[Ads-l] Antedating of "How Do You Like Them Apples?"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Aug 7 10:31:40 EDT 2019


> On Aug 7, 2019, at 2:00 AM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> Precursor (?), 1893, "how's them for apples?"
> 
> Found in one story which appeared in two newspapers in 1893.
> 
> First appeared in Chicago Inter-Ocean in a story about someone from Washington state bragging about how great things are out west.  At one point, the Washingtonian says. "Look at that chunk of coal - 25 tons.  How's them for apples? Say, did you ever see such potatoes? Bushel in a hill."
> 
> Chicago Inter-Ocean, June 17, 1893, page 6.
> 
> Yakima Herald, June 23, 1893, page 2.
> 
> It may be ambiguous.  Does "how's  them for apples" refer back to the large chunk of coal? Or is it a separate boast about Washington apples, as is the following boast about potatoes?
> 
> I read it as more likely similar to "how 'bout them apples?”

It would be nice to have a recording. The intonation for idiomatic “them apples” always (I believe) anaphorically de-stresses “apples” (with primary stress here retracted to “(a)bout” or “them"), whereas if the Washingtonian was boasting about their state’s apples, there would be no de-stressing.

LH
> 
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
> Sent: Tuesday, August 6, 2019 6:35:22 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Subject: Re: Antedating of "How Do You Like Them Apples?"
> 
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Antedating of "How Do You Like Them Apples?"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
>> On Aug 6, 2019, at 3:26 PM, Baker, John <JBAKER at STRADLEY.COM> wrote:
>> =20
>> Arnold Zwicky has a discussion of this rhetorical question on his blog to=
> day, https://arnoldzwicky.org/2019/08/06/gloating-over-them-apples/, and it=
> reminded me that I had looked at its origin some years ago.  I decided to =
> take another look....
> 
> many thanks to John (and now also Peter Reitan) for these comments. i'd int=
> ended to post a link to my blog posting on ADS-L (hoping that the experts i=
> n phrase and quotes histories -- the hounds of ADS-L -- would be able to sh=
> ed some light on that side of the topic), but i've been sick and just barel=
> y eking out the occasional posting, so i didn't get around to notifying ADS=
> -L until late this afternoon.  and now John and Peter have done the work fo=
> r me.=20
> 
> i'll transfer their postings here to comments on my blog, so that they'll g=
> et some audience outside of ADS-L.
> 
> again, many thanks.
> 
> arnold
> 
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> 
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