Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Etymology Lesson

Last night I was reading a story about kids in sixth grade and asked Ben if he was familiar with the phrase “Duh-Hay.” He said no, but he knew the phrase, “Uh-duh.” I said, “What about “Adoyee!” He said he was familiar with adoyee, but we had a debate about spelling. I’ve always seen it in my mind as I just spelled it. Ben said, “No, it’s uh-doi-ee. With hyphens.” I explained why I thought it was adoyee. I showed him, on paper, the evolution from duh, to aduh, to adoy, to adoyee. He said he disagreed, that the dashes emphasized the syllables more, that the “i” and the subsequent hyphen in uh-doi-ee acted as a spring for the “ee” to bounce off of, that it was onomatopoetic. Then he asked me if I knew the phrase “toh-heh.” (Or, “Oooh, toh-heh,” and I’d like to add that this is as odd-sounding and hard to say as it looks.) I said, “Only because I’ve heard you try to tell me you used to say it.” I asked him how it was spelled, and I was corrected. “No, it’s ‘tor-heh’ – t-o-r – you don’t hear the r?” I said, “Um, no.” He said, “Listen: tawww-heh.” I said, “Oh, sort of like with a Boston accent.” “Yes,” he said. “And what is the origin of this phrase, do you suppose?” He said, “Well, actually, there’s a longer version of it that goes, ‘Oooh, tor-heh awh yor heh!’” I asked him to spell it so I could write it down. He said, “It’s a way of saying, ‘tore hair off your head’. Like if someone insults you, especially a girl, it’s like she tore some hair off your head. “Ooooh! Tor-heh-awh-yor-heh!” I told him when I was in high school we called this a soup, or if someone really dissed you, double or even, “Oooh, triple soup!”

I SO married the right guy.


B. E. Pinkham said...

Oh, please, please read this one when you do the radio thing with Amy Krouse Rosenthal! I don't care that you'll have to spell 'em out, I just want to hear you say 'em!

Betsy said...

Ha! Too late, it was taped a while ago.

teo said...

Ah, uhm,....no doy an duh hey now!

No. Duh.