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Dialect question (U.S.) - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Dialect question (U.S.)
My grandmother has a figure of speech that no one else in the family used, and I don't remember hearing much from anyone else, either. She must have picked it up from somewhere and I'm just curious as to where it might come from.

At any rate, she calls first cousins "own-cousins," as in, "Grace was Daddy's own-cousin? I didn't even know she was related," as opposed to cousins of other degrees. It's not pronounced as "She his own cousin," or even "she's his own cousin." It's pronoucned with the same cadence as "first cousin" or "second cousin," where the words form a coherent phrase, rather than one emphasizing the other. Is anyone else familiar with the use? If so, from where?

EDIT: My grandmother happened to call, so I asked her which side it came from, and she said from the rural WNY side, the Winchesters and Kellys, who had no southern connections until a marriage in the early 1900s (and she said that her mother and grandmother both said it, so it has to date back earlier). Must just be a local archaism.
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wm_law2003 From: wm_law2003 Date: April 24th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
It sounds like a Southern thing to me- almost like out of the mountains of West Virginia/Appalicia (which I just MURDERED the spelling of.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 24th, 2006 08:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's possible. She used to visit an older cousin in rural Virginia; maybe she picked it up from him introducing her around as his own-cousin.
From: magnolia_mama Date: April 24th, 2006 08:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whereabouts in rural Virginia? I've got deep roots going back in Tidewater (Southampton County), south-central (Pittsylvania and Halifax counties) and southwest (Tazewell County) Virginia, and I've never heard that figure of speech before.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 24th, 2006 08:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm honestly not sure. I know when my mother visited this cousin in the fifties, there was a water tower on which someone had painted "Yankee go home."
From: magnolia_mama Date: April 24th, 2006 09:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
That could have been just about anywhere. :-)
wm_law2003 From: wm_law2003 Date: April 24th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I googled dialect "own cousin" and got a few hits including this one: http://thelibrary.springfield.missouri.org/lochist/periodicals/bittersweet/su74b.htm
From: magnolia_mama Date: April 24th, 2006 09:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ahhh, the Ozark dialect makes sense.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 24th, 2006 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good google search! I found the phrase in a Gutenberg Project text from old New England, and it seemed to turn up a lot of French-American communities as well (which would cover the eastern Canada and Maine use). I guess she must just be the last gasp of the last generation to use it regularly in the region.
bazile03 From: bazile03 Date: April 24th, 2006 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Being from the South, I've never heard the expression. My family has always had first, second, fifth twice removed, etc. However, I also attend school in the Appalachian Mountains, and it does sound like it would fit in with one of the dialects that you find in Appalachia. I know people who are native to the mountains that I could ask. If I find out, I'll post back.
(Deleted comment)
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 24th, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Western NC

Where in Western NC? I go to AppState. Since you mentioned that you live in the Blue Ridge, I was curious since I'm in Boone.
And thanks for the response. Now I don't need to bug my friends.
bazile03 From: bazile03 Date: April 24th, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Western NC

Oops, that was me. Didn't realize that I wasn't logged in still when I replied straight from my e-mail. One would think that since they send the comments to e-mail that they would fix it so that you were still logged in to post. Oh well.
(Deleted comment)
ex_merelymi From: ex_merelymi Date: April 25th, 2006 11:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Western NC

OMG Collettsville!

(I grew up in Lenoir. Gamewell in fact.)

modestyrabnott From: modestyrabnott Date: April 24th, 2006 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi! I have heard this, too, and I think it's Eastern Canadian, or maybe a Down East (Maine) thing. I will investigate from the person who I heard use it and let you know what I find out.

I am in MA, too.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 24th, 2006 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
That could make sense--we're from Buffalo, which is on the Canadian border (though not too far east in Canada... hmm). I wonder if it migrated up to Maine with the same bunches of people who also migrated west to Western New York. It could be something that was common in the dialect when she was young, but had disappeared by the time the rest of the family came along. I don't remember my great-grandmother talking much about it, so I don't know if it came from her.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: April 25th, 2006 01:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm daytrip-distance from Buffalo and I've never heard it.
marissa_214 From: marissa_214 Date: April 24th, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm from East Tennessee and am fairly familiar with the dialect, especially among older people. I've never heard own-cousin. I'd be interested to find out where that's from though, because it does sound kinda like it would be from the south.

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