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

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 7 11:33:09 EDT 2019


Looking at it closer, I think I now lean toward it being a separate boast about Washington apples, not a precursor to "how do you like them apples?"

The story takes place in the Washington Building of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.  A man from Indiana insults a man from Washington by suggesting that it "rains potty nigh all the time in Washington, don't it?"

In response, the man from Washington invites him inside the Washington Building to show him a large diorama or model of a Washington State illustrating many of the great things there.  The man from Washington is narrating as they look across the model, "Look at that chunk of coal - 25 tons.  How's them for apples? Say did you ever see such potatoes? Bushel in a hill" - and the two strolled out of earshot."

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/34644622/the_yakima_herald/

So it seems like a typical example of the well-known incorrect construction, but not necessarily a direct precursor to the later expression.

------ Original Message ------
From: "Laurence Horn" <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
To: ADS-L at listserv.uga.edu
Sent: 8/7/2019 7:31:40 AM
Subject: Re: Antedating of "How Do You Like Them Apples?"

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Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
Subject: Re: Antedating of "How Do You Like Them Apples?"
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On Aug 7, 2019, at 2:00 AM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
=20
Precursor (?), 1893, "how's them for apples?"
=20
Found in one story which appeared in two newspapers in 1893.
=20
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."
=20
Chicago Inter-Ocean, June 17, 1893, page 6.
=20
Yakima Herald, June 23, 1893, page 2.
=20
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?
=20
I read it as more likely similar to "how 'bout them apples?=E2=80=9D

It would be nice to have a recording. The intonation for idiomatic =
=E2=80=9Cthem apples=E2=80=9D always (I believe) anaphorically =
de-stresses =E2=80=9Capples=E2=80=9D (with primary stress here retracted =
to =E2=80=9C(a)bout=E2=80=9D or =E2=80=9Cthem"), whereas if the =
Washingtonian was boasting about their state=E2=80=99s apples, there =
would be no de-stressing.

LH
=20


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