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Re: Ass metonymy (WAS: a bad essay)

From:Paul Kershaw <ptkershaw@...>
Date:Saturday, February 7, 2009, 15:49
> From: R A Brown <ray@...> > Sai Emrys wrote: > > On Fri, Feb 6, 2009 at 10:13 PM, Paul Kershaw > > wrote: > >> I question your use of "even." Ass can be used as a subject in SAE: > >> "Some ass just called me. Stupid pranks." > > > > IMO though this is a very distinct use of 'ass' - it's the old use (i.e. > jackass, an annoying person); not the AAVE use (i.e. metonymic buttocks for the > person). > > Exactly. "Some ass called me this" is quite normal, tho maybe a bit dated, Brit > English - where, as is well-known, the buttocks word is _arse_.
Historically, "ass" as an insult referred to donkey, certainly. I'm not convinced that's entirely the case anymore. For one thing, there's (at least) one joke punning off the two senses, the short version being: "Are you a donkey's head? No? Then you must be an ass." To be convinced that "ass" always means "jackass, donkey" when it refers to another person in SAE, especially to younger people, I'd need to see an actual poll result, not just anecdotals and "feels like it" from people who know the history. -- Paul