Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 11:54:27 -0800
From: Scott Schwenter schwen[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Subject: Re: over there--why?
I asked for this information because Chicano English speakers in
Sterling, Illinois routinely refer to Mexico as "over there." I didn't
think any non-hispanics had this usage, but I wanted to be sure.
11 people more or less agreed that "over there" would mean only Europe,
mainly Asia. Tom Clark confirmed what I suspected, that "over there" for
Mexico is a SW usage. Funny thing is, none of my informants have TxMex
ancestry; all are children of Mexican immigrants, presumably learned
ENglish in Illinois.
As an undergrad, I worked summers as an interpreter at a health clinic in
Michigan for migrant workers, most of whom came from the Rio Grande Valley
area of Texas. Although it was often difficult to tell if their use of
"over there" referred to Texas or Mexico (they often gave addresses in
Brownsville, but actually lived in Mexico), other times it was clear,
especially when comparing the health services in MI with the ones "over
there", meaning the migrant clinics in the Rio Grande Valley. Some of these
workers were born in Mexico, others in the US. Before I heard this,
however, I had no sense of "over there" was (I grew up in MI).