Author Topic: ... folks dat did dey be wuth shootin’ ...  (Read 6716 times)

Offline xiemengxing

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... folks dat did dey be wuth shootin’ ...
« on: November 17, 2014, 04:49:54 pm »
Hello everyone,

I have come across some "special English" and I feel it very difficult to understand:

Ah has said time an’ again, it doan do no good doin’ nuthin’ fer w’ite trash. Dey is de shiflesses, mos’ ungrateful passel of no-counts livin’. An’ Miss Ellen got no bizness weahin’ herseff out waitin’ on folks dat did dey be wuth shootin’ dey’d have niggers ter wait on dem. An’ Ah has said---’   (Gone with the wind)

I can guess out some after reading it several times:

I has said time and again, it don't do no good doing nothing for white trash. They is the shiftless, most ungrateful passel of no-counts living. And Miss Ellen got no business [....] herself out waiting on folks that did [...] be worth (?) shooting they'd have niggers to wait them. And I has said.

I know the author is imitating the tone of the speaker, and the speaker is somewhat illiterate.
What are the normal words in these brackets?
I have no idea about "no-counts living", either. It seems to me that "no-counts" means a kind of people, and "living" is a participle that modifies "no-counts". But what's it?



Thank you.



« Last Edit: November 17, 2014, 04:54:06 pm by xiemengxing »

Offline Darryl

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Re: ... folks dat did dey be wuth shootin’ ...
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2014, 10:39:35 pm »
I can understand your difficulty in understanding that!
I'm guessing that 'no-counts' means something like 'no-accounts' - people who can't account for their actions. Something like that. Obviously a term restricted to a dialect of Southern America.
'Weahin' herseff out' would equate to 'wearing herself out'.
'Dey' = they, "dat' = that, but I'm not sure about 'dat did dey'.

Offline Bertha

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Re: ... folks dat did dey be wuth shootin’ ...
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2014, 12:42:34 am »
"An’ Miss Ellen got no bizness weahin’ herseff out waitin’ on folks dat did dey be wuth shootin’" = And Miss Ellen has no business wearing herself out [by] waiting on folks that would be worth shooting." 

The speech patterns of the characters such as Mammy were meant to replicate Black Americans in the Southern U.S.  The dialect is still present even today.
Bertha

Offline xiemengxing

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Re: ... folks dat did dey be wuth shootin’ ...
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2014, 01:09:35 am »
Thank you. Your replies have enlightened me so much.

Another question,
What does "shooting" here mean?
I think it means as it is literally: to kill (with a bullet) .
I consulted a translation and it says it means "wait on". Is it so?

Re: "did dey be"
Could it be possible that "did" here means something like "if"?

Thanks again.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 01:14:27 am by xiemengxing »

Offline Darryl

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Re: ... folks dat did dey be wuth shootin’ ...
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2014, 08:03:21 am »
I think 'shootin' ' has its literal meaning (albeit an exaggeration). As for the rest, I think your interpretations are as good as any we can offer here.
If I were reading that, I would not agonise over the exact interpretation too much, so long as you get the main idea.  :)

Offline Bertha

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Re: ... folks dat did dey be wuth shootin’ ...
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2014, 11:32:11 am »
If they were worth shooting, they would have black servants. The speaker apparently believes that wealthy people are the only people who are worth the trouble of shooting. I suppose the broader meaning could be "If they were worth anything, they would have black servants."

Bertha