[Ads-l] _long finger_ =?UTF-8?Q?=E2=80=9Cmiddle_?=finger"

Jim Parish jparish at SIUE.EDU
Fri Sep 29 02:00:08 UTC 2017

When I was young, I heard a song with the chorus

"Little one, lean one, long one, lickpot, thumbo".

(For the longest time, I thought the singer was Tennessee Ernie Ford, 
but I can't find it in his discography.)

Jim Parish

On 9/28/2017 8:10 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> While browsing around in DARE, I came across the above. Not only is this
> the usual term for the middle finger that I used during my East Texas
> childhood, but it also occurs in a song that I once heard when I was about
> three years old. The song is entitled _Thumbkin_ et sim. Giving research a
> lick and a promise, I found that the song goes back, in variants, to at
> least 1849.
> Thumbkin says he’ll dance
> Thumbkin says he’ll sing
> Dance and sing, ye merry little men
> Thumbkin says he’ll dance and sing
> Fore finger says he’ll dance
> Etc.
> _Long finger_ says he’ll dance
> Etc.
> Ring finger says he’ll dance
> Etc.
> Short finger says he’ll dance
> Etc.
> All fingers say they’ll dance
> Etc.
> goo.gl/jonkH7
> Speaking of recalling stuff from childhood, I once met a (white)
> fellow-Texan who, as toddler, had had a Russian nursemaid. She used to sing
> him to sleep with a Russian lullaby. He remembered that lullaby so well
> that, over a quarter-century later, he was able to sing it, pronouncing the
> Russian so well that I could easily understand the words of the song and
> interpret them for him, his own knowledge of Russian being non-existent.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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