Saturday, August 2, 2008

Why "da?"

Maybe if I hadn't been all set to start a blog I'd have taken a bit more time to think out the name, but I'll never be tried and convicted for being a patient man. I ran with my gut when I picked, "Scootin' da Valley," but at times I regret having put that "da" in there and in leaving the "g" out of scooting.

The "th" sound as in "the," "these," "them," and "those," isn't native to the Slavic languages and here, in the neighborhood (The shoe box as my uncle calls it for its parochial attitudes.) in which I grew up and still live, the sounds of Eastern Europe were more a part of my young life than the normal sounds of the English language. When the old folks talked, we heard "deese," "dem," and "doze," and the definite article sound was always "da." Neither did too many folks put the final "g" on words ending with "ing." That's where "Scootin'" with the apostrophe comes from. "Scootin' da Valley," is how most of the older folks would have said, "Scooting the Valley," when I was a kid, and I suppose scooting (Or is it scootering?) is as close to reliving my childhood as I'll come. Never mind that I left out a preposition in there too, as in "Scooting around the valley," or "Scootering about the valley," because that's not how the language would have been used in my formative years which are apparently more a part of me than I'd imagined. "Scootin'" and "da" aren't meant to poke fun at the speech of my forebears, but rather in a sense to honor the big part of me that my childhood remains, so the slight regret at my having chosen them is simply so that's not misunderstood.


And why, "valley," instead of the name of a particular municipality? Because my adventures on the scooter pretty much lie in the general valley area between Mocanaqua and Scranton, Pennsylvania - a larger shoe box, but with the same basic flavor as the immediate neighborhood, give or take the small pockets of ethnic diversity that exist in the various towns, townships, and cities. My roots are here. It's a good place to live - down here in da valley.

3 comments:

Sarch said...

Joe,

I've spent the last 20 some odd years down here in Alabama - The Heart of Dixie. While I wouldn't claim there are many Eastern European influences I WOULD say I hear plenty of "Scootin' in da Valley" type of comments :) I think the title of your blog is just fine!

Earl Thomas said...

I haven't been in your neck of da woods in 15 years or so, at times I miss it a lot (especially in the Autumn). I miss the wide variety of accents as well, not much of that out here.

I put you in my blog roll, I enjoy coming over here to visit.

Ride Well

E.T.

Lance said...

I like the name of your blog, and da valley looks beautiful! I've lived most of my life on the west coast, but was born in upstate New York, so I remember the beauty of the east, particularly the colors of fall. Keep up the ridin' and writin'!