Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Boontling Repository

New Straits Times, July 24, 1991
The death of boontling has long been prophesied. A local jargon founded in the late 19th century, it was bred of the necessity to keep adult matters from the ears of babes who often worked alongside their parents in California's Anderson Valley. But it also served as a means to flummox non-locals as well as a badge of pride for residence in the know. Native to the small town of Boonville the language is now nearly extinct.

As many of the keepers of the code and their descendants have passed on so has the patchwork vernacular. Steeped mainly in Scottish, Gaelic and Irish roots, some Pomoanian and Spanish words and phrases have also crept into the lexicon. But with only 700 residents left in Boonville the thousand or so word language is fast becoming archaic.

Well, I'll be damned if I'll let it happen! Despite being a midwesterner I refuse to stand by idly and let it die out. I can't promise that I'm going to learn to vocalize the tangle of slang words and euphemisms but I'll certainly compile any of its written word companions.

Here's a few words below to get you started. I'll update further when I get a chance.

The New York Times, June 26, 1991


How To Harp Like A Local; The New York Times, June 26, 1991

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