Tuesday, January 13, 2009

John Wycliffe did "Ebonics"? Who knew?

Wycliffe's rendering of Exodus 3:22 —
...but a womman schal axe of hir neiyboresse and of her hoosteesse siluerne vesselis, and goldun, and clothis, and ye schulen putte tho on youre sones and douytris, and ye schulen make nakid Egipt.
(I was seeing what history there was behind the KJV's misleading "borrow.")

For any readers uninitiated in re. Ebonics:
The word
The academic-ish la-de-da-dification
The incomparable La Shawn Barber (and again)
The translator
The bumper-sticker


Rachael Starke said...

...and inventive spelling.

Trinian said...

Now I'm at the edge of my seat in suspense. Did you find the answer? How did that misleading translation originate? Most KJV-isms are fairly easy to trace back, but this one is befuddling.

Gary Zimmerli said...

I like the KJV's rendering of the end of that verse:

"and ye shall spoil the Egyptians."

I think it has a different meaning today!

Mesa Mike said...

My how spelling has changed over the centuries! Back in Wycliff's day, "borrow" was spelled, "a-x-e."
That's quite a change.

SolaMommy said...

As someone who lives in the ghetto...I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

P.D. Nelson said...

Dude Ebonics is so 90's.

threegirldad said...

Btw, "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo." Can you go pick it up for me?


LeeC said...

" P.D. Nelson said...
Dude Ebonics is so 90's"


CR said...



Most people will not get this, but that was funny Lee.

SolaMommy said...


I could never quite master the "running man."

Can you believe rap videos used to be so clean?! There's not one hoochie-mama in that whole thing!

threegirldad said...


That song was the first time I heard someone say "axe" for "ask."

And yes, the difference (in general) between Rap videos then and now, is...eye-opening. Ahem.