Date: Mon, 3 Nov 1997 10:42:27 -0600

From: "Emerson, Jessie J" jjemerso[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]INGR.COM

Subject: "black talk vs. white talk" (was "origins of slang")

How slang is distributed is another question (the first being where

slang originates).

Slang originates in many places, including AAVE, Southern speech (as

we've seen on this list), the speech of varying immigrants through the

years (as we've also seen on this list), etc., etc.

"Popular" culture watches certain T.V. programs/movies and listens to

certain music, "college" culture watches/listens to other types,

"country" culture watches/listens to still other types, etc., etc.

Thus, the distribution of slang doesn't have to be limited to "popular

culture." In the "country" culture of North Alabama, you don't hear

young people say "my bad" or "bust a move." You do hear it in North

Alabama in other "culture" groups.

It seems to me that people don't immediately think about slang coming

from "white talk" because in many areas of the country Standard American

English is the norm (and I suspect this is what everyone on the list is

refering to as "white talk"), not because it is "white talk", but

because T.V. and radio news and other non-entertainment programs have

become widespread. It sounds very similar to the situation that has

been going on for decades in Great Britain. I just don't think the

average citizen of the U.S. is aware of it, because dialects here are

not so vastly different over such relatively small areas (as they are in


My opinion, based on aging college notes,

Jessie Emerson

Greg Downing wrote:

And I absolutely agree with your other point (which I clipped out --


that a lot of these catch phrases come into wide usage via popular


-- TV and movies etc.--, just as a century ago they'd have done so


music-hall songs or routines, or political sloganeering, etc. (Examine


clear, or hazy, origins of many items in Partridge's _Dictionary of