Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 11:35:05 EDT


Subject: "my bad"

A new topic: I just got a call from Bob Greene of the Chicago Sun-Times. He's

trying to pin down the origin of the above, and all I was able to tell him was

that I've heard a sportscaster on ESPN's SportsCenter (a nightly highlight

show) use it in commenting on a fumble, an error, a missed easy shot, or the

like. The sense there is something like "my fault". I have the impression

it originates in B.E.V. or AAVE, but that's just an impression, and Greene

commented that he was struck by an experience of bumping into someone--a

middle-aged, middle-class white man--in the Atlanta airport and having that

fellow apologize by saying not "Excuse me" or "Sorry" but, yes, "My bad".

No irony here of the sort I detect with the sportscaster. So am I wrong about

the AAVE impression? Or did it start in that dialect group and spread at least

in Atlanta (or more generally in the Southeast)? I've certainly never come

across it in daily life myself, and unfortunately it seems to be impossible

to search Nexis without being overwhelmed by irrelevant cites of [my [bad N]],

where N = luck, tooth, judgment,....