Dear Deborah White
"ya dig" not restricted to Black America, right, but I feel it entered White
slang in the jazz milieu. My generation: I was baby brother to six kids who
grooved in Big Band days. I'll scrounge around in texts, films of that era...
By the way, have you seen the movie "The Eagle Hs Landed"? WWII/WSC and all that
jazz. The "IRA man" who is collaborating with the Germans declines, at the
climax of the film, to escape with Michael Caine to Germany. Irish audiences
would die laughing to hear the misuse the periphrasis "after ...-ing". Not
understanding that it's a near-past, we hear his ntention: "I'm after stayin'
Deborah White wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> > There's a nice Gaelicism in line 3, below, cloaked in British slang:
> > "I <twigged>" -- almost unknown in North America, is from Gaelic <tuigim>
> > 'I understand.'
> Just to add to this.... In Cothrom Ionnsachaidh (a Scottish Gaelic text by
> Ronald Black), the following is given:
> dig: In the slang sense of "understand and appreciate" this is from an
> eclipsed form of "tuig" "understand", e.g. Sc. G. "An tuig thu sin?" "Do you
> understand this?"
> > In N. America another piece of the paradigm of the Gaelic verb 'to
> > understand' variant is known, the source being interrogative "<an tuig?>"
> > -- 'ya dig?'
> > Both show diffusion into "hip" speech, Brit or Yank, in the
> > former case from
> > Irish bars, in the latter case from Black jazz joints.
> > Nonetheless, this jazzman's "ya dig?" would seem to attest Irish-African
> > contact in the slave South..
> The use of "I can dig it" or "Can you dig it?" in America has been widely
> used as slang as far back as I can remember (and then some). It was a
> popular phrase during the Beat Generation, and, dating myself, throughout
> the 60s. It certainly hasn't been confined to Black jazz joints (or to the
> Black community at large), though what its origin is in America I can't say
> with certainty. It's likely that it did come from the Gaelic -- Scottish and
> Irish both.