[Ads-l] monkey in the middle (1952)

Alice Faber afaber at PANIX.COM
Mon Jan 27 18:13:58 UTC 2020

What you're calling "saluggi" is, I think, what we in the far-north 
Bronx (i.e., central Westchester) called "keep-away".


On 1/27/20 10:27 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>> On Jan 27, 2020, at 10:24 AM, Margaret Winters <mewinters at WAYNE.EDU> wrote:
>> I'm pretty sure we didn't have anything called "Saluggi" - but I'm remembering about a decade later, Brooklyn instead of Washington Heights, maybe just for boys…??
> Our group was indeed just boys, but I don’t know if there was a crucial gender divide. My previous dialectological inquiries (i.e. asking random people my age who grew up in NYC) do suggest a localized use within Manhattan extending to the east side as well as Washington Heights, but I don’t have enough data points to propose an isogloss.
>> ----------------------------
>> Former Provost
>> Professor Emerita - French and Linguistics
>> Wayne State University
>> Detroit, MI  48202
>> mewinters at wayne.edu
>> ________________________________
>> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>> Sent: Monday, January 27, 2020 10:07 AM
>> Subject: Re: monkey in the middle (1952)
>> Hunh.  For me, b. 1945 NYC, growing up in Washington Heights, there were not two versions of a single game, but two very different “games”. The actual game was Monkey-in-the-MIddle (aka Keepaway).  The one where you (not me) take something from a younger or vulnerable kid (sometimes me), perhaps a hat or a baseball glove, and pass it back and forth among your confederates, was Saluggi.  At least that’s how I’d spell it, given what I remember about its pronunciation at the time.  So you could say “Let’s play Monkey-in-the-MIddle/Keepaway, I’ll be it”.  But you could not, in the early to mid 1950s, call “Let’s play Saluggi, I’ll be it”.  Barring clinical masochism, I suppose, but we didn’t know from that.
>> LH
>>> On Jan 27, 2020, at 7:48 AM, Geoffrey Nathan <geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU> wrote:
>>> Like Margaret and Mark I remember the quote game unquote, and not with fondness. I only remember
>>> the malicious version, and I, being the nerdy kid, was usually the victim. Again, early sixties.
>>> Geoff
>>> Geoffrey S. Nathan
>>> WSU Information Privacy Officer (Retired)
>>> Emeritus Professor, Linguistics Program
>>> http://blogs.wayne.edu/proftech/
>>> geoffnathan at wayne.edu
>>> From: Mark Mandel<mailto:markamandel at GMAIL.COM>
>>> Sent: Monday, January 27, 2020 12:52 AM
>>> Subject: Re: monkey in the middle (1952)
>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>> Poster:       Mark Mandel <markamandel at GMAIL.COM>
>>> Subject:      Re: monkey in the middle (1952)
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> I do not like the memories this brings up in me.
>>> I knew the expression all too well as a schoolboy in New York in the 1960s.
>>> After school some of my classmates would play this "game" (also called
>>> "keep-away") with my hat or other possession snatched from me, yelling
>>> "Monkey in the middle!" as they threw my property to each other over my
>>> head and I ran frantically between them, trying in vain to reach one of
>>> them before they could throw it out of my reach.
>>> MAM
>>> On Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 6:08 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> The children's game "monkey in the middle" is in OED3 (Sept. 2002 update)
>>>> from 1980. Here are some cites from New Jersey newspapers in the '50s.
>>>> ---
>>>> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/43065809/monkey_in_the_middle/
>>>> Belleville (NJ) Times, July 24, 1952, p. 6, col. 6
>>>> Mrs. Virtue, one of our directors, made up some five bean bags, and taught
>>>> us the game "monkey in the middle." It sure has had great success and is
>>>> enjoyed by youngsters of all ages.
>>>> ---
>>>> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/43065650/monkey_in_the_middle/
>>>> Verona-Cedar Grove (NJ) Times, July 28, 1955, p. 2, col. 5
>>>> Despite the heat wave the children seemed to have quite an active week on
>>>> the Forest Avenue playground. Although checkers, kings, Chinese checkers.
>>>> Mad Maze, Lucky Shot and horseshoes were the most popular, there were still
>>>> some badminton, softball, dodge ball, spud and Monkey in the Middle games.
>>>> ---
>>>> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/43053896/monkey_in_the_middle/
>>>> Courier-News (Plainfield, NJ), June 11, 1957, p. 25, col. 1
>>>> More than 200 children and their parents participated in the annual picnic
>>>> and field day of the Hebrew Institute held Sunday at Green Brook Park...
>>>> Awards in games were as follows: Relay -- Jay Cherlow, Jack Ruden, Larry
>>>> Sletzinger, Joel Taub, Jonathan Lippman, Mark Hitzig, Marilyn Siegel; nut
>>>> potato race, Jay Lichtenstein; Monkey in the Middle, Joy Herzog... [etc.]
>>>> ---
>>>> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/43059206/monkey_in_the_middle/
>>>> The Millburn & Short Hills (NJ) Item, July 11, 1957, p. 6, col. 4
>>>> The middle age group have a variety of games: volley ball, relay races
>>>> (which are very exciting), giant steps, monkey in the middle, red light,
>>>> red rover, and checkers. The wee ones have two favorite games, which they
>>>> play constantly: Simon Says, and Duck, Duck, Goose.
>>>> ---

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