phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at


Posted by Lotg on May 15, 2003

In Reply to: Boombas posted by ESC on May 14, 2003

: : : Sometimes I'm able to combine two of my hobbies -- reading mysteries and collecting phrases.

: : : THEN? SAY? -- The main character, Bubbles Yablonski, hair dresser/reporter/detective, is talking to a teen-age client who wants her hair dyed "Jet black.Black like death." " 'Freedom (High School) cheerleaders go black like death, then?' In Lehigh (Pennsylvania), we often turn statements into questions by ending them with 'then' or 'say.' Keeps the conversation going." "Laura spent most of the wait raving about a garage band Riders on the Storm and the to-die-for lead singer.'Your parents must like him, say?'" From "Bubbles Unbound" by Sarah Strohmeyer, Penguin Group, New York, 2001. "Bubbles" excerpt at Accessed May 14, 2003.

: : : The author, according to her Web site, was "born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania -- what USED to be a steel town on the New Jersey border."

: : : BOOMBAS - ".essentially, a pogo stick with wood blocks, cymbals, cow bells, beer taps and assorted odds and ends attached to it. There's a large faction in town who swears this is a musical instrument. I have yet to be convinced. Supposedly no two boombases are alike and often they run to themes. I've seen auto parts boombases adorned with spark plugs and hubcaps. Irish boombases decorated with leprechauns. Of course, kitchen boombases are always popular and versatile. Just so you know, the word 'boombas' translated means bang clang. Enough said." I am guessing that the translation is from German. From "Bubbles Unbound" by Sarah Strohmeyer.

: : : NOT THE BRIGHTEST BULB IN THE VANITY - "Okay. So, I might not appear to be the brightest bulb in the vanity, but I know something even the police don't know. I know what really happened to Laura Buchman. Or, at least I think I do." From "Bubbles Unbound" by Sarah Strohmeyer.

: : I'm originally from Queens, NY, and my family and I still use "then" or "maybe" at sentence endings, and I began using the phrase "Not the brightest light in the harbor" earlier this year, but "boombas" is a new one on me!

: I have a vague memory of a TV news magazine doing a feature about them. I couldn't find much online about "boombas." There was a mention in this article about polkas -- Accessed May 14, 2003.

: I also read a couple of mystery series set in Louisiana. Some of the characters end sentences with "me." "I don't think you should do that, me." There's probably a professor somewhere who has built her whole career on taglines or whatever they're called.

: I don't know about sentences ending in 'say'... in fact sounds very American to me. But the sentence quoted above "I don't think you should do that, me."... sounds like it has English origins. Would that be correct?

We've got a few similar sentence endings is some states of Australia. eg. particularly in Queensland, it's not uncommon to end a sentence with 'but'. eg. "We didn't know he was doing that, but." In other states and I have Kiwi friends who do this too, some sentences end in 'eh' or 'ay', not too sure what the spelling would be there. eg. "We had a great time at the footy, eh?"

Does anyone know why such seemingly unnecessary extensions are added to the end of sentences. Is it as the original writer suggested, that it's designed to sometimes turn sentences into questions, and/or continue the conversation? Or is it actually more like an dialect in a sense? ie. This is how people speak in a given district, and that's how one learns to speak from the beginning, without really knowing why?