[Ads-l] [Non-DoD Source] "Niger" or "Niger"?

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Sun Oct 22 14:54:37 UTC 2017

I learned the limerick as
    There was a young girl from the Niger
    Who smiled as she rode on a tiger
        They came back from the ride
        With the girl inside
    And the smile on the face of the tiger

"the" in the first line is needed for the meter.  It implies the girl came, not from a specific country, but from somewhere along the Niger River.

There is an old choosing rhyme "Eenie Meenie Miney Mo".  I have heard that the original of the second line was "Catch a n* by the toe" but it has been bowdlerized to "tiger" since at least as long as I've been around.  Interesting.  "N*" --> "tiger"

On Sat, 21 Oct 2017 06:02:39 ZULU + 0800 W Brewer <brewerwa at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

<snip> "appear to the rest of the world as a macabre dance about the peculiarly American n-word."

Not true.  The n-word is also found in the Old World.  Two examples:

the original wording in _The Mikado_ of the "more humane Mikado" runs
    The lady who dyes a chemical yellow,
    Or stains her gray hair puce
    Or pinches her figger,
    Is painted like a nigger
    With permanent walnut juice. 

It is odd that the current bowdlerization to "Is painted with vigor/And permanent walnut juice" is funnier than the original, since it throws in a false parallelism between "vigor" and "walnut juice".

The famous playboy Ali Khan (who was a Mediterranean-skinned Caucasian) once, when asked about his womanizing, said "They called me a nigger, so I stole all their women".

Aside:  Jesse Sheidlower got a shout-out on page 82 of the October 21 _Economist_ magazine.

    = Jim Landau

Netscape.  Just the Net You Need.

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

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