Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jul 13 00:16:39 UTC 2013

On Fri, Jul 12, 2013 at 5:44 PM, Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at ix.netcom.com>wrote:

> This looks grammatical and within normal usage to me. Does the Onion not =
> normally use profanity?

I should have warned newcomers. This really just an in-joke based on posts
from back in the day. When I was at the Army Language School in 1960, I
once rhetorically asked my classmates, all of whom were white, whether they
had heard how the first sergeant had "fucked over" another classmate. My
hearers freaked, never having heard the expression, "to fuck over NP,"
before. Yet, this phrase falleth so trippingly from the tongue of black
speakers - I've been familiar with it since WWII - that *I* freaked, in
turn, to discover the extent of Jim Crow, that a phrase as common as "cool"
among blacks wasn't even comprehensible by whites. Ca. forty years later, I
posted the anecdote to this listserv and white people were *still*
unfamiliar with the phrase, though "to fuck NP over" *was* familiar and the
semantics, being the same, were no mystery. Some suggested that "fuck NP
over" was a modification of "fuck over NP," but, IMO, you have to be
familiar something in order to modify it and nobody but me was familiar
with "fuck over NP."

So, the facetious point is that white speakers have finally gotten it right.

Slightly OT, but, IMO, still relevant: I had long been under the impression
that white slang, _to hook up_ "to have sex" derived in an obvious way from
black slang, _get the hook-up_ "connect, by telephone or in just about any
other sense that you can think of." However, my own unpublished research
<har! har!> shows that _to hook up_ "to fuck" in fact predates _to get the
hook-up_ in any of its meaning, despite the "clear" derivation of the
former from the latter.


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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