End of ADS-L Digest - 2 Aug 1997 to 3 Aug 1997 ********************************************** Sender: American Dialect Society Topics of the day: 1. Labels for Locals; NYPL horrors; Britcom/Sitcom; Baseball terms 2. presentism 3. More creeping vulgarity 4. vulgarity--in the eye of the beholder? 5. (Garcia) Marquez ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Mon, 4 Aug 1997 08:03:15 -0400 From: "Barry A. Popik" Subject: Labels for Locals; NYPL horrors; Britcom/Sitcom; Baseball terms Is anybody out there? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------- BOOK REVIEW: LABELS FOR LOCALS/What to Call People from Abilene to Zimbabwe by Paul Dickson. "Hey, you!" Works for me. Missouri, let's see, Show Me, "The late speaker Champ Clark credited Vandiver with originating the expression in an impromptu address as a member of Congress before the Five O'Clock Club in Philadelphia in 1899." O. K., I did this recently; can't fault him. New York, New York, "The city is nicknamed the _Big Apple_, a term that etymologist David Shulman traces back to 1909." I did this five years ago. Oh well. There's a large section on Hoosier. "In any event, _Hoosier_ has a long history. Its first literary appearance was in the _Indianapolis Journal_ on January 1, 1833." No, not at all!! I did a large posting on this January 1, 1997. Usonia is "Name for a future Utopian America populated by _Usonians_. The name was borrowed from Samuel Butler by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who used it to describe his perfect house, 'The Usonia.'" Why not also give USONA=United States of North America? I have a big USONIA/USONA file in my America Papers. Utopia is on the cover, and he manages to screw this entry also by stating simply that it is a "generic term" from Sir Thomas More's book. Moving on to another entry.... ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------- N.Y.P.L. HORRORS I forgot to add that all of New York City's one Nexis machine does not even have a printer, because it's too expensive. Here are some of the horrors of the new New York Public Library, as experienced by me and David Shulman (who I met on Saturday). 1. THE MISSING PALMER'S INDEX TO THE LONDON TIMES--All of the machines that were upstairs were moved downstairs for the renovation. Well, not all. I couldn't find Palmer's Index to the London Times. I walked around all of the machines three times. I called a librarian. We walked around all of the machines twice. "It's not here. I don't know where it went," he said. Librarians are always so helpful. 2. OUR STAFF WILL HELP YOU--I used the LEO system, and got "PER" for Women's Wear Daily. I gave it to the guy at the window and received a number. Then I waited about an hour. Twelve numbers came up after mine. Then I was told to see a staff librarian. After a half-hour wait for a librarian (they're short staff), I was told that the periodical was on microfilm in the self-serve area. 3. MISSING MATERIALS--"Subway Series" (All-New York Yankees v. Giants, Dodgers, or Mets) would be very easy to solve. I merely have to check the Subway Sun. I requested 1921, 1922, 1923, 1936, 1937--the proper years. "ANNEX" said the staff member, which means you have to stand on the long line for a librarian, fill out the call slip again, bring the big black catalog book over, and wait another day. Two days later, my book and my request wasn't there. I did the whole thing again. Two days after that, it came back "NOT ON SHELF"--strange because YOU CAN'T BORROW THESE ITEMS. Is it not on shelf for microfilming? Is someone else reading it? What? The librarian called the annex. No answer. Another call. No answer. "They don't always pick up the phone, there's only one person working there." Next day, the call went through. Nothing is on the shelf. Other libraries were checked. No one else has this. There's more, but I'll stop here. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------------------------------- BRITCOM/SITCOM Britcom=British comedy. Sitcom=Situation comedy. Computers have made this a bit interesting. You can go to www.sit.com and www.brit.com. In the latter, you'll finding the Beyond Roentgen Imaging Technologies people who cloned Dolly. I haven't seen Britcom in some books of words, but fans of TNT (that would be Turner Network Television) know that he was running "Brit-coms" every Friday in July. I thought Newsday's Marvin Kitman invented this in the 1980s, but Nexis came up with an earlier citation from another newspaper. Britcom is also the name of a telecommunications company. OED has 1964 for "sitcom" and the TV GUIDE for 23 October 1953 for "situation comedy." With little effort, I found August 1953, THEATRE ARTS, pages 90-91, "Situation Comedy--or Situation Wanted?" ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------- BASEBALL TERMS GRAND SLAM/SWEEP--Dickson's Baseball Dictionary doesn't give a date for "sweep." OED cites Wentworth and Flexner and gives 1960. As stated before, a "sweep" was originally a "grand slam." The Sporting News, 12 October 1939, pg. 3, col. 1, "BOMBERS' FOURTH TITLE IN ROW WON IN SECOND STRAIGHT 'SLAM'" by Frederick G. Lieb, states "the Yanks have won four straight--what is known in baseball as the Grand Slam." In TSN of 18 October 1950, pg. 7, cols. 2-4, we have "Ninth Series Sweep Without Loss, Six of Them by Yanks." In TSN of 13 October 1954, pg. 14, col. 1, "GIANTS' SWEEP GIVES N. L. NEW PRESTIGE." BIRD DOG--Dickson gives 1950, and Random House HDAS copies this. Perhaps slightly earlier this year is TSN, 10 May 1950, pg. 19, col. 2, "Scouts Wait Turn to See Kids Now, Says Vet Bird Dog." PUSH/SHOVE, PULL/TAKE--An earlier discussion here traced "when push comes to shove" to African-American usage, although I didn't find it used in the "Willie Cool" series that ran in the Amsterdam News. A contrast can be found in The Sporting News, 24 November 1954, pg. 4, cols. 1-3, "More 'Pull' and Less 'Take' Brat's First-Base Recipe." SPITTER--The origin of the spitball is disputed. This information is never given. From The Sporting News, 23 November 1949, pg. 6, col. 5: Spitball Was Originated by an Outfielder in '02 Return of the spitball to the major leagues would revive an age-old controversy: "Who originated the troublesome pitch?" The argument was settled in 1940, when George Hildebrand, former major league umpire, told THE SPORTING NEWS: "In 1902, I was playing for Providence. I was warming up alongside of Frank Corriden, a rookie who was getting ready to pitch. He threw his slow ball by wetting the tips of his fingers. In kidding I took the ball and put a big daub of spit on it and threw it up to Pat McAuley, who was catching. The ball took such a peculiar hop that all three of us couldn't help but notice it. Later, I wound up with the Sacramento club and showed the pitch to Elmer Strickfeit, who introduced it into the majors." And what kind of a pitcher was Hildebrand, the originator of the spitball? No pitcher at all. He was an outfielder! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------- SUPERMODEL again Anthony Haden-Guest came to New York from London, so I'd like to check the British sources for "supermodel." A London tab, perhaps? Where's Leslie Dunkling when you need him?