Date: Tue, 4 Nov 1997 23:29:26 -0600
From: Samuel Jones smjones1[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU
Subject: Re: "so do me something" - Reply to Beth Simon's Inquiry
Is anyone familiar with the phrase, "So do me something" used
as a retort? Know anything about the origin?
assistant professor, linguistics and english
indiana university purdue university
simon[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]cvax.ipfw.indiana.edu
Nu (a Russian word meaning "well"), so I'll tell you . . .
The form of the expression "So do me something" is fundamentally German;
however, Hochdeutsch (High German) would never employ such expressions as
"Tu mir etwas" or "Also,tu mir etwas" or "Denn, tu mir 'was," because these
expressions mean "Do something TO me" and not "FOR me." The equivalent of
"So, do me something" in Modern High German would be "Also, [bitte] tu etwas
fuer mich [bitte]." Yiddish employs primarily German as its basis, plus a
Russian, Hebrew, and, so who knows what else? Such a Mischung! (The Yiddish
word "mish," meaning "mixture" or "mix," is also derived from German.) I. too,
suspect that the English is a sort of translation from some not-too kosher
It is quite possible and plausible that Ms. Simon's inquired-about
indeed derived out of German and comes to English via Yiddish, as is seen in a
number of responses to her inquiry.
Still, we have a bunch of expressions, like
"So, tell me something."
"So, do me a favor?"
"So, sing me a couple more verses."
"So., give me a little more time."
"So, how's by you?"
"So, give me another helping cheesecake?"
"So, you didn't like my challah?"
So, Simon, say maybe I'm a schlump, but don't sue me IF my shtik is shrecklich!
DR. SAMUEL M. JONES
Music & Latin American Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
"Pen-y-Bryn" - 122 Shepard Terrace
Madison, WI 53705-3614 USA
EMAIL: smjones1[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]facstaff.wisc.edu
TELEPHONE: 608 + 233-2150