Tuesday, October 19, 2004

What's Up, Bubba?

Citizens Voice of the Day:

"I've gotten the speed clicker on the boulevard up to 58. Is that the
high score?"

"No, 58 is not the high speed on the boulevard. I had it up to 72."

(The city traffic department occasionally puts one of those radar-gun trailers with the big digital numbers around town to remind drivers that the speed limit is 30 MPH.)
I asked our neighbor, Alvin, a Conch and a Bubba* about the greeting that I hear a lot among the Conchs. The greeting is "alright", pronounced with the second syllable rising about an octave. Alvin says that it's a brief answer to the more complete exchange, "What's up, Bubba? Are you alright?. Al-RIGHT!"

*Bubba is the term used in Key West by Conchs to refer to each other. It's almost exclusively a male thing. Interestingly, it is also commonly used along the coast of New England, especially in Seabrook, NH, where the form is often "Ayuh, Bubba." There may be a seaport connection in this, as there is in the architecture of the two places.

By the 1860s, 'bubba' was a term of affection meaning 'brother' or 'father'. The word is still used between friends, but can also be used in a negative way, in reference to relatively poor, uneducated men.

No comments:

Use OpenDNS