People who hunt treasure with metal detectors have a lingo all their own. Canslaw means the shreds of aluminum cans left after a lawnmower ran over them. And gold dance? That’s the happy jig you do if you find something far more valuable than an old can. Plus, a splendid new dictionary offers an in-depth look at the rich language of Southern Appalachia, from parts of West Virginia to Georgia. And why do television announcers greet viewers with the phrase “welcome back” after a commercial break? Weren’t they the ones who went away? Plus, coinball, bacon bats, Katzensprung, quote unquote vs. quote end quote, a quiz about synonyms, joke tags, dials and smiles, low sick, took a dump, get out of my bathtub!, and more.
This episode first aired July 10, 2021. It was rebroadcast the weekend of June 18, 2022.
The lingo of metal detectorists is full of colorful terms: A coinball is a clot of earth with a coin in it, a nighthawk is someone who detects without a permit under cover of darkness, a gold dance is a gleeful jig upon discovering precious metal, and canslaw refers to shreds of aluminum cans left after a lawnmower ran over them. The hobby of metal detecting is the subject of the quirky BC comedy Detectorists, about a pair of lovable nerds, and celebrated by more stylish enthusiasts on Instagram.
Sam in Brooklyn, New York, recalls that as a child in Arkansas, she and her friends would say Get out of my bathtub! when more than one child on a swing set began swinging in sync. Over the years, listeners have shared other versions, including Get out of my shower!, Get out of my window!, and Get out of my toilet! Still others call that motion double-dating, or even exclaim Look! We’re married!
Sandy from Richmond, Virginia, says her mother would fondly recall the bacon bats she participated in while a student at Smith College. A bacon bat was a festive outdoor picnic that featured bacon and other savory treats cooked over an open fire. The bat in bacon bat is an old term that meant “spree” or “debauched activity,” but by the time Smithies and other college kids were enjoying bacon bats, they were just good clean fun.
Ross in Lyme, New Hampshire wonders what those machines that dispense tickets at the entrance to a parking garage are called. In the business, they’re referred to as ticket spitters, entry stations, or parking ticket dispensers.
The splendid new Dictionary of Southern Appalachian English (Bookshop|Amazon), edited by Michael Montgomery and Jennifer Heinmiller, is a greatly expanded version of the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English (Amazon), edited by Montgomery and Joseph S. Hall. The newer dictionary covers a wider geographical range and includes a thorough discussion of the grammar and syntax of that region of the United States. Among the terms included: daybust, another word for “the break of day”; blue snow, a term for “fine, extremely cold, powdery snow”; and good dark, “the period of night following twilight.”
Alouette from Nelson, New Hampshire, grew up using the term hosey in order to claim something, as in I hosey that! The word’s origin is uncertain, although some speculate that hosey derives from holdsie, as in I put a hold on something. Variants include hoosey, hornsey, and honsie. Other expressions to lay claim to something desired include finnie, fin dibs, fin whackie. An article by Horace Reynolds in the journal American Speech lists many more, including this one from Ireland, which expresses not only claimed possession but the new owner’s unwillingness to share any part of it at all: Fen dibs, fen shackies, no dibs, no aikies, no chips, no divvies, and no halveens.
Metal detecting hobbyists who love tweaking their detecting devices are jokingly described by their peers as dials and smiles.
A Dallas-area police officer is curious about low sick, a term which he and his fellow officers use to describe someone dangerously ill. Sometimes rendered as low sig, the expression is largely associated with the speech of African Americans, and appears in such works as Simple Stakes a Claim by Langston Hughes (Amazon) and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (Bookshop|Amazon).
JJ spent much of his life in Rhode Island but now lives in Racine, Wisconsin, which has led to some hilarious misunderstandings involving the different dialects of those regions. For one thing, his neighbors in the Midwest made certain assumptions he hadn’t expected when JJ described a problem that forced him to take a dump on the ice.
Books Mentioned in the Episode
|Dictionary of Southern Appalachian English edited by Michael Montgomery and Jennifer Heinmiller (Bookshop|Amazon)|
|Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English edited by Montgomery and Joseph S. Hall (Amazon)|
|Simple Stakes a Claim by Langston Hughes (Amazon)|
|Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (Bookshop|Amazon)|
Music Used in the Episode
|Clean Up||Jackie Mittoo||Keep On Dancing||Studio One|
|Holy Thursday||David Axelrod||Songs Of Innocense||Capitol|
|Taste Of Soul||Jackie Mittoo||Keep On Dancing||Studio One|
|Con-Funk-Shun||The Nite-Liters||The Nite-Liters||RCA|
|This Scorcher||Jackie Mittoo||Keep On Dancing||Studio One|
|Water Hole||Jackie Mittoo||Keep On Dancing||Studio One|
|London||David Axelrod||Songs Of Experience||Capitol|
|Blue Lue||Jackie Mittoo||Keep On Dancing||Studio One|
|Volcano Vapes||Sure Fire Soul Ensemble||Out On The Coast||Colemine Records|