LINGUIST List 4.686

Sat 11 Sep 1993

Disc: Uptalk, Y'all, OK

Editor for this issue: <>


Directory

  1. Penny Lee, Re: Uptalk?
  2. Ronald Fein, uptalk
  3. Anne T Gilman, 'inappropriate English:' Y'ALL
  4. , RE: 4.670 Qs: Conversation, Phonetics, OK, Wolf
  5. , History of OK
  6. wachal robert s, Re: 4.670 Qs: Conversation, Phonetics, OK, Wolf
  7. Vicki Fromkin, o.k.

Message 1: Re: Uptalk?

Date: Fri, 3 Sep 1993 17:43:03 +Re: Uptalk?
From: Penny Lee <edplcc.flinders.edu.au>
Subject: Re: Uptalk?

>Alex Monaghan said:
>> karen kay writes:
>>
>> > I thought that bimbo was Italian for 'child'?
>>
>> is this a case of "uptalk" (recent newspaper article starring mclemore)
>> in orthography? if so, is it common? i find it really bizarre to mark this
>> kind of thing with a question mark?
>
>I don't know what uptalk is. I used the question mark to indicate rising
>intonation, which I would use if I were saying this sentence. I use
>question intonation for statements I'm not quite sure of. I think this
>is a common feature of English
>
>Karen Kay

What's called 'high rising intonation in statements' is an increasingly
common feature of Australian English first noticed as an aberration in an
interview situation in 1965. Its social distribution has been studied and
also its meaning and function. For five references see Turner, George.
1991. "Australian English and general studies of English" in Michael Clyne
(ed) LINGUISTICS IN AUSTRALIA: TRENDS IN RESEARCH. Academy of the Social
Sciences in Australa. Canberra.(!SBN 0 908290 17 9.

Regards, Penny Lee.
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Message 2: uptalk

Date: Thu, 9 Sep 1993 09:58:05 -uptalk
From: Ronald Fein <fein2husc.harvard.edu>
Subject: uptalk


I read that article too, although I don't remember where. The locution in
question is exactly what the author meant by uptalk, which Karen Kay has
defined rather precisely as rising intonation to indicate uncertainty.

Ron Fein 25 Ellery Street Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
fein2husc11.harvard.edu fein2husc11.bitnet (617) 576-0640
 ............. "But this one goes to 11." - Nigel Tufnel
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Message 3: 'inappropriate English:' Y'ALL

Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1993 09:16:36 'inappropriate English:' Y'ALL
From: Anne T Gilman <atgc3serve.c3.lanl.gov>
Subject: 'inappropriate English:' Y'ALL


Clearly, some'a y'all have NEVer been south of the Mason-Dixon line!

The abbreviated form of "you-all" is considered not only appropriate but
necessary from southern Maryland to northern San Antonio! And while the
derivation of the spelling (apostrophe and all) may not have been overseen
by a grammarian, the form is adhered to across the southern states.

 Anne Gilman
 formerly of Alexandria, VIRGINIA

PS This is my first posting.
 Y'all are terrific!
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Message 4: RE: 4.670 Qs: Conversation, Phonetics, OK, Wolf

Date: Fri, 10 Sep 93 01:14 MET
From: <WERTHalf.let.uva.nl>
Subject: RE: 4.670 Qs: Conversation, Phonetics, OK, Wolf

Re: the origin of O.K. There are dozens of different stories on this old
chestnut, but to my mind the most convincing by far is that it was part
of black slave talk, originally used as a private code, and like many
other black words, can be traced back to Wolof, a language of the Gold
Coast (I think) which was a main staging area for slavers. (I ain't
selling no Wolof tickets on this one...). The work was done by someone
at S.O.A.S. in London about 20 years ago, but the name and a lot of the
details have blurred with time. I do, however, remember some of the
examples: OK was something like 'waw kay', literally 'alright', the
word for 'man' was 'guy' (or perhaps 'gay'!) while the word for 'pink'
was 'hong'. This with an agentive suffix -ki gives 'hongki', 'pink one'.
I remember the stuff was a lot more linguistically and sociologically
convincing than 'Old Kinderhook' or 'orl korrekt'!
greetings,
Paul Werth.
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Message 5: History of OK

Date: Thu, 9 Sep 93 14:20 EST
From: <KROVETZ%coinsCS.UMASS.EDU>
Subject: History of OK

Alan Walker Read has written several papers about this:

 Read A W, `The Folklore of "O.K."', American Speech, Vol. 39, pp. 5-25, 1964

 Read A W, `Later Stages in the History of "O.K."', American Speech, Vol. 39,
 pp. 83-101, 1964

 Read A W, `Successive Revisions in the History of "O.K."', American Speech,
 Vol. 39, pp. 243-267, 1964

He found that it came from two sources, "Old Kinderhook", an expression used
in the presidential campaign of Martin Van Buren, and "Oll Korect".

Bob

krovetzcs.umass.edu
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Message 6: Re: 4.670 Qs: Conversation, Phonetics, OK, Wolf

Date: Thu, 9 Sep 1993 15:22:46 -Re: 4.670 Qs: Conversation, Phonetics, OK, Wolf
From: wachal robert s <rwachalumaxc.weeg.uiowa.edu>
Subject: Re: 4.670 Qs: Conversation, Phonetics, OK, Wolf

OK comes from Oll Korrect a jocular newspaper spelling of the 19th C in
the US. i know this sounds implausible but it is well authenticated.
trust me.
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Message 7: o.k.

Date: Thu, 09 Sep 93 20:01 PDT
From: Vicki Fromkin <IYO1VAFUCLAMVS.bitnet>
Subject: o.k.

I am sending this to LINGUIST as well as to the 'query asker' since it
may be of interest to others but I leave it to the editors as to whether
you want to include it.
 ====================================================================

Definition of O.K. as given in HORSE-FEATHERS& OTHER CURIOUS
WORDS by Charles Earle Funk and Charles Earle Funk, Jr., 1986.
Perennial Library, Harper & Row.

"Although these initials are now known and used around the world
and have been in common American usage for a hundred years, the
source was a matter of great disputation through most of that
period. Some attributed it to illiteracy displayed by Andrew
Jackson, who, they said, wrote O.K. as the initials of "Oll
Korrect." Others thought the source was a misreading of the
initials O.R., "Order Recorded", indicating official approval
of a document. And some believed that the initials were an
erroneous rendering of the Choctaw okeh "it is so". All
dispute ceased in 1941. In that year, in the July 19 issue of the
Saturday Review of Literature, in an 8 page article, "The
Evidence on O.K.", Allen Walker Read laid the ghost for all
time. By dint of much research he traced the initials back to
1840, finding the first appearance in print in the NY New Era
of March 23. The reference was to a political organization
supporting the candidacy of Martin Van Buren for a second term in
the White House. The members called themselves the Democratic
O.K. Club, taking the initials from Old Kinderhook, a title
bestowed upon Van Buren from the name of the village, Kinderhook,
in the valley of the Hudson where he was born. The mystifying
initials, as a sort of rallying cry, caught the fancy of other
supporters immediately, and were used, according to the NY Herald
of March 28, by these supporters in a raid upon a meeting of the
Whigs the previous evening. "About 500 stout, strapping men,"
the paper reported, "marched three and three, noiselessly and
orderly. The word O.K. was passed from mouth to mouth, a cheer
was given, and they rushed into the hall upstairs, like a
torrent."
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