Date: Fri, 31 Oct 1997 19:39:18 EST
From: Monkmag Monkmag[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: Re: "my bad"
In a message dated 10/28/97 8:55:29 AM, you wrote:
A new topic: I just got a call from Bob Greene of the Chicago Sun-Times.
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
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,....
In the hoops section of my recent book, How to Talk American, I talk about its
use in street basketball. I'll bet you that white guy in the Atlanta Airport
was a basketball player or coached basketball or had a son who played regular
basketball. It's definitely heard quite frequently on the courts. For example,
you drive down the court on a three and one. Rather than pass to one of your
wide open teammates under the basket, you instead choose to shoot a three-
pointer, which you miss. Everyone knows you made a bonehead play, but will cut
you some slack, if in running back down court you say, "I'm sorry guys, my
You can pass that on to Mr. Greene.
Author, How To Talk American
monkmag[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]aol.com