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Folklore: Sunday Throat?

Goose Gander 29 Apr 10 - 12:43 PM
reggie miles 29 Apr 10 - 11:51 PM
Neighmond 30 Apr 10 - 12:20 AM
Don Firth 30 Apr 10 - 01:10 AM
Goose Gander 30 Apr 10 - 01:34 PM
Bat Goddess 01 May 10 - 10:32 AM
Goose Gander 02 May 10 - 03:19 AM
Barbara 02 May 10 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,jp in indiana 05 Aug 10 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,Linda B. 01 Jan 11 - 12:14 PM
Don Firth 01 Jan 11 - 03:59 PM
Q 01 Jan 11 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,RobertL2 19 Feb 11 - 02:36 PM
Barbara 19 Feb 11 - 05:06 PM
GUEST,Diane 17 Oct 11 - 02:31 AM
Charmion 17 Oct 11 - 09:20 AM
Mo the caller 17 Oct 11 - 09:44 AM
Bernard 17 Oct 11 - 10:50 AM
Bat Goddess 17 Oct 11 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,Elizabeth 30 Mar 12 - 12:39 AM
Bat Goddess 30 Mar 12 - 07:11 AM
Bat Goddess 30 Mar 12 - 01:00 PM
Bat Goddess 31 Mar 12 - 07:00 AM
Bat Goddess 31 Mar 12 - 08:17 PM
GUEST,Mr. Man 14 May 12 - 08:14 PM
GUEST,Stim 15 May 12 - 01:32 AM
meself 15 May 12 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,CupOfTea, no cookies 15 May 12 - 05:53 PM
GUEST,Tess from Saginaw 14 Sep 12 - 12:46 AM
GUEST,Karen 04 Dec 12 - 03:43 PM
GUEST,MarjorieB 20 May 13 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,brenda leake 30 Jul 13 - 09:38 PM
GUEST,brenda leake 30 Jul 13 - 09:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Jul 13 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,aposter 07 Nov 13 - 01:33 PM
Bat Goddess 08 Nov 13 - 09:15 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 29 Apr 10 - 12:43 PM

Anyone know the origin of the phrase, "went down the sunday throat"? For example, if someone chokes on a bite of food, they might say "It went down my sunday throat." I'm pretty sure it's American, more specifically mid-western, but I'd like to narrow it down.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: reggie miles
Date: 29 Apr 10 - 11:51 PM

My guess is that it has to do with the fact that the food or what ever was swallowed, got accidentally inhaled. It's happened to me but mostly with something I drank. The Sunday throat is perhaps referring to the lungs, used to sing at church on Sunday. Once it goes down the wrong pipe, a period of coughing takes place and my voice is shot for a while afterward. Think before you eat and drink.

A quick search via Google brought this up, http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-sun1.htm. It's not much more in the way of an explanation but it does bring up more questions. ;o)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Neighmond
Date: 30 Apr 10 - 12:20 AM

We always said "it went down the Sunday pipe" in IA.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Apr 10 - 01:10 AM

I used to hear this when I was a kid (back during the Renaissance) when someone choked on a bit of food. "No," (cough, cough) "I'm okay now. It just went down my Sunday throat."

Many people saved their best clothes for special occasions, such as going to church on Sunday, so—something you usually use only on Sunday. But this time (choking) you inadvertently used it when you shouldn't have.

Nothing too complicated about it.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 30 Apr 10 - 01:34 PM

Don's probably right, but I like the idea that your 'sunday throat' is for singing.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 01 May 10 - 10:32 AM

Something my dad always said -- he was from Colby in central Wisconsin. (I grew up in the west 'burbs of Milwaukee.)

He was born in the early '20s (Ach! -- I'm not sure what year exactly Dad was born, but Mom was born in '28 and I think he was 7 years older.)

And he wasn't the only person I heard saying it. Come to think of it, not sure I've heard it much since moving to New England in '70.

I think (if I thought about it at all) that it meant going down something only used once a week, Sunday best and all.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 02 May 10 - 03:19 AM

I heard it last week from a woman at work, born and raised in Ohio.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Barbara
Date: 02 May 10 - 07:18 PM

My dad said it and he's from Detroit Michigan (b. 1917 and still going strong), with Canadian parents. I agree with Reggie -- it goes down your windpipe -- and it seems likely that it derives from singing on Sunday. But I never heard an explanation of it.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: GUEST,jp in indiana
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 08:47 PM

I don't think it has to do with breathing.   Think about it... pain, but no choking...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: GUEST,Linda B.
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 12:14 PM

I remember this expression from my childhood in Louisiana.
Mainly from my paternal grandparents of German descent.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 03:59 PM

Here ya go:

COUGH!! CHOKE!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Q
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 05:09 PM

Supposedly a southern expression according to this site:
http://usadeepsouth.ms11.net/southmouth.html

but-
a phrase used in the book "The Lure of the Dim Trails," B. M. Bower, 1907.
(Stated in such a way that it must be older than that).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: GUEST,RobertL2
Date: 19 Feb 11 - 02:36 PM

Just heard this expression again in the 1936 movie "Come and Get It" based on the Edna Ferber novel. The context (woman choking on and expelling her drink)suggests a Sunday throat is the throat that on Sunday objects to and won't allow consumption of alcohol.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Barbara
Date: 19 Feb 11 - 05:06 PM

My dad's of Scottish and English extraction and his folks were from Ontario. We lived outside Detroit, Michigan. But given that, a lot of Dad's more colorful expressions came from his time in the army. I'll ask him the next time I talk to him if he can remember where he heard it.
Blessings
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: GUEST,Diane
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 02:31 AM

My mother used the expression when I was growing up in NW Pennsylvania in the 1940s.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Charmion
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 09:20 AM

"It went down me wrong throat," is the Ottawa Valley version of that expression. I like "my Sunday throat" -- it's less precise, but more picturesque.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 09:44 AM

In England we just say "it went down the wrong way"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 10:50 AM

I was going to say that, Mo!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 11:00 AM

Interesting -- the German connection. My ancestry is German on both sides, farmers who settled in north central Wisconsin. I heard the phrase a lot in my youth -- from my parents, relatives...and around the neighborhood (Milwaukee), too.

I don't think I've heard the expression at all in New England.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: GUEST,Elizabeth
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 12:39 AM

My mother , born in 1919, used this expression and I never gav it any thought untill today when I siaid iit to my grandaughter and got a " huh? " look! Glad to know my mother didn't make it up. I agree that it probably has something to do with lungs and singing on Sunday. Makes sense?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 07:11 AM

I just did a quick reread of this thread and the mention of the phrase being in the 1936 movie "Come and Get It" based on the Edna Ferber novel. Edna Ferber was born in Michigan, lived for awhile in Chicago before moving to Appleton, Wisconsin when she was 12. She worked as a journalist in both Appleton and Milwaukee. Of COURSE she would have heard the phrase and used it in her writing.

I just googled the phrase and found this (longish quote following) at
World Wide Words

Q From Molly Walzer: A phrase remembered from my childhood: when one chokes, one might say, 'It must have gone down my Sunday throat!' That is, something has been inhaled rather than swallowed. I didn't realise this wasn't universally known until my husband questioned it. My parents are mid-western US in origin. Is something like this in general parlance?

A It's hardly common, to judge from the few references that have turned up, though it does still seem to be known today, and it's certainly American in immediate origin.

The two places in which I've definitively managed to track it down are both books from the early part of the twentieth century. One is The Lure Of The Dim Trails by B M Bower, dated 1907: "Hank was taken with a fit of strangling that turned his face a dark purple. Afterward he explained brokenly that something had got down his Sunday throat — and Thurston, who had never heard of a man's Sunday throat, eyed him with suspicion". The other is from The Eskimo Twins, by Lucy Perkins (1914): "The water went down his 'Sunday-throat' and choked him!".

Apart from this, I was at a complete loss. So I turned to members of the American Dialect Society. Douglas G Wilson suggested that Sunday here might have started out with its figurative meaning of "special" (as in Sunday clothes, for one's best) but that could have shifted to mean "alternative; other". It did so in the American slang expression Sunday face, which once meant a sanctimonious expression, but which took on a slang sense of the buttocks, that is, the "other" face. (Well, it does have two cheeks.) So Sunday throat just means "the other throat", which is clear enough, though anatomically inaccurate.

[Since this piece first appeared in the newsletter, subscribers have told me that they remember it from their youth, and that it also occurred as Sunday pipe and Sunday lane. It also transpires that similar phrases are known in Dutch and French, so the term may not be American, but one imported from Europe by immigrants.]


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 01:00 PM

World Wide Words is a wonderful website, by the way...

Linn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 31 Mar 12 - 07:00 AM

So, did anyone see this yesterday?

Linn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 31 Mar 12 - 08:17 PM

C'mon...I come up with good new information and nobody's looking at this? Anyone care?

Linn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: GUEST,Mr. Man
Date: 14 May 12 - 08:14 PM

"In England we just say 'it went down the wrong way'"

Well, good for you then, Mo.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 15 May 12 - 01:32 AM

As a young boy, back in Michigan, I always associated the Sunday Throat with those stiff, itchy, Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes, and figured it was the inevitable result of wearing a tie from before church all the way through Sunday Dinner, which was the meal served between Sunday Breakfast and Sunday Supper.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: meself
Date: 15 May 12 - 09:26 AM

Just saw your good work now, Bat Goddess! Thanks for that. I had never heard the expression before this thread, even though I grew up right next door to Michigan ....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: GUEST,CupOfTea, no cookies
Date: 15 May 12 - 05:53 PM

I remember hearing this one as a child in Cleveland, raised in an extended family with my Philadelphia Irish Catholic paternal family and a Penn. Deutsch Church of the Brethren uncle-by-marriage.

Though we in Ohio tend to think of ourselves as in the Midwest, those farther west think we're easterners. I remember my dad using this phrase, and I always associated it with the Sundaygotomeeting clothes- a Sunday throat wouldn't be the USUAL throat, as it were. Where my DAD picked it up, I don't know. He was in the Army, stationed in California, so it could have come from anywhere in the states, as he soaked up verbiage like a sponge.

Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: GUEST,Tess from Saginaw
Date: 14 Sep 12 - 12:46 AM

My grandparents used this expression. They were born in Michigan in 1904. And we're of Irish, and German descent. Sunday throat was just one of many cute expressions they used.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 04 Dec 12 - 03:43 PM

My dad uses this expression. He is of German descent and is a farmer in Edgar (north central Wisconsin). I said it at work the other day and none of my co-workers from all parts of Wisconsin had ever heard it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: GUEST,MarjorieB
Date: 20 May 13 - 05:11 PM

I've heard it all my life, never realized until just a few months ago that apparently I'm the only one in my family still using it, as the younger relations have seemingly never heard it and are puzzled by it. Mostly I heard it from Mom; she was born in Dubuque in 1911 to parents of German and Irish descent. With us it just meant the throat that was reserved for special use, not everyday. I can remember us joking, when I accidentally inhaled something on a Sunday, that this time it must have gone down my Monday throat.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: GUEST,brenda leake
Date: 30 Jul 13 - 09:38 PM

my mom used to say this to me when I'd choke or cough after eating/drinking something. never knew where the expression came from but it was one of those you don't hear anymore!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: GUEST,brenda leake
Date: 30 Jul 13 - 09:42 PM

my mom is from wisconsin and I grew up in Northern IL so it could very well be a midwestern saying. :) another one of her famous "eruptions" was, when something was wrong "WHAT IN SAM HILL???" I'm like "who is sam hill?" :) or my dad's was he'd tell me I had to do something and I had a choice of "one of the two". and my friend who I worked with, she was older than I, she referred to her high school years as "many moons ago". :)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Jul 13 - 06:14 PM

If the expression isn't American in origin but came from elsewhere I'm pretty sure it's not from anywhere in the British Isles.

The idea people save their voice for Sundays seems a bit strange. Singing voice, perhaps, but when something goes down the wrong way it isn't singing you're worried about, it's breathing.

Could it be something to with Sunday being for many people the day they might have a proper meal, as part of a Sunday ritual involving going to church and wearing Sunday Suits, with an increased chance of choking perhaps?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: GUEST,aposter
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 01:33 PM

my grandmother used to say this. She was born in '09 and was Irish-English, married into a German family and lived in a German community in Cincinnati all her life. None of the older people I work with in the Indianapolis area seem to have ever heard this expression before.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sunday Throat?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 08 Nov 13 - 09:15 AM

Interesting to see this thread revived.

Looks as if the original phrase's common denominators are German-American and American Midwest.

Alas, I don't speak German, but I'll ask my brother (in northeastern Iowa) what he knows of the phrase.

Linn


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