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"michael breslauer" Discussed on A Way with Words: language, linguistics, and callers from all over

A Way with Words: language, linguistics, and callers from all over

05:47 min | 7 months ago

"michael breslauer" Discussed on A Way with Words: language, linguistics, and callers from all over

"Hey, Samantha. So my grandmother, she used to say a phrase that a lot of my peers have never heard of before. And whenever we were walking down the sidewalk together, holding hands, we come to some obstacle. We have to let go of each other's hands and she'd say bread and butter. And then we link back up again. And I didn't realize until I went on a school trip later with my friends walking on the sidewalk kind of the same deal. And they also what are you saying? Why are you saying that? It's just always made me wonder where that came from. I've never heard anyone else say it. So I was just wondering, what's this? What's the root of that phrase? So you're holding hands with your grandmother and so something comes between you like a mailbox or fire hydrant or a light pole. Yeah. Well, Samantha, you can tell your kids that you're carrying on a very, very old tradition. This goes back centuries. It's the idea that the two people who are going around that object should be inseparable. They should stay inseparable. You know, as inseparable as butter and bread, if you butter a piece of toast, you can't un butter it, right? That makes sense. It goes back to a very old superstition that evil spirits or even the devil could take various forms and come between people physically, you know, whether the devil takes the form of an animal or a pebble or a small child running between them, and if you don't do something to counteract that mishap, then the two of you may quarrel later, or have bad luck, and so there's there are a whole lot of phrases that you can use. Bread and butter, some people instead of saying bread and butter, they say needles and pins or one person says needles and the other person says pins and then they hook pinkies and make a silent wish. Milk and cheese are a longer one bread and butter come to supper. And also particularly among black speakers of American English, there's a long tradition of warning against splitting the pole you'll be told don't split the pole, which is that same idea that you don't want to separate the two people who are walking together. And if you want to show your Friends who've never heard this expression, a great example of this, there's a great episode of The Twilight Zone back in 1960 where a very young and very handsome William Shatner, he and his wife were walking along in their separated by lamp post, and he says, bread and butter. Oh, okay. So the bread and butter is saying is at least a hundred years old, but the superstition Martha, and I remembering that this is what we're talking back to the classical era as far as we know, right? Right, all the way back at least to St. Augustine in the fourth century ADs. Yeah, he has a passage about that, doesn't he grant? Yeah, I was talking about exactly like you said. Stones or dogs coming between friends walking arm in arm and how it's bad luck and sometimes how the dogs would go after the boys in order to get justice. Oh my goodness. I'm a Latin teacher. I will have to look up that section. Christina, I think the fourth chapter, if you want to find that inside Augustine oh, thank you so much. Oh wow. Well, thank you for teaching Latin, good for you. I'm glad to hear that still being taught in the schools. What grade do you teach? Anywhere, 6th grade through 12th grade. Wonderful. Doing the good work. Thank you for doing that Samantha. Yeah. Thanks. Thanks. You have a great day. Take care. Good luck. Bye bye. Bye. 877-929-9673 or email us words that wayward radio dot org. Our team includes senior producer Stephanie Levine, engineer and editor Tim Felton, and quiz guy John Chanel. We'd love to hear from you, no matter where you are in the world, go to wayward radio dot org slash contact. Subscribe to the podcast here hundreds of past episodes and get the newsletter at wayward radio dot ORG. Whenever you have a language story or question, our toll free line is open in the U.S. and Canada, one 8 7 7 9 two 9 9 6 7 three, or send your thoughts to words at wayward radio dot org. Away with words is an independent production of wayward Inc, a nonprofit supported by listeners and organizations who are changing the way the world talks about language. Special thanks to Michael breslauer, Josh eccles, Claire granting Bruce rogo, Rick sidon worm and Betty Willis. Thanks for listening. I'm Martha Barnett. And I'm grant Barrett until next

Samantha un William Shatner St. Augustine Stephanie Levine Tim Felton Martha John Chanel Augustine Christina wayward Inc Michael breslauer Josh eccles Canada U.S. Bruce rogo Rick sidon worm Betty Willis Claire Martha Barnett