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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Comments About The Word "Bae" From A YouTube Discussion Thread About Pharrell's "Come Get It Bae" Record

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part III of a three part series on the English slang word "bae". This post quotes selected comments from the discussion thread of Pharrell Williams' 2014 Pop song entitled "Come Get It Bae". The video of that Pop song is also included in this post.

Part I provides my definition of the word "bae" as well as online excerpts from an article and comments about that word. Click for that post. Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/04/what-english-word-bae-really-means.html for that post.

Part II of this post provides another excerpt of an article about the word "bae" as well as comments from that article. Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/04/what-bae-really-means-where-it-came.html for that post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural and etymological reasons.
I'm most interested in the general topic of how the English language has changed and continues to change because of its incorporation of slang in general and African American slang, in particular.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to Pharrell Williams and others featured in that video and thanks to the publisher of that video on YouTube.

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FEATURED VIDEO: Pharrell Williams - Come Get It Bae



PharrellWilliamsVEVO, Published on Jul 23, 2014

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SELECTED COMMENTS FROM THAT VIDEO'S DISCUSSION THREAD
These selected comments about the word "bae" are representative of those in that discussion thread but aren't meant to be the only such comments in that thread. I've presented these comments in relative chronological order with the oldest comments given first. However, these comments may not be in consecutive order.

Numbers have been assigned to these comments for referencing purposes only.

Note that this video's discussion thread contains a number of comments that include profanity, homophobic language, and/or sexually explicit references. Those example aren't quoted in this post.

1. Super C 3 months ago
"Can we please leave the term "Bae" in 2014? It's stupid, overused, not funny and simply does not make any sence."

**
2. Mark Miller 3 months ago
"Bae Is A word Now It is Created By the American Main Stream Slang It's Definition Is 'Before Anyone Else' To Those Of You Who Didnt Understand It is Also slang For 'Babe'"

**
[Editor: These next two comments were posted in response to a statement that "bae" is Danish for "poop"]
3. Mangatamoon 3 months ago
"But the song isn't Danish
Did you know that pain is bread in French?"

**
4. Crystal Productions 3 months ago
"Did you know I'm not taking a danish or a french class? Im good."

**
5. iRok Note3 3 months ago
"Whenever a new "slang" becomes mainstream and I hear the so-called "purist" vent and blast off about how that slang should die off and how "not-so English" it is, I laugh till my ribs hurt.

WHAT IS LANGUAGE?: the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and CONVENTIONAL way.

Ask yourself this common sense question - HOW WAS LANGUAGE DEVELOPED - The masses largely create language. Do you have any idea the percentage of words recognized by the academia that came out of the masses ...?
ALMOST EVERY WORD IN ANY WRITTEN LANGUAGE IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD AND EVEN IN KLINGON .... DUMMY. We the masses create language. We EVOLVE LANGUAGE.

And for those saying "Bae" means poop in Danish .. so what? ... do you know what most English and medical words sound like in Ashanti, Mandarin, Ibo languages etc. which we used to make fun off back in high school?

Call up any ethnic individual, they will always find a word in English or from another language that sounds horrible/ weird in their mother tongue. GET OVER YOURSELVES.
Language was not created by Kings and Queens. It was created by Apes, Adam and Eve or some Anthropod... what ever belief rocks your boat.

My point is ... WE THE MASSES CREATE LANGUAGE ... not your high and mighty tight-up "Oxford Dictionary mentality"

FYI - Oxford Dictionary like many others is responsible for over 100 new words added to the English dictionary every year that was BORROWED from the streets and other languages."

**
6. A Ria 2 months ago
"If you're complaining about the word "bae" and say the English language is dying I'm guessing you have never used "babe" or "baby" to refer to your significant other so just stop"

**
7. Jessica Licis 1 month ago
[Editor: This was written in response to a comment from Fraser which I didn’t find.]
""Oh, Fraser, Fraser, Fraser... I know you posted this comment three months ago. I know it's probably pointless to respond at this point. But, I just have to try. Bae, Fraser, is a shortened version of Baby. Perhaps, in your homogenized, sterilized world this word is not used. But, to the rest of us... Yes, Fraser, Bae is in fact a word. I tell you this as someone who is a native English speaker. Just a thought, take it or leave it, you know what they say about opinions... (Or perhaps, on second thought, you don't. Opinions are like assholes, Fraser, everyone has one.) You may want to work on not displaying your ignorance so freely. Gotta tell you, Fraser, you also sound a little racist. (No, no, no, let me guess, some of your best friends are black...?) Just something to think about."

**
8. Evan Terry 1 month ago
"Babe is a slang word too so don't know why everyone is fussing over Bae, a lot of words we use in English aren't even proper or used in the correct way, but we still use them anyway... It's not the end of the world if someone uses the word (Bae), now it doesn't mean I don't think the word is overused, but you don't hear me complaining, it's nice to hear people using words that aren't meant for offensive, sexist, racist etc... purposes"

**
9. channelingStephanie 1 month ago
"Why are people so upset about the word "bae?" Languages evolve, that's what American English is doing now. A person from the 1800's would be appalled at how we speak today, saying the exact thing people have been saying in the comments, "Learn proper English!" I find it interesting how our languages are evolving to fit more into our lifestyles and express what we like."

**
10. BrankoP85 4 weeks ago
"What is this bae [profanity deleted]?? I hear it everywhere...Seriously, just stop saying bae..Its [profanity deleted] annoying!!"

**
11. B Nagy 3 weeks ago
"Bæ/bae is a Danish word for poop. Also used by people on the internet who think it means baby, sweetie etc."

**
12. Teagan Farmer 3 weeks ago
"come get it bae come get it babe lol i like this song"

**
13. Rachel Victoria 3 weeks ago
"It's annoying how people keep saying this [that bae means poop in Danish] when the song isn't even in danish??"

**
matthew felkins 2 weeks ago
"Bae is danish for poop so the title is "Come Get It Poop""

**
SisiaVogel 2 weeks ago
"yes, it means poop in danish, but who cares if there's an identical word that means something else in another language? kiss means pee in swedish, gift means poison in german. nobody's whining like "omg!!! stop using kiss it means pee in swedish!!!!" nobody gives a [profanity deleted] what it means in another language. when you're speaking english, you're using the meaning it has in english. when you're speaking danish, you can use the meaning it has in danish.

also, bae is a word, whether you like it or not. languages change and evolve over time.
your most used word was also "stupid teenager slang" just a few decades ago, and yet with time it became so used and known that it was assimilated by the english language. your grandkids will probably affectionately call their best friends or lovers "bae" without knowing the context in which this word evolved, just how you have always used the word "gross" to mean something that is revolting, disgusting, without knowing that it is slang and that its original meaning was "large", and that's okay because that's how words [profanity deleted] work.

and don't say "but it's not in the dictionary!!" all words weren't in the dictionary until they became widespread enough to be included in it. languages aren't dictionaries, languages are people. we decide what are and aren't words, we control language. we write dictionaries. and who, specifically, "creates" new words? the youth. teenagers. all the common words you use today exist because teenagers once upon a time - decades, centuries ago - started using them while freely talking to their friends.

and that's okay. that's how languages work. languages are just sounds and grunts that we associate with signs and letters. we created this. we control this. dictionaries and textbooks are there to help us better know the language we speak and to better communicate with each other, but in the end we control language by simply speaking.

in closing,im sorry this is so long, but i've seen people saying these things so often that it's annoying me. and also excuse my english cause im not a native speaker.

and chill bruh."

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This concludes Part III of this series.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

What Bae REALLY MEANS & Where It Came From, Part II

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a two part series on the English slang word "bae". This post provides an excerpt of a 2014 atlantic.com article about the word "bae" as well as comments from that article's discussion thread.

Part I provides a definition for the word "bae", and includes quotes from several online sites, as well as my thoughts about an early contributing source for that English slang word. Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/04/what-english-word-bae-really-means.html for that post.

Part III of this series contains selected comments from Pharrell Williams' 2014 Pop record "Come Get It Bae"'s video discussion thread. That YouTube video is also included in that post. Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/04/comments-about-word-bae-from-youtube.html for that post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural and etymological reasons.
I'm most interested in the general topic of how the English language has changed and continues to change because of its incorporation of slang in general and African American slang, in particular.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

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WHAT I BELIEVE THE ENGLISH SLANG WORD "BAE" MEANS
The English slang word "bae" (pronounced "bay") is a shortened form of the word "baby" or "babe", meaning a person's girlfriend or boyfriend, i.e. someone who is special to you. The word "bae" has recently been expanded to mean something that is special to you, something that you like alot.

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ARTICLE EXCERPT "The Lamentable Death of Bae: A divisive word remembered" James Hamblin
Dec 30 2014
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/12/the-lamentable-death-of-bae/384086/
..."At that point [in October 2014 that the International House Of Pankakes had tweeted] "Pancakes bae <3”, the term bae had already been used by the official social-media accounts of Olive Garden, Jamba Juice, Pizza Hut, Whole Foods, Mountain Dew, AT&T, Wal-Mart, Burger King and, not surprisingly, the notoriously idiosyncratic Internet personas of Arby’s and Denny’s. Each time, the word was delivered with magnificently forceful offhandedness...an attempt at hipness through dubious cultural appropriation... Our brains are cannily adapted to sense inauthenticity and come to hate what is force-fed. So it is with a heavy heart that we mourn this year the loss of bae, inevitable as it was. Bae was generally adored as a word in 2014, even finding itself among the runners-up for the Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year. (Along with normcore and slacktivism, though all would eventually suffer a disappointing loss at the hands of the uninspired vape.) Oxford’s blog loosely defined bae as a “term of endearment for one’s romantic partner” common among teenagers, with “origins in African-American English,” perpetuated widely on social media and in music, particularly hip-hop and R&B. The lyrical database Rap Genius actually traces bae back as far as 2005. But after nearly a decade of subcultural percolation, 2014 was the year that bae went fully mainstream. It was in July, after the release of Miley Cyrus and Pharrell’s nonsensical collaboration “Come Get It, Bae” that Esquire asked with measured incredulity, “What the Hell Is Up With ‘Bae’?” Writer Natasha Zarinsky there proclaimed “the dawn of ‘bae.’” Of course, any time dawn is breaking, so is dusk. Slang tends to go one of two ways as it gets picked up by masses, linguist Tyler Schnoebelen told Time in the publication’s bae investigation that same month: A term either calcifies, or it bleaches. Calcification would mean bae, in its current form, becomes solidly part of the lexicon. Bleaching would mean that bae persists as a grammatical entity but loses its intention, the force of its meaning appreciably diminished through generalization. That seems to have begun, like when people use an adjectival bae to generally express affection for anything. As in, when eating a particularly good scone, “This scone is bae.”... In the case of bae, Urban Dictionary entries date back years and have been very widely read. One user on the site defined it as “baby, boo, sweetie” in December of 2008, pegging its usage to Western Florida. Even before that, in August of 2006, a user defined it as “a lover or significant other”—though in the ensuing years that definition has garnered equal shares of up-votes and down-votes, with an impressive 11,000 of each. It’s impossible to parse how many of those readers disagree with the particulars of the definition, and how many are simply expressing distaste for the word. Video blogger William Haynes, who would be among the down-votes, made an adamant case in his popular YouTube series in August that “unknown to the general populace, bae is actually an acronym.” So it would technically be BAE. And according to Haynes, it means Before Anyone Else. That theory has mild support on Urban Dictionary, though it first appeared long after the initial definitions. Katy Steinmetz in Time aptly mentioned another, more likely origin story earlier this year—one that also accounts for the uncommon a-e pairing—that bae is simply a shortened version of babe (or baby, or beau). “Slangsters do love to embrace the dropped-letter versions of words,” she wrote, noting that in some circles cool has become coo, crazy cray, et cetera"... -snip- That article continues with a summary of Neil Whitman's article that is quoted above and other comments about the corporate use of slang to sell products. Here are a few comments from that article's discussion thread: [All of these comments are from January 2015] James "Great fun! The intercultural attempt to use slang is always a dicey strategem, because one main usage of slang as a tool is to separate the in-group from the outs. In this it's similar to the usage of technical jargon by professionals in law or medicine to condescend to clients and patients, keeping them in their place. The appropriation of slang by the mainstream destoys its usefulness, just as rock and roll destroyed blues as a tool used by black people to voice their experience to each other, and made way for funk and, later, hip hop, both of which, when new, were largely unintelligible to the mainstream (white) audience." ** Ici Radio Canada "I am officially adopting as my motto "The intercultural attempt to use slang is always a dicey strategem." Done. Just hover the mouse pointer over my avatar and ye shall see." ** James > Ici Radio Canada
"I'm honored and glad to be of service."

**
Pamela Ivins Dobuler > James
"Well, it is a great sentence.

**
Christine Laing, January 2015
"Bae is a weird case. The hatred of bae seems to have been with it since the beginning. Bae-bashed are all over Twitter. It's one of those hipster things where the real hipsters are making fun. The inappropriate use of "bae" by advertisers who think it "enhances a social media brand" isn't helping much. The irony of having Pizza Hut call someone a word that means "lover" on a medium used to mock the word is too delicious.

Meme: When some gross Pizza tries to call me bae!"

**
Ici Radio Canada
"Bae is bleaching only if one says "this scone is bae" where scone rhymes with cone.

Otherwise, bae is calcifying."

**
DeclanPatrickCoker
"Oh dear Lord Jesus, people having been saying "bae" in the South forever. Let me die with the Philistines."

**
SerenaJoy
"I had no idea Bae was a thing, was still getting over Boo. Is Boo all done now?"...
-snip-
My response to SerenaJoy to her question "Is Boo all done now?" is no, based on the use of the word "boo" in the 2014 and 2015 comments posted in to the discussion thread of Usher & Alicia Key's 2004 R&B song "My Boo". However, a number of those comments were that if that song was released now it would be titled "My Bae" instead of "My Boo". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPgf2meEX1w.

Also, a comment posted to Pharrell's record "Come Get It Bae" one week ago [in April 2015] includes the referent "boo" (there meaning someone who you are friendly with)
Jen Sworthout
"Pharrell...you're a GENIOUS!!!! THANK U for your creativity boo!!!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfGMj10wOzg

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This concludes Part II of this series.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

What Bae REALLY Means & Where It Came From, Part I

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a three part series on the English slang word "bae". This post provides a definition for the word "bae", and includes quotes from several online sites, as well as my thoughts about an early contributing source for that English slang word.

Part II of this post provides another excerpt of an article about the word "bae" as well as comments from that article. Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/04/what-bae-really-means-where-it-came.html for that post.


Part III of this series contains selected comments from Pharrell Williams' 2014 Pop record "Come Get It Bae"'s video discussion thread. That YouTube video is also included in that post. Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/04/comments-about-word-bae-from-youtube.html for that post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural and etymological reasons.
I'm most interested in the general topic of how the English language has changed and continues to change because of its incorporation of slang in general and African American slang, in particular.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

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WHAT I BELIEVE THE ENGLISH SLANG WORD "BAE" MEANS
The English slang word "bae" (pronounced "bay") is a shortened form of the word "baby" or "babe", meaning a person's girlfriend or boyfriend, i.e. someone who is special to you. The word "bae" has recently been expanded to mean something that is special to you, something that you like alot.

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SOURCES OF THE ENGLISH SLANG WORD "BAE" AND HOW IT IS USED
The best Internet article that I've found about the word "brae" is "Behind the Dictionary Lexicographers Talk About Language: "Bae" Watch: The Ascent of a New Pet Name" by Neal Whitman, March 27, 2014 http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/dictionary/bae-watch-the-ascent-of-a-new-pet-name/. The author of that article, begins by indicating that "bae" is a new way of saying "boo" (The meanings he gives that word are "sweetheart, "darling", but "boo" [which rhymes with the word "you"] can also be a mildly affectionate referent for a friend - as voiced by a male to a female or a female to another female.)

Here's a rather lengthy excerpt of Neal Whitman's article:
"Like boo, bae originates in African American English. The Oxford English Dictionary speculates that boo might come from beau, but ultimately judges its origin uncertain. Bae, on the other hand, has a pretty straightforward etymology: It started as a clipped form of baby or babe. Or did it? (More on that later.) The earliest evidence I've found for the existence of bae is a chart generated on the website Rap Genius, which indicates that bae has been turning up in rap songs since 2005, although their search interface makes it hard to confirm.

In late 2012 and on into 2013, bae spread into wider awareness thanks to several internet memes...

The "Bae caught me slippin" meme consisted of people pretending to be as clueless as the hypothetical Mikayla, and posting increasingly ridiculous sleeping selfies. This meme, in fact, prompted lexicographer Grant Barrett to nominate bae as the American Dialect Society's Word of the Year for 2013 (though that title ended up going to because)...

A few months after "Bae caught me slippin'" caught on, the meme "Cooking for bae" was started on Instagram and Twitter by an anonymous Georgia woman. This stream of photos shows disastrous dishes (often referred to as "struggle meals," but that's a topic for another time) served up by people trying to cook something "for the bae."

More recent still is the meme "You got a bae? Or nah?" As far as I've been able to pinpoint this one, it originated in late 2013 with Tina Woods, aka Too Turnt Tina, a teenage user of Vine, the social media site that lets you share looping 6-second video clips...

Coming back to the etymology of bae, it turns out that for a few years, a very different origin story has been going around: It's an acronym for "before anyone else." The earliest example of someone making this connection that I've found is this tweet from 2011:
My girl hates being called bae but i still call her that bc it stands for Before Anyone Else

Hundreds of tweets, and several Urban Dictionary entries, promulgate this idea, and it's amazing how easily people will believe it, based on nothing but the say-so of some ordinary person on the internet....

Aside from the existence of many bogus acronymic etymologies, including such old favorites as "port outward, starboard home" and "for unlawful carnal knowledge," there are several other reasons not to buy this BAE story.
1. Occam's Razor, part I. Given the meaning of bae, the simplest origin is that it derives from babe via deletion of the final consonant.

2. Timing. The first references to bae as standing for "before anyone else" appear six years after the earliest attestations of bae that I've found.

3. Spelling variation. Going back at least five years, you can find the word spelled bay, as it is in this tweet: "going to breakfast with my family....coming back home to work on my essay for nursing school n going out with my bay later. u?"

4. Non-romantic usage. In addition to referring to a lover, bae/bay turns up in the phrases bae bro and bae sis ("baby brother," "baby sister"), as in this tweet from 2009: "And Max's bae bro was down with dude from Spic N Spanish. It's all too much!"

5. Occam's Razor, part II. There are more elaborate etymologies for bae that are still more plausible than the acronymic explanation. For example, in the same way that police becomes the po-po, initial syllable reduplication of baby gives bay-bay or bae-bae, which are both attested on Twitter. For example, here's a tweet that seems to be from a mother taking her kids to see the movie that killed the previous Spider-Man franchise: "Seeing spider man 3 with the bay bay's." Bay/bae could then be produced by haplology.

6. Occam's Razor, part III. Alternatively, bay-bay could be a result of "lowering" the final vowel of baby, in the same way as party gets twisted into par-tay. Haplology for the finishing touch as above. This is the least likely of the three possibilities, in my opinion, but even this one is based on linguistic processes that are attested.
-snip-
The word "haplology" is hyperlinked to this Wikipedia page on that word: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplology
"Haplology (from Greek ἁπλός haplos "simple" and λόγος logos, "speech") is defined as the elimination of a syllable when two consecutive identical or similar syllables occur. The phenomenon was identified by American philologist Maurice Bloomfield in the 20th century."

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Wood F, a blogger wrote this comment about Neal Whitman's article:
"I think the spelling deserves some attention. In English the vowel combination 'ae' only appears in words borrowed from Latin (e.g. 'alumnae'). Seeing this spelling in AAE-derived internet slang is jarring. Why did this spelling catch on instead of 'bay,' which would be the traditional way of spelling a word ending in the long 'a' vowel?"
-snip-
As to Wood F's question, my guess is that the spelling "bae" for the shortened form of "baby"/"babe" was used more than the spelling "bay" at least in part because the word "bay" already has two rather well known meanings-
"a body of water enclosed by land but having a outlet to the sea" and aromatic leaves from several plants used for cooking.

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BEBE AS A SOURCE OF THE WORD BAE
Neil Whitman wrote that "The earliest evidence I've found for the existence of bae is a chart generated on the website Rap Genius, which indicates that bae has been turning up in rap songs since 2005, although their search interface makes it hard to confirm." I'm not going to attempt to suss out which Rap songs that website refers to. However, it occurred to me that the word "bae" may have been a clip of the word "bebe" [pronounced bay bay] which was popularized by the 1992 African American animated movie BeBe’s Kids.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%A9b%C3%A9's_Kids
"Bébé's Kids (released on home media as Robin Harris' Bébé's Kids) is a 1992 American animated comedy film produced by Reginald Hudlin and Hyperion Pictures, directed by Bruce W. Smith, and released on July 31, 1992 by Paramount Pictures.

The first animated feature to feature an entirely African-American main cast, the film is based upon comedian Robin Harris' "Bébé's Kids" stand-up comedy act. It features the voices of Faizon Love (in his film debut), Vanessa Bell Calloway, Marques Houston, Nell Carter, and Tone Lōc. Tom Everett, Rich Little, and Louie Anderson also lend their voices."...
-snip-
Based on that comedy routine and movie, "Bebe's Kids" has become a referent for two or more children whose behavior is out of control. "Bébé" is a female's nickname whose source probably is from the French word "bebe" which means "baby". That nickname shouldn't be confused with the name Bebe (pronounced bee bee) that some African Americans (and presumably other people) have. Two famous African Americans with that name are the male Gospel & R&B singer BeBe [Benjamin] Winans and author Bebe Moore Campbell (February 18, 1950 – November 27, 2006), whose first name was "Elizabeth".

Urban Dictionary.com contains a number of entries for the word "bebe" that documents its use as a synonym for "baby", "babe", "boo". Here are several of those entries:
From http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bebe
Top Definition
"bebe
Another way of saying baby to your baby
Hey bebe, fetch me a sandwhich ^_^"
by Jeldah May 07, 2004

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"bebe
(n.) A nickname used to show affection towards your boyfriend or girlfriend. Synonymous to babe, baby, honey, etc. The person's name may also be attached to the end of the word "bebe" as in the example below.
I love you so much bebe!

You are my one and only Bebayjay!

by hachimitsu June 11, 2010
-snip-
Notice how the word "bebe" is spelled "bebay" in the second example. This suggests that "bebe" was sometimes spelled "baybay".

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"Bebes
A kickass way to call your beloved :]]
Gio: Hi amor :]
Mari: AMFG!!! Hi bebes! How is you???
Gio: *Freaked out* ... Fine... o_o

by Mari G June 24, 2009

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"bebe
term of endearment. Usually used by couples because baby is just too mainstream.
1. hello bebe I've missed you!

2. Water you doing bebe?

3. Bebe lets sleep.


by captain amewica August 19, 2012

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"bebe
a very sexy and sweet guy who you want to be with forever; attractive with beautiful eyes; highly intelligent; caring and understanding
Bobby, my love, is one hot bebe."
by Christine May 02, 2003

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In summary, I believe that "bae" is a clipped form of the word "baby" and "babe" which was preceded by the term "bebe".

Like Neil Whitman who was quoted above, I believe that the acronym "before anyone else" that is attributed to the word "bae" was made up years after the word "bae" was first used. I also believe that the statement that "bae" means "bacon and eggs" is mostly facetious,and the statement that "bae" is Danish for "poop" is irrelevant to any discussion about the meaning of that word in English slang, since any number of words that are spelled the same or similarly in one language may have completely different meanings in another language.

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This concludes Part I of this series.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome

"'Tain't What You Do" Record & The Shim Sham Dance

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a sound file of the Jimmie Lunceford band's record "Tain't What You Do" (It's the Way That You Do It)" and includes lyrics for that song. Information about James Lunceford orchestra and "Tain't What You Do" as well as information about "Tain't What You Do"'s association with the Shim Sham dance are also also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic reasons.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to James "Trummy" Young & Sy Oliver for composing this song and thanks to Jimmie Lunceford and the rest of his band for their musical legacy. Thanks also to the composers of "Tain't What You Do" and all others who are featured in these videos. In addition, thanks to the publishers of these videos, and all those who are quoted in this post.

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INFORMATION ABOUT JAMES LUNCEFORD
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmie_Lunceford
"James Melvin "Jimmie" Lunceford (June 6, 1902 – July 12, 1947) was an American jazz alto saxophonist and bandleader in the swing era...

In 1927, while an athletic instructor at Manassas High School in Memphis, Tennessee, he organized a student band, the Chickasaw Syncopators, whose name was changed to the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. Under the new name, the band started its professional career in 1929, and made its first recordings in 1930.[4] Lunceford was the first public high school band director in Memphis. After a period of touring, the band accepted a booking at the Harlem nightclub The Cotton Club in 1934 for their revue 'Cotton Club Parade' starring Adelaide Hall.[5][6] The Cotton Club had already featured Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway, who won their first widespread fame from their inventive shows for the Cotton Club's all-white patrons. Lunceford's orchestra, with their tight musicianship and the often outrageous humor in their music and lyrics, made an ideal band for the club, and Lunceford's reputation began to steadily grow.[7] Jimmie Luncefords band differed from other great bands of the time because their work was better known for its ensemble than its solo work. Additionally, he was known for using a two-beat rhythm, called the Lunceford two-beat, as opposed to the standard four-beat rhythm.[8] This distinctive "Lunceford style" was largely the result of the imaginative arrangements by trumpeter Sy Oliver, which set high standards for dance-band arrangers of the time.[4]

Though not well known as a musician, Jimmie Lunceford was trained on several instruments and was even featured on flute in "Liza".[9]

Comedy and vaudeville played a distinct part in Lunceford's presentation. Songs such as "Rhythm Is Our Business" (featured in a 1937 musical short with Myra Johnson (Taylor) on vocals), "I'm Nuts about Screwy Music", "I Want the Waiter (With the Water)", and "Four or Five Times" displayed a playful sense of swing, often through clever arrangements by trumpeter Sy Oliver and bizarre lyrics. Lunceford's stage shows often included costumes, skits, and obvious jabs at mainstream white bands, such as Paul Whiteman's and Guy Lombardo's."...

On July 12, 1947, while playing in Seaside, Oregon, Lunceford collapsed and died from cardiac arrest during an autograph session, aged 45. Allegations and rumors circulated that he had been poisoned by a fish-restaurant owner who was unhappy at having to serve a "Negro" in his establishment.[10] This story is given credence by the fact other members of Lunceford's band who ate at this restaurant were sick within hours of the meal.[citation needed] He was buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis."...

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE SONG "AIN'T WHAT YOU DO" AND THE SHIM SHAM (Shim Sham Shimmy) DANCE
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shim_Sham
"The Shim Sham Shimmy, Shim Sham or just Sham originally is a particular tap dance routine and is regarded as tap dance's national anthem.[1] For swing dancers, today it is a kind of line dance that recalls the roots of swing...

... today the Shim Sham — particularly the Frankie Manning version — is danced more often to "'Tain't What You Do (It's The Way That Cha Do It)" by Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra, or "Tuxedo Junction" by Erskine Hawkins. In fact, it is typical now at a Lindy dance party for dancers to start up a Shim Sham whenever "'Tain't What You Do" is played."
-snip-
Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAEDx0BEsPQ for a sound file of "Tuxedo Junction" by Erskine Hawkins

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LYRICS - 'TAIN'T WHAT YOU DO
(James "Trummy" Young & Sy Oliver, 1939)

When I was a kid about half past three,
My ma said, "Daughter, come here to me";
Says, "Things may come and things may go,
But this is one thing you ought to know!"

Oh, 'tain't what you do, it's the way that you do it,
'Tain't what you do, it's the way that you do it,
'Tain't what you do, it's the way that you do it,
That's what gets results!

'Tain't what you do, it's the time that you do it,
'Tain't what you do, it's the time that you do it,
'Tain't what you do, it's the time that you do it,
That's what gets results!

You can try hard, don't mean a thing;
Take it easy, breezy, then your jive will swing!

Oh, it - 'tain't what you do, it's the place that you do it,
'Tain't what you do, it's the time that you do it,
'Tain't what you do, it's the way that you do it,
That's what gets results!

You've learned your A B C's
You've learned your D F G's,
But this is something you don't learn in school;

So get your hep boots on,
And then you'll carry on,
But remember if you try too hard,
It don't mean a thing, take it easy!

'Tain't what bring do, it's the way that you bring it,
'Tain't what swing do, it's the way that you swing it,
'Tain't what sing do, it's the way that you sing it,
That's what gets results!

(scat)
That's what gets results, rebop!
-snip-
Information and lyrics from http://lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/t/taintwhatyoudo.shtml

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FEATURED VIDEOS
Example #1: Tain't What You Do - Jimmy Lunceford



L. Heitmann, Uploaded on Mar 25, 2009
-snip-
Here are a few selected comments from that sound file's discussion thread:
dudedad629, 2010
"Lunceford was a high school music teacher in Memphis and his 1928 band was so good that he basically told them that they were going pro. His band was a very discliplined one, and you can hear the marching band in them."

**
bwfeliciano, 2010
"This is the version that the dance hall I go to plays weekly during the shim sham shimmy. I love swing dancing.... <3" ** Rosie Michell, 2011 "Gotta love Swing Dancing. It makes me so happy ^_^ I love this song as well, makes me wanna dance and sing a long!!! Shim Sham Shimmy all the way!" ** Cleftonefan, 2012 "Great. Vocal by James "Trummy" Young who co-wrote it with Sy Oliver. I believe both were in Jimmie Lunceford's band at the time." ** Letty Lem-Burruel, 2014 "My Godfather was Kurt Bradford, an alto and tenor saxophonist in the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra and I grew up loving this music and him with great fervor. He taught sax until the day he passed, his students even visiting him in hospice- so great was his love for jazz and all music. It wasn't until very recently when one of his daughters handed my father two of Lunceford's CD's with several personal photos of my godfather with the band laughing and performing that I began to look more deeply into this history on the Internet for my father, who is now 83 years old and was my godfather's best friend. Btw: His real name, in fact, was not Kurt, but Mustapha Hashim; social norms being what they were back then, and even now, he found it necessary to adopt a stage name. I hope people are more accepting and just focus on his contributions to music rather than his race/culture. I know my family is an eclectic mix of every race you can get except perhaps penguin. Thanks Jazz! And thank you to whoever is putting up these videos and mp3s. More kids should know where all their music came from: it started here." ** u89worlds, 2015 "i knew mustapha aka kurt bradford in the early 80s in sf, ca. what a beautiful character and what a wonderful tone! i wish someone would write his biography. alto saxophonist of the first degree, he was one of arthur blythe's teachers. thank you for the update, letty. peace to the maestro. great band." **** Example #2: Shim Sham

Peter Blaskowski, Uploaded on Apr 14, 2006

Demo of the classic line dance "Shim Sham", from the instructional video starring Frankie Manning


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