[Ads-l] vague Great Scott note

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Thu Oct 1 11:37:27 UTC 2020

News to me, Wilson.
But, vaguely, apparently related to a play in which Akwasi Agyemang played Dred Scott, an online text claims: "During some time while in Saint Louis Sam changed his name to Dred Scott, or 'Great Scott,' a joke comparing his small height to General Winfield's large size."


From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Thursday, October 1, 2020 3:25 AM
Subject: vague Great Scott note

Read somewhere or other, dekkids ago, that Dred Scott's name was
actually "_Great_ Scott," the spelling, _Dred_, representing an
eye-phonetic representation of the local BE pronunciation of _great_.

IMO, this is quite plausible, since the shift of /grV-/ to [drV-] is a
feature of some varieties of BE to the present day. Cf. e.g. "Grinder Man,"
by John Lee Hooker:

- Wilson
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.americandialect.org__;!!OToaGQ!_byJhFDC6wjdfl6LWsoukkF-e8QKjaXYu4IgIvwUxkFchm58JLCTXm8fF-UD6jSJ$

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