Date: Tue, 13 Dec 1994 10:51:10 CST
From: salikoko mufwene mufw[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU
Subject: Re: Get Over It
In Message Mon, 12 Dec 1994 18:17:01 LCL, Lisa Gray lgray[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]washcp.com writes:
I'm a reporter for the Washington City Paper, and am working on a
story about how a phrase can temporarily take on an added meaning.
Specifically, I'm writing about Marion Barry's advice to white voters
upset that he'd won the Democratic mayoral primary: "Get over it."
Local politicians and the Washington media buzzed with the phrase for
a few weeks, turning it to whatever subject was at hand. Nervous about
voting for a Republican? Get over it. Do you believe Congress will
allow the District both a commuter tax and an increased federal
payment? Get over it. And so on.
Chances are that this phrase has carried with it some of the
interpretations it receives in African-American English. In Clarence Major's
JUBA TO JIVE (1994), one of the meanings of GET OVER (SOMETHING) is
'overcome difficulty; to survive hardship.' E.g., "I can get over it without
working too hard." In Geneva Smitherman's BLACK TALK (1994), GIT OVAH is
explained as follows:
1) A Traditional Black Church term referring to making it over to the
spiritual side of life, having struggled and overcome sin. "My soul look
back and wonder how I got ovah." 2) By extension, to overcome racism,
oppression, or any obstacle in the way to your goal.
Professor Smitherman may be reached at the following office number:
I hope this helps you,
Salikoko S. Mufwene
University of Chicago
Dept. of Linguistics
1010 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
s-mufwene[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]uchicago.edu
312-702-8531; fax: 312-702-9861