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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Azizi BS: Separated by a common language (163* d) RE: BS: Separated by a common language 25 Oct 09

Also, I've received a number of examples from readers to my website on children's playground rhymes that include the word "bum" (meaning "butt") and I realized that because of that I automatically made the assumption that those contributors weren't African American, but I also jumped to the conclusion that they were British. But I'm curious whether the word "bum" meaning "butt", "behind", "hiney", "ass", and "booty"* is used colloquially among Anglo-Americans, Canadians, and people from Australia.

I'm curious about this because I think it points to the fact that populations within the same nation can be separated by a common language.

*Two other words in the USA that mean the same thing as "bum" does in the UK are "bottom" and "backside". When I used to go around to pre-schools and kindergarten classrooms to tell stories, I've heard White teachers say "Sit on your bottoms" to their classrooms of students. But few African Americans (including African American teachers) use the word "bottom". I'm sure that the children learned what "Sit on your bottom" means, but I don't think "bottom meaning "butt" is a word that they had heard prior to going to school. And I doubt that "bottom" is used that way in most African American homes. The word "backside" is more likely to be used.

"Booty" is a colloquial term that is mostly used in dance songs and children's handclap rhymes and cheers (as in "shake your bootie"). A "booty call" means a person who calls another person for some sex.

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