And, of course, there's the slang you never see. I've yet to see the slang my father used or that white suburban kids of my generation used in South Africa in the nineties in any of the novels set in that period that I've read. The same thing applies to black slang. Tsotsitaal -- the slang developed by black criminals seldom appears in books. Of course there is the problem of understanding -- hence the way that Can Themba, a black writer who produced some great short stories in the fifties, some of them noirish (with the emphasis on the -ish), wrote his works in an English that seemed to have been translated from another language. The same is true of Herman Charles Bosman who wrote in an English that reads like it was translated from Afrikaans. (His 'Cold Stone Jug' about the time he spent in prison for manslaughter is an absolute classic.) It's sad -- to me at least -- that these words will disappear. One thing about Hemingway and Hammett and others of
that generation -- they didn't just use slang, they mythologised it.
From: jacquesdebierue <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 1:12:40 AM
Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: The Horsemen
--- In rara-avis-l@ yahoogroups. com, BaxDeal@... wrote:
> similarly, nobody who's actually from L.A. refers to Los Angeles as Lala
> land. of course, nobody who's actually IN L.A. is from L.A.
> John Lau
Frisco is pretty funny, too... How much fake vocabulary do people pick up from books and movies? Like the shamus, the dame, etc. I've had very, very old people tell me that this business of "dames" was not common parlance. They had other words.
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