strike me only in 1950, when
Fr. Molloy came into our (all-black) classroom on St. Patrick's Day
and jokingly asked, "Who else in here [besides me] is Irish?" Walter,
Edgar (Hambone) and Edward (Bojigger) McGrew, Patricia and Kathleen
Cooney, Teddy McMillan, Charles McCombes, and a couple-of-three others
raised their hands.

I was completely confused. WTF?! Don't you have to be *white* to be
Irish?! And, if you don't, why aren't we all raising our hands?

(Lest I cause confusion in other areas myself, let me point out that
Fr. Molloy was the white, Catholic "prefiguring" - Catholic technical
jargon; other Catholic readers should get it - of the black,
Protestant Rev. King, Jr., WRT to the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, both
originating among white Catholics and spearheading in general the
local attempt to integrate The One True Faith.)

Getting more-or-less back on point, this speaker had a problem with
"on," alternating randomly between "awn" and "own." I don't have a
problem with that. My bete noire <har! har!> is words of the
"tin"-v.-"ten" type.

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

The American Dialect Society -

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