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 Posted: Wed Jan 30th, 2008 08:02 pm
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andrch02
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I am in a stage reading of a musical about the life of Helen Keller (note: it's not at all related to "The Miracle Worker"). In it I play Captain Keller. The  playwright is still wrighting the play and is giving us pages as she goes. However I have a question about the language of the time, which Captain Keller would obviously still be using a few decades later.

The word "Lordy" I know is now quite common in southern speech (the playwright is southern). However would someone of Captain Keller's status use the term? The reason it stands out to me is I recall the scene in Gone with the Wind where Prissy yells "Lordy Miss Scarlet I don't know nuthin' about takin' care of a baby" and the other times when black characters use it in the movie. I watched the movie recently and I don't recall a white character using the word at all.

So my question is:

Was the word "Lordy" a southern black colloquial term at the time period of and immediately after the Civil War? And  if it was, when did it become more mainstream in the language?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

~andrch02



 Posted: Thu Jan 31st, 2008 03:40 pm
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David White
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Can't say I know the answer but I bet some of these books lsited at this link might help:

http://book-smith.tripod.com/civ-war-language.html

You might find these at a local library.

One is actually on line here, but you have to be a member to see the whole thing, not sure if it costs or not:

http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=102001629



 Posted: Thu Jan 31st, 2008 07:30 pm
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ole
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Was the word "Lordy" a southern black colloquial term at the time period of and immediately after the Civil War? And  if it was, when did it become more mainstream in the language?

Suspect that it was. And not something the refined would say. Will have to find that book on language and get back to you.

Did it become mainstream?

ole



 Posted: Fri Feb 1st, 2008 01:03 am
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andrch02
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David: Thanks, I'll get right on that!

ole: Yes it did become mainstream apparently, because the author (who is white) says she quite clearly remembers her dead Uncle using it.

Thanks to you both for helping!

~andrch02



 Posted: Fri Feb 1st, 2008 02:12 am
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Dixie Girl
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i guess it just something that people adopt over time just like everything else. it probably was a all black word for a while but some where down the line a few white people started using it to.



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 Posted: Fri Feb 1st, 2008 03:40 am
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ole
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I've never actually heard the word. I've seen it written, but no one has ever said it in my presence. But then, I've not met many people who might be expected to use it. Still determined to find that book. I think it's in the living room.

ole



 Posted: Fri Feb 1st, 2008 04:12 pm
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Johan Steele
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"Lordy" was not a black only word but one usually attributed to the less educated in place of the longer term: "Good Lord!". It was not an uncommon term in the 1860's.

I remember it from my slang dictionary... which for the life of me I can't find.  Curse you house elves!

Last edited on Fri Feb 1st, 2008 07:45 pm by Johan Steele



 Posted: Fri Feb 1st, 2008 04:46 pm
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javal1
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My Slang dictionary says:

Lordy Me (also Lordy): a mild oath or exclamation [colloquial, 1800's to present].

Since this dictionary usually specifies when something is associated with African-American dialect or slang,it makes me think Johan is probably correct.



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