Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 23:26:41 -0500

From: Laurence Horn laurence.horn[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YALE.EDU

Subject: Re: Poker; Jew; Pimp; White House; Java; Johnny Cake; Salt River; at


Beverly Flanagan writes,

On journey cake: If the term originated in New England, it would be

pronounced r-less, hence folk-shifted to "johnny." Since Philadelphia

was r-pronouncing, the newspaper doesn't see (or jokingly pretends not

to see?) that the new term has nothing to do with a man's name. DARE

must have this explanation, but I don't have it at hand.

I'm not sure which etymology Barry was earlier presupposing, nor do I have

a DARE on me as I write, but my understanding has always been that "journey

cake" was a second-order folk-etymology. While "johnny cake" derives--so

I've read--from a Native American (Narragansett?) term local to Rhode

Island that 'ought' to have come out something like "jonakin", "journey

cake" is itself a motivated reconstruction of johnny cake. Not that

different a history from, say, "Welsh rarebit" as a motivated

reconstruction of the historically correct "Welsh rabbit", at least insofar

as the "folk" involved in each case aren't really the FOLK per se, but a

prescriptivist who claims to know the true story and of course botches it

all up--or so I'd like to believe. Is this wrong? Is there (contra my

sources) a real "journey cake" antedating the first "jo(h)nnycake"?

Larry, writing from Connecticut (not too far from johnny cake country)