Right after the Grammy Awards, CBS 3 in Philly aired a segment hosted by Nicole Brewer, called Good Question, in which I was featured (links below). The question was "What is jawn?"
I left out something unique about Philly's use of jawn that is distinct from joint, jont, or jaint elsewhere: in jawn in Philly can replace non-count nouns. That is, you can use it where you might use "stuff" whereas joint can only be used for one or more individual things.
Example (remember * means something is ungrammatical -- that is, structurally unacceptable to native speakers):
- That joint is dope.
- That jawn is dope.
- Those joints is dope.
- Those jawn(s) is dope.
- I got a lot of *joint to do
- I got a lot of jawn to do.
This is a really cool feature that further distinguishes jawn from other regional variations on the same theme.
For those interested in the segment, the video is here.
Nicole Brewer's twitter feed is here.
Jezebel coverage is here.
Philly Magcoverage is here.
And since it didn't make it into the video, I have a shout out to Abdul Kareem, manager of the Gap on Walnut & 35th in Philly, who sold me the shirt I wore in the interview. He greeted me when I walked in with "bomber and shelltops? That's my jawn!" When I left, he told me "I hope that jawn goes good for ya." More importantly, he straight up knew the history of the term ("it's our way of saying joint") and why it's special ("...but we can use it for more.")
©Taylor Jones 2016
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