_Break nasty_ = "jump salty"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 3 03:31:36 UTC 2010

Uh, have any of you not known any black people outside of academia and
the field of entertainment? Well, considering that the hypercorrected
"Jump Sturdy" reveals that well-known whigger, Dr. John, to be no more
than a poseur, why should I expect more of y'all, who have never put
forth that y'all are, in any sense, hip to any kind of jive, (pace
Neil Whitman;=)).

We, colored folk, pronounce "steady, sledge, flesh," and a heap of
other words with [^] as the stressed vowel in places wherein the
standard pronunciation is [E].

"Jump steady," "rock steady," et sim., with "steady" > [st^dI] in all
cases, is a name that has been applied to any number of dances popular
with the colored people over the years, from at least the days of
Louis Armstrong to those of Aretha Franklin and, possibly, even
farther. I can't say fuh sho, having been off the set for far too many

Phrases such as

Cain't be that/thet with/wit/wif/ a _sludge_ (sledge) hamma!

[The constant use of this is (was?) almost a dead give-away that the
speaker is (was?) from Saint Louis. I have to keep in mind that I
haven't lived there in any sense of "live" since the *very* early

I be _study_ (steady) whalin'

bit down right inta my flush (flesh)

are totally "standard" in black speech.


On Sun, May 2, 2010 at 7:57 PM, George Thompson <george.thompson at nyu.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: _Break nasty_ = "jump salty"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I months or so ago I heard Louis Armstrong sing a number with the expression "Jump Study" in the refrain.  Definitely "Study", not "Steady" (which would make some sense) or "Sturdy"
> Probably dated from the later 1930s or ealy 1940s.
> George A. Thompson
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Mark Mandel <thnidu at gmail.com>
> Date: Sunday, May 2, 2010 10:51 am
> Subject: Re: _Break nasty_ = "jump salty"
> > Interesting. I had not heard or seen either of these idioms before.
> >
> > "Jump nasty" immediately reminded me of a Dr. John song (N.Orleans, sixties
> > - present) with the chorus
> >
> > Jump Sturdy, Jump Sturdy was her name.
> > She came out the swamp like a crazy fool.
> >
> > But I don't see any plausible connection. (The song, titled "Jump Sturdy",
> > is on his first LP, "*Gris-Gris"*, issued in the late sixties.)
> >
> > m a m
> >
> > On Sat, May 1, 2010 at 6:04 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Now in UD, with a surprising-reasonable set of definitions, from 2005.
> > >
> > > Otherwise, as far as the Web is concerned, _break nasty_ occurs only
> > > in the environment immediately before "... habits."
> > >
> > > -Wilson
> > > –––
> > > 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 - http://www.americandialect.org

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