- Series: Penguin Reference Books
- Paperback: 592 pages
- Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (February 1, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 014051306X
- ISBN-13: 978-0140513066
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,253,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Juba to Jive: A Dictionary of African-American Slang (Penguin Reference Books) Paperback – February 1, 1994
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From Library Journal
In this work, Major revises his earlier Dictionary of Afro-American Slang ( LJ 2/1/71) to include current and historical slang. This dictionary is a comprehensive study covering use by gangs, musicians, prisoners, and pimps and prostitutes; in street culture and youth culture; and in all geographic areas. Some of the newer entries include "divine rights" (what South Central L.A. teens call the police) and "be out" (a statement of support). Among older entries are "flyer with the roof slightly higher" (a stetson hat) and "soon-man" (an early riser). Arranged in alphabetical order, definitions are followed by use and origin references that are coded according to an elaborate and, at times, cumbersome abbreviation system. Nevertheless, this work is a solid reference source that belongs in every library. Highly recommended.
- Neal Wyatt, Mary Washington Coll. Lib., Fredericksburg, Va.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Slang is a means of distinguishing between us and them--in this case, the "homies" (defined here) and the larger, often unfriendly, world. Although slang is an attempt to separate a group, its terms are picked up by outsiders and altered as needed. Sometimes, as in the case of the term uptight--which went from meaning "good sex" to having a "mental or emotional disorder"--it undergoes a complete change of meaning. This dictionary may not make it possible to communicate with today's "gangstas" (a term that does not appear in the book) or "rappers" (which does), but it will assist those who encounter such terms in black authors or on TV. Major is a novelist and poet and the author of The Dictionary of African-American Slang (1970), on which this book is based.
A brief explanatory note describes the entries, the cultures from which they arose, and geographic areas of use, which are coded in the entries. Major lists his sources and uses a simple code in entries to refer back to the source. Thus, the source for cogs, a 1930s Harlem term for sunglasses, can be traced to two books by Cab Calloway. Sources range from Flexner's I Hear American Talking to Zora Neale Hurston's novels, newspaper articles, and the novels of Donald Goines. All entries note the decade in which the word was first used, and most have an example sentence.
Major's claim for the exclusivity of some of his terms is weak. Duking as a term for fist-fighting is not uniquely black. (See Jonathon Green, The Dictionary of Contemporary Slang, p.83.) Gaspers as a synonym for cigarettes appears frequently in P. G. Wodehouse and is cited in The Oxford English Dictionary as far back as 1914.
This book reflects the varied worlds of black slang from the witty 1940s phrase "straight up six o'clock girl" for a very thin woman to the grim euphemism "dime bag" for $10 worth of marijuana or morphine. There is plenty of prison, drug, and crime slang, with words and phrases to offend every sensibility. This dictionary will be a useful addition to any public or academic library and a necessary purchase for any special collection on African Americans or slang and unconventional English. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Why is that important? Because as our economy expands knowing how to understand and use the slanguage makes you a social threat to those who are ignorant of it. With the ability comes the freedom to go from the Hood to the White House without missing a beat.
And with the awareness of young white children expanding because of the growing epidemic of Hip-Hop suburban parents need to get up on top of it in order to know what in the world their children are saying.
As a matter of fact due to the impact of Hip-Hop language the slanguage has expanded. Now what you don't know keeps you locked out to the point where you're an outsider. But if you want to stay in step tune into this book.
This dictionary is well put together with a great deal of history behind every word. Clarence Major's input in the introduction further preps you for the expansive nature of the African-American culture. Whether you're into expanding your knowledge of language, slanguage, idioms or language development you need to acquire this book and expand your understanding of the history behind Black Slang words. So Juba, what you goin' do? Have me tell you what everyword means? or are you going to step out and take your own life by the horns.
Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
Thsi book is invaluable to the scholar of language. I spent the last 2 years patiently hunting for this book as it is out of publication. I actually bought it at twice the cover price because it is that good. There is no higher that I can recommend this book. As the tapestry of language is art, this would be one of Picasso's treasured brushes.
It is explicit language but it is not at all gratuitous. 5 HUGE stars.