Tag Archives: verbal folklore

“babes”, “sprouts”, “babies”

Title: “babes”, “sprouts”, “babies”

Information about Item:

  • Form of customary and verbal folklore
  • Informant: M.N.
  • Date Collected: 5/10/2020

Informant Data:

  • M.N. is a female member of the Class of 2022 at Dartmouth. She is affiliated with Greek Life, and she is from Boston.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural: These terms are used for every incoming new member of the sorority. They are used to help make incoming members easily identifiable and to also help them feel more connected with each other.
  • Social: This information was collected through a video chat interview.

Item:

  • Terms that refer to the incoming new members of the sorority.

Collector’s Name: Gia Kim

Tags/Keywords:

  • Verbal folklore
  • Customary folklore
  • Saying
  • Sorority rush

Rho gamma

Title: Rho gamma

Information about Item:

  • Form of verbal folklore
  • Informant: M.N.
  • Date Collected: 5/10/2020

Informant Data:

  • M.N. is a female member of the Class of 2022 at Dartmouth. She is affiliated with Greek Life, and she is from Boston.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural: Every potential new member participating in sorority rush is assigned to a rho gamma, who guides them through the rush process. Rho gammas are affiliated but their affiliations are kept secret from the potential new members throughout the whole rush process. They are serve as a resource for potential new members to ask questions or make reports with confidentiality.
  • Social: This information was collected through a video chat interview.

Item:

  • A word that refers to a confidential resource that helps and leads potential new members throughout the rush process for sororities.

Collector’s Name: Gia Kim

Tags/Keywords:

  • Verbal folklore
  • Customary folklore
  • Saying
  • Sorority rush

Fraternity Shake Out

Title: Fraternity Shake Out

Information about Item:

  • Customary folklore
  • Verbal folklore
  • Informant: K.I.
  • Collected 5/18/2020

Informant Data:

The informant, K.I., is a member of the Class of 2020 at Dartmouth. He is from Massachusetts. At Dartmouth, he is affiliated with Greek Life and is studying Engineering.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural: Shake Out is a part of the Interfraternity Council rush process.
  • Social: The information was collected through a video chat interview. Participants in Shake Out are potential new members of the Greek organizations, and the event indicates possible intent to join a specific house.

Item:

Shake Out is a two-night event that occurs during fraternity rush. For this event, potential members must shake the hands of current members. Additionally, during Shake Out, potential members communicate their interest in a Greek organization by signing their name in a book.

Collector’s Comments: 

I found this item to be interesting, as it indicates a unique component of the fraternity rush process. I was not aware of the details of this process prior to the interview.

Collector’s Name: Meredith Srour

Tags/Keywords: 

  • Customary folklore
  • Verbal folklore
  • Fraternity rush

Miscellaneous Trail Names

Title: Miscellaneous Trail Names

Our informants mentioned many trail names of hikers they met in massing that did not have long stories attached to them. We listed these examples here to create a clearer picture of how trail names arise and what they mean.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural context: Hikers give each other trail names based on notable attributes, defining events, or personality traits. From then on, you are known by your trail name. Some hikers met people and never learned their real names. Hikers often keep the same trail name their whole lives. This tradition helps immerse hikers in their experience and distances them from their real-life identity while on the trail.
  • Social context: Being named by the hiking community tightens friendships and serves as a rite of initiation into the thru hiker life.
  • See [tag] Camino de Santiago for context about this particular trail!

General information about item:

  • Verbal Folklore
  • Language: English
  • Country: Spain, U.S.
  • Informants: Tommy Botch, Sam Lincoln, Jimmy Coleman
  • Dates Collected: 11/05/19, 11/09/19, 11/06/19

Tommy Botch – El Camino de Santiago

  • Informant Data: 
    • Tommy Botch is a 24-year-old lab manager in the Robertson Lab in the Psychology and Brain Sciences Department at Dartmouth College, where he studies vision in virtual reality. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and completed his undergraduate education in psychobiology at UCLA. Tommy enjoys describing fine cheeses and baking sourdough bread in his spare time. He undertook his thru hiking journey when he was 20 years old.
  • Item:
    • Tommy and his fellow hikers gave one another trail names on the first few days of the hike in order to get through the hardest part of the hike, which is surpassing the Pyrenees immediately upon setting out. They coined the following names:
    • Can-Do: Tommy was dubbed “Can-Do,” not because of his “Can-Do” attitude but because the people he hiked with thought he could do anything.
    • With-A-Spoon: a young woman with whom Tommy hiked looked a lot like Reese Witherspoon, but kept repeating she wanted to “kill [herself] with a rusty spoon”
      as she was so miserable in these first few days.
    • Magic: a man in their group would disappear for a few days and just suddenly reappear with the group out of nowhere and lighten the mood.
    • Four seasons: this individual went through so many mood swings that she was seemingly “Four seasons in one hour.”

Sam Lincoln – Colorado Trail

  • Informant Data
    • Sam Lincoln is a 21 year old college student studying mechanical engineering at Arizona State University. He was born in Wisconsin and raised in Arizona. He began overnight backpacking when he was 15 and hiked the Colorado Trail after he graduated from high school in 2016. He enjoys archery and playing video games. Sam is the twin brother of Rachel Lincoln, who collected this item.
  • Item
    • Sam got the trail name Goat Slayer on the Colorado Trail in 2016.
    • Second Wind: a man in his mid-60s named Michael was solo hiking and joined Sam’s group for a few days. While many hikers start early and stop in the late afternoon, Michael got a burst of energy late in the day and always wanted to continue–he got a “Second Wind.”
    • Chief: one woman was a professional guide whose job was leading teenagers on two or three week hikes. That authority and her personal presence made her a leader, so despite not having Native American heritage, she was nicknamed “Chief.”

Jimmy Coleman – John Muir and Appalachian Trails

  • Informant Data
    • Jimmy Coleman, age 20, is a sophomore at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he is studying mathematics and computer science. He was born in Baltimore County and loves the outdoors, which he learned from his ample hiking and camping trips with his family as a child. He undertook his thru hiking adventure on the John Muir Trail at 14 years old and the Appalachian Trail at 17 years old.
  • Item
    • Jimmy has used his trail name Tadpole since he was 14.
    • Bear and Hookah: Jimmy was not told the story behind these two hikers’ names, but he assumed “Hookah” came from their hippie smoking habits. He also never learned their real names.
  • Informant’s Comments:
    • “I have had meaningful relationships on long hikes with backpackers who are going about the pace as me. And I never knew—like, two people on the AT that I thru hiked with—I didn’t thru hike the AT but I did a big piece over one summer—and I met these two people, these two hippies named Bear and Hookah. And I still know them and I still have their letter to me in the back of a book. But I only knew them as Bear and Hookah.”

Ashlyn Burnside – Appalachian Trail

  • Informant Data
    • Ashlyn Burnside is a 21 year old senior at Hope College in Michigan. She grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and always loved being outside and riding horses. She sings and volunteers with her church. When she’s on break, she travels the country spreading the gospel.
  • Item
    • Ashlyn was nicknamed “Soul Surfer” while thru hiking the Appalachian trail because of her Christian faith and love of the outdoors. She had been struggling with her beliefs and the trail helped her center herself and find meaning in her life again.

Collectors’ comments:

  • Trail names can be tongue-in-cheek or teasing, but all informants felt that their name was used affectionately. Tommy’s felt the ones of his group mates bonded them together in these tough first few days, and he says he remembers these people by their trail names long after he has forgotten their real ones.
  • We collected trail names from all of our informants except those who hiked the Chilkoot. That trail is shorter than the other, so we hypothesize that length may be correlated with receiving a trail name.

Tags/Keywords:

  • Trail Name, Appalachian Trail, John Muir Trail, Camino de Santiago, Colorado Trail, Verbal Folklore

Bombproofing

Title: Bombproofing

General Information about Item:

  • Verbal Folklore
  • Informant: Sam Lincoln
  • Date Collected: 9 November 2019

Informant Data:

  • Sam Lincoln is a 21 year old college student studying mechanical engineering at Arizona State University. He was born in Wisconsin and raised in Arizona. He began overnight backpacking when he was 15 and hiked the Colorado Trail after he graduated from high school in 2016. He enjoys archery and playing video games. Sam is the twin brother of Rachel Lincoln, who collected this item.

Contextual Data:

  • Thru hikers must set up camp every night and pack out every morning. Doing this correctly is vital to keep are safe and protected, so sleep is uninterrupted and hikers get enough energy to keep going.

Item:

  • “Bombproofing” is slang term for preparing your camp to withstand weather. After dropping his packs and taking off his boots, Sam did this immediately to by setting up his tent. Bombproofing entails making camp but expecting a storm so you don’t have to rush around if it starts raining. While there are no different methods of pitching a tent than normal, this term emphasizes the urgent need for shelter, the unpredictability of weather conditions, and the importance of taking care of yourself to prepare for the worst.

Associated file:

Transcript:

  • “So you bombproof everything, put everything in your tent that you don’t want wet.”

Collector’s comments:

  • Bombproofing is the same as setting up camp typically, but the importance of doing this task quickly and correctly to stay safe and dry probably led to this hyperbolic term.

Collector: Rachel Lincoln

Tags/Keywords:

  • Bombproofing, Colorado Trail, Verbal Folklore

Buen Camino

Title: Buen Camino

General information about item:

  • Verbal Folklore
  • Language: English
  • Country: Spain
  • Informant: Tommy Botch
  • Date Collected: 11/05/19

Informant Data: 

  • Tommy Botch is a 24-year-old lab manager in the Robertson Lab in the Psychology and Brain Sciences Department at Dartmouth College, where he studies vision in virtual reality. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and completed his undergraduate education in psychobiology at UCLA. Tommy enjoys describing fine cheeses and baking sourdough bread in his spare time. He undertook his thru hiking journey when he was 20 years old.

Contextual Data:

  • Historical Context: The Camino de Santiago is a 1,000 year-old pilgrimage route that begins at numerous points around Europe and ends at Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. According to Christianity, the apostle Santiago (known in English as Saint James) spread the religion around the Iberian Peninsula (which includes Spain and Portugal). Theory says that his body was put on a boat and landed on the coast of Spain, right near present-day Santiago de Compostela. King Alfonso II wanted his body to be buried in a special chapel, and ordered the building of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Christians across Europe began taking this pilgrimage to worship at the Cathedral. 
  • Social Context: Recently, the route became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was featured in the 2010 movie The Way, which helped it grow in popularity (Source). Our informant took the most popular route, the Camino Frances, which begins in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, and over the Pyrenees. This trail spans 800 km (500 miles). 

Item:

  • Our informant reported that you always say “Buen Camino” when you pass another hiker on the trail. This is the general greeting for all hikers, to bring one another together in their journey by literally wishing them a “Good Passage.”

Transcript:

  • “People always say buen camino, which is the typical thing you say to anyone walking it.”

Collector’s comments:

  • As someone who has completed several trails in Spain and Latin America, I can confirm that this is a common Spanish phrase exchanged by strangers on hiking trails. It contrasts with trails in the United States, where people generally just say “Hello” or “How’s it going?”

Collector: Erica Busch

Vortex

Title: Vortex

General Information about Item:

  • Verbal folklore
  • Informant: Sam Lincoln
  • Date Collected: 9 November 2019

Informant Data:

  • Sam Lincoln is a 21 year old college student studying mechanical engineering at Arizona State University. He was born in Wisconsin and raised in Arizona. He began overnight backpacking when he was 15 and hiked the Colorado Trail after he graduated from high school in 2016. He enjoys archery and playing video games. Sam is the twin brother of Rachel Lincoln, who collected this item.

Contextual Data:

  • Thru hikers typically only leave the trail for a few days at a time to resupply food or gear. Otherwise they follow the same rituals each day to cover as much ground as possible. Disturbance of their normal pace can throw hikers out of their “just keep walking” mindset.

Item:

  • “Vortex” is a slang term for the psychological experience of pausing a thru hike to return to civilization for a few days. Hikers don’t realize just how grueling their journey has been until they stop, and returning to the trail becomes a mental obstacle that looms larger with each day spent away. Sam experienced the vortex when he stopped in town for five days after 80 miles so his friend could rest an injured foot.

Associated file:

Transcript:

  • “When you’re thru hiking, if you stop thru hiking, you realize how difficult it is and how easy it is to just stop. It’s a mental obstacle you have to overcome to get back on the trail.”

Informant’s comments:

  • Sam’s friend decided to leave the trail altogether quickly after the group stopped to let him rest, which annoyed Sam because their entire rhythm and pace had been thrown off to accommodate Teddy.

Collector’s comments:

  • This term supports the theme of immersion that runs throughout our collection. Thru hiker folklore reinforces the deep thrall that the trail holds and emphasizes the separation from regular life.

Collector: Rachel Lincoln

Tags/Keywords:

  • Vortex, Colorado Trail, Verbal folklore

Tour-a-grinos

Title: Tour-a-grinos

General information about item:

  • Verbal Folklore, Taunt
  • Language: English
  • Country: Spain
  • Informant: Tommy Botch
  • Date Collected: 11/05/19

Informant Data: 

  • Tommy Botch is a 24-year-old lab manager in the Robertson Lab in the Psychology and Brain Sciences Department at Dartmouth College, where he studies vision in virtual reality. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and completed his undergraduate education in psychobiology at UCLA. Tommy enjoys describing fine cheeses and baking sourdough bread in his spare time. He undertook his thru hiking journey when he was 20 years old.

Contextual Data:

  • Historical Context: The Camino de Santiago is a 1,000 year-old pilgrimage route that begins at numerous points around Europe and ends at Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. According to Christianity, the apostle Santiago (known in English as Saint James) spread the religion around the Iberian Peninsula (which includes Spain and Portugal). Theory says that his body was put on a boat and landed on the coast of Spain, right near present-day Santiago de Compostela. King Alfonso II wanted his body to be buried in a speciaal chapel, and ordered the building of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Christians across Europe began taking this pilgrimage to worship at the Cathedral. 
  • Social Context: Recently, the route became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was featured in the 2010 movie The Way, which helped it grow in popularity (Source). Our informant took the most popular route, the Camino Frances, which begins in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, and over the Pyrenees. This trail spans 800 km (500 miles). 

Item:

  • Though the trails are considerable in length, hikers need only hike the final 100km to receive a certificate that says they completed the pilgrimage. Thus, some people who do not want to make the full 800km pilgrimage hike only the final 100km to receive the certificate. Thus, thru hikers who complete the total journey call those short-term hikers “Tour-A-Grinos” when they pass them on the last 100km of the trail.

Transcript: 

  • “Ha, you’d be considered a Tour-A-Grino,” said Tommy during his interview with interviewer Erica, upon realizing that she actually completed the final 100km of the Camino de Santiago during a Spanish high school exchange program at age 14.

An Engineer, a Mathematician and a Fire

Title: An Engineer, a Mathematician and a Fire

General Information about Item:

  • Verbal lore, joke
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Sean Smith
  • Date Collected: 5-23-19

Informant Data:

  • Sean Smith is a 54 year old computer science professor at Dartmouth College. He teaches classes such as COSC 51, Computer Architecture, and COSC 58, Operating Systems. He is a self taught computer scientist, as there was no computer science major when he was an undergrad. He worked for the US government doing security consulting and then worked at IBM doing product development. At Dartmouth, he works on systems, as opposed to the more theoretical and mathematical side of computer science.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: This joke provides a comparison of two related but different fields, with the engineer being seen in a more positive light. The engineer is portrayed as practical and efficient, while the mathematician is implied to be disconnected from the real world because he is applying techniques used for proving mathematical theorems to a life or death situation.
  • Social Context: The joke was recorded during an in-person interview with the informant. The informant is not sure where he heard this joke, or where he would have said it.

Item:

Interview Recording:

Transcript of joke:

  • (4:18) “An engineer wakes up in a…, um, wakes up in a room and it’s on fire, but there is an empty bucket in the sink, so he fills the bucket with water and puts the fire out. A mathematician wakes up in a room and there’s a fire and there’s a full bucket of water and a sink and is like, ‘oh, now I’ve reduced it to the previous case.'”

Informant’s Comments:

  • This joke makes fun of how, in mathematical proofs, the efficiency does not matter as much as correctness.

Collector’s Comments:

  • The full interview contains lots of examples of engineering and computer science folklore other than jokes.

Collector’s Name: Ben Wolsieffer

Tags/Keywords:

  • Engineering
  • Verbal Folklore
  • Joke
  • Comparison between fields

A Pint of Milk and a Dozen Eggs

Title: A Pint of Milk and a Dozen Eggs

General Information about Item:

  • Verbal lore, joke
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Ulf Österberg
  • Date Collected: 5-23-19

Informant Data:

  • Ulf Österberg has been a engineering professor at Dartmouth College since 1989. He teaches classes such as ENGS 23, Distributed Systems and Fields and ENGS 26, Control Theory. He was born in Gothenburg, Sweden and lived in Sweden until after he had earned his PhD in optics.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: Jokes were not common in classroom settings at the schools the informant attended, but he strongly believes that jokes are helpful for keeping students engaged and makes an effort to tell jokes such as this one in his classes. This joke makes fun of how the technical mind of an engineer might interpret a statement like a computer, without thinking about whether it makes sense.
  • Social Context: This joke was recorded during an in-person interview with the informant. This joke was specifically intended to be told to students when it was relevant to the class. Telling jokes helps to connect students to the class and to the professor. The informant heard this joke from another professor at Dartmouth.

Item:

Interview Recording:

Transcript of joke:

  • (8:44) “The wife of an engineer says to her husband, ‘when you come home tonight, can you go by the grocery store and pick up a pint of milk and if they have eggs, pick up a dozen,’ and he comes home in the evening with twelve pints of milk, and she goes ‘why did you buy twelve pints of milk,’ and he says, ‘because they had eggs.'”

Informant’s Comments:

  • The informant said he grew up telling jokes in Sweden, but he had difficulty learning how to tell jokes and especially puns in English.

Collector’s Comments:

  • The informant was my professor for ENGS 26, Control Theory, this semester, and he told this joke in class. I have also heard this joke in the past with the protagonist being a computer scientist instead of an engineer.

Collector’s Name: Ben Wolsieffer

Tags/Keywords:

  • Engineering
  • Verbal Folklore
  • Joke