Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 11:54:27 -0800


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).

Scott Schwenter