speed humps

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon May 2 14:59:01 UTC 2011

On Mon, May 2, 2011 at 8:56 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
> On Mon, May 2, 2011 at 8:00 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> On Sun, May 1, 2011 at 11:31 PM, paul johnson wrote:
>> > Doesn't anyone else remember deadmen?
>> > Or sleeping policemen
>> I can recall hearing the designation "sleeping policeman" only once in my
>> life, in NYC in the early 1970s.  It sounded very affected and cumbersome.
> For more on the history of "sleeping policemen" (and international
> equivalents), see my Language Log post:
> http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/004303.html

In that post I provided cites beginning in 1967 for "sleeping
policeman". Google News Archive now antedates that.

1964 _Financial Post_ (Toronto) 5 Dec. 55/1 As you approach the last
few yards of smooth road before the office building of Alcan Ltd.'s
alumina plant at Ewart, Jamaica, you see an arresting sign with red
letters on a white background: DEAD SLOW. SLEEPING POLICEMAN. ... The
"sleeping policeman" is, in fact, a hump of rounded concrete stretched
across the road, about six in. high.


Ben Zimmer

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

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