"as such"

Damien Hall djh514 at YORK.AC.UK
Thu Feb 11 11:49:36 UTC 2010

Wilson replied as follows, but apparently it only came to me.

Alison Murie had also replied to the thread earlier in the day, but I see
from my daily ADS-L digest that her reply didn't make it to the whole list
either. Not sure whether it was supposed to, and unfortunately I've
digested it and deleted it. The gist of it was, though, that during her
college years she had had a roommate from Finchley, London, who also
commonly used 'as such' clause-finally in ways that were unparseable to
Alison. The identification of her roommate as being from Finchley was
presumably in response to my wondering whether or not it was relevant that
the person I heard use the phrase in that way was also British.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2010 15:07:26 -0500
Subject: Re: "as such"
To: djh514 at york.ac.uk

This reminds of AmBE, _ADJ like that_, to the extent that I've never
quite understood why the "like that" is there. When I was a child,
this use of "like that" was common in the speech of  adults. As I grew
older, meanings of record titles such as, "I'm a Mighty Tight Woman"
and "It's Tight Like That" became transparent, except for the "like
that," which I've never understood. No matter, because this use was of
"like that" was never current among slang-speakers of my generation.
But, somehow, the hiphop generation has seen fit to revive it. I hear,
"I'm cool, strong, ready, bad, together, down," etc. _like that_ all
the time. The semantics *still* escapes me.

BTW, is there such a thing as BrBE? The first time that I saw a Brit
movie - Sapphire, 1960, with black characters, these characters spoke
barely-understandable - to an inexperienced American ear - Caribbean
English or a kind of middle-class, easily-understood variant thereof.
Nowadays, again to a naïve American ear, black Brits, including black
Irishmen, heard via the Celtic Channel, whether in movies or in
reality, appear merely to speak the dialect appropriate to their
social class, without any trace of the equivalent of the American dead
give-away, the inimitable, so-called "black voice."

FWIW, I find "white voice" equally inimitable. Not that there aren't
black people with white voice or white people with black voice. IMO,
voice is like any other aspect of spoken language: given an
early-enough start in the appropriate environment, a person can/will
acquire whatever voice is relevant to his social milieu, together with
the dialect.

Again, FWIW, I find Obama's speech anomalous. I expected, from his
background, that he would enjoy a command of white voice at least
equal to that of Colin Powell. Rather, the Prez sounds pretty much
like any other random, from-the-hood, black, graduate of an
Ivy-Leaue(-ish) college.

Of course, there are exceptions. Back in Saint Louis, I had a frat
brother who held an MAT from Columbia Teacher's College. Yet, his
speech was so rural, Deep-Southern black that I thought, and still
think, that his degree must have been based solely on his written
work. *I* could understand him only with difficulty and I'm better
than Smitherman when it comes to understanding esoteric varieties of

Smitherman writes, quoting Muddy Waters:

I got a axe and a pistol on the
graveyard, friend
That shoot tombstone boozers(?)
Wearin' balls and chain

This is actually:

I got a *axe*-handle' pistol on a
*grave*yard frame
Shootin' [SuTIn] *tomb*stone bullets [bUlIks]
wearin' [w&:n] *balls* 'n' chains

A variant by Boogaloo:

This here is a *.38* pistol
on a *.45* frame
Shootin' *tomb*stone bullets
on a *ball* 'n' chain

The *'s mark the sites of primary rhythmic stress for those unfamiliar
with the song. Actually, Boogaloo's version occurs not in a song, but
in a recitation featuring possibly the best example of melismatic
black _speech_ ever recorded. Cf. YouTube: Cops and Robbers/Clothes
Line, by Boogaloo and His Gallant Crew, for anyone interested.


On Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 5:43 AM, Damien Hall <djh514 at york.ac.uk> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Damien Hall <djh514 at YORK.AC.UK>
> Subject:      "as such"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I still remember an occasion almost twenty years ago when a
> reasonably-sized group of us were going from pub to pub in Oxford looking
> for one with enough table-space for us all to sit and drink. As we were
> entertaining a guest speaker, this was more of a requirement than it would
> usually have been, but many pubs were full. Anyway, after coming out of the
> second too-full one, one of my companions suggested:
> 'We could try [name of another pub], as such.'
> I don't know whether it is relevant that he was British or not. Anyway, I
> always interpreted this 'as such' as meaning 'I suppose' or something, from
> the context, and this was what boggled my mind; I assumed that the wrong
> phrase had come to my friend's mind in the heat of the moment. But, given
> the clear 'therefore' meaning that's been posted on, I suppose this 'as
> such' could be an extension of that meaning, or a different contextual use
> of it:
> '[Those other pubs were full, so] we could try [another one], therefore.'
> Damien
> --
> Damien Hall
> University of York
> Department of Language and Linguistic Science
> Heslington
> YO10 5DD
> UK
> Tel. (office) +44 (0)1904 432665
>     (mobile) +44 (0)771 853 5634
> Fax  +44 (0)1904 432673
> http://www.york.ac.uk/res/aiseb
> http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/lang/people/pages/hall.htm
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