Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 10:23:20 -0500

From: Gregory {Greg} Downing downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]IS2.NYU.EDU

Subject: Re: "Nary?"

At 09:09 AM 10/27/97 -0600, you ("Emerson, Jessie J" jjemerso[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]INGR.COM ) wrote:

Usage citations run from 1746 to 1974....

And it is still alive in kicking in some parts of North Alabama.

"Nary a" and/or other ways of saying this ("neer a") are pretty common in

Faulkner in books published from the late 20s to the late 50s with a

north-Mississippi setting.... Anse Bundren uses it early in As I Lay Dying

(1930?) if memory serves; I don't have the book here at the office.

Also, the phrase is used jocularly by urban folks. About five years ago one

of US talkshow host Tom Snyder's catch-phrases (he used it often enough so I

happened to hear it several times without hearing his show often) was (more

or less), "There's nary a whisper of chicken in Chicken McNuggets." I

believe Snyder is from small-town Wisconsin (?) but he has worked as a

broadcaster in urban markets for something like 40 years now.

Gregory {Greg} Downing, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]