Friday, July 4, 2014

"Hunty" And The African American Vernacular English Custom Involving The Letter "T"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides an excerpt from a reddit online discussion about drag terminology that has been popularized by the American television series RuPaul's Drag Race.

UPDATED March 10, 2015
This excerpt focuses on the meaning of the word" "hunty" and the custom that some African Americans and (by extension) some other people have of consciously or unconsciously using the letter "t" in the pronunciation and the spelling of certain words. For example, the letter "t" is purposely added to the word "honey". In this explanation, the word "hunty" retains the same meaning as "honey" but evokes African American cultural flavor [a sense of "soulful-ness", to coin a word].

An alternate explanation for the word "hunty" as used on RuPaul's Drag Race and elsewhere is given in the comment section of by Ukme, 2012
"Hunty is a combination of C**t and Honey. It's a cleaner version of the word C***y !"

This post is related to an ongoing pancocojams series that showcases the creativity of drag culture. Posts in that series can be assessed by clicking on the "drag" culture tag given below. This post is also related to an ongoing pancocojams series of posts on African American Vernacular English [AAVE]. Those posts can be assessed by clicking on the African American Vernacular English tag given below.

The content of this post is provided for historical, etymological, and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

From "Drag terminology explained - for the newbies (like me!)"

[Note: all of these comments were published on March 6, 2014. The comments are numbered for referencing purposes. I've included brief explanatory comments under certain quotes. I've included the racial identity of the contestants who are mentioned in these comments, in part to demonstrate that the use of these terms isn't limited to or about African Americans- it's part of drag culture.]

... 1. [–]lilmonstahm
"Hunty - a term of endearment formed by mixing honey and cunty!"

2. [–]JCizleScruff
"I always side-eye the definition of that term. It feels a little retcon-y to me. I've heard the T replaced in a lot of words for the N to give it a more... ghetto effect. Hunty is just the one we hear the most. I say "Good MornTing" to my friends all the time (and I'm pretty sure Raven said it on the show once or twice).

We need some for reals drag etymologists to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Definition of side eye from
"A facial expression expressing one's criticism, disapproval, animosity, or scorn of varying levels of intensity towards another person. Defined by one person looking at the other out of the corner of their eye(s) with a scowl, as their head is turned in a different direction. Often an invitation for a fight or confrontation of some sort. Synonymous expression: "cuttin' your eyes" (at someone). Popular expression (and common occurrence) among urban American populations.

"Girl, you see that heffa over there givin' me the side eye? She MUST be tryin' to start somethin'."
by B.T. December 06, 2007
Raven - an Anglo-American contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race, Season 2.
Click's_Drag_Race_contestants for a list of the contestants for this television show up to and including Season 6.

"heffa" = "heifer", a derogatory term for a female

Definition of "retcon" retcon from
"(shortened form of RETroactive CONtinuity; first made popular in the comic book world)

1. (original meaning) Adding information to the back story of a fictional character or world, without invalidating that which had gone before.

2. (more common usage) Adding or altering information regarding the back story of a fictional character or world, regardless of whether the change contradicts what was said before...

by R David Francis July 08, 2003

"Oooh right. Like the girls used to call Monica, MonTica!"
Girls here refer to contestants on RuPaul's Drag Race. Monica Beverly Hillz, an Anglo-American contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race contestant,Season 5.

4. [–]myusernameonreddit
"I've always wondered about this because I've heard Willam say something to the effect of "this is not for you to be making moneTy (money) off of" in an episode of Beatdown. I've also heard Ru use it in an episode or two and I think it's one of my favorite dragisms just because it's kind of subtle but effective.
William, an Anglo-American contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race, Season 4.

Ru = RuPaul, African American, renown drag queen, recording star, producer/host of RuPaul's Drag Race.

5. [–]JCizle
"My guess is that it all comes from that stereotypical black church mother that reads the announcements during the service... I know... it seems like a deep reference but what drag slang isn't? They are very well known in black culture for mispronouncing and adding things on to words. Think sigh of how Tyler Perry's Madea ugh talks basically.
This is where you get your "Hellerrrrrrr" and your extended "Hallelooooooos" from even if drag queens have appropriated them."
Tyler Perry, African American movie producer and actor; "Madea", an oldish Black mother figure, n is one of Tyler Perry's iconic characters. Madea= a combination of the words "mother" and "dear"

"Hellerrrrrrr"- greeting some RuPaul's Drag Race contestants use on that show.

"Hallelo" is the catchphrase of Shangela Laquifa Wadley, an African American contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race, Season 2 and Season 3. That form of the word "Hallelujah" is found in the African American Spiritual "Praise Ye The Lord" (Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah/ Praise ye the Lord".

"Adding that t is definitely common. We rename divas as "Madonn-ta," "Tin-ta Turn-ter," etc."
Madonna, famous Anglo-American Pop singer; Tina Turner, famous African (African American) famous Rhythm and Blues singer.

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