Saturday, 17 January 2009

on pimpin' hoes

As readers over at Joe.My.God. know, I sometimes tend to go a little bit off-subject in the comments section. On Friday Joe published an article about the former head of faith-based programs in Ohio, who was arrested on seven felony charges, including promotion of prostitution.

Joe's opening sentence was
Pimpin' ho's makes dat baby Jeebus cry, yo.

which made me question
Is it ho's or hoes? We never discussed this in English class...

Joe (Another One), also known as kusala, answered
SK: I say it's hos. Hoes seem more like something used for gardening.

(Also, I love that Dutch rule of using an apostrophe-s for foreign words, but in English it makes one look... well...)

This touches on two on my favourite subjects: homonyms and apostrophes. My reply was short, but to the point. I stand by "hoes", unlike pimps, who should stand by their hoes:
But there are many words with more than one meaning; words with different etymology can end up being spelled the same...

I should think "ho" is goverened by the same rule that gives us "potatoes".

As for apostrophes, I get in trouble in Dutch for wanting to write "babies" instead of "baby's"...

It's difficult juggling the different apostrophising rules of these languages sometimes. To me it almost seems more natural to use the "babies" of my second language than the "baby's" of my first. Of course there is no "potato" in Dutch, but "foto", for instance, is pretty close to "photo". We say "foto's" instead of "photos". All words ending in a vowel get apostrophe-s attached to them instead of the regular s that is used for some plurals. (Let's leave the -en plurals out of it for now...)

Come to think of it, the problem is not so much with the other vowel-ending words (café, aura, foto) but specifically with the ones that end in -y. These are practically all relatively recent loan words from English and therefore harder for me to separate from their original plurals.

This may make sense, or maybe it doesn't. I've been having the mother of all headaches today.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

You could understand the ' as showing absent letters, as in a contraction like "doesn't" rather than as an ill-formed plural:

"Ho's" is derived from "whores", after all.

SubtleKnife said...

Wouldn't the single have to be 'ho', then?

Anonymous said...

Isn't "ho" the singular? I don't recall seeing it as "hoe" in reference to "whore."

Joe said...

Just caught this post. Ha! But sorry if I helped prolong your headache that day!

evilganome said...

If I remember correctly, baby's means it belongs to baby and babies is the plural of baby.

Ergo. Ho's would be that which belongs to the ho and hos or hoes would be the more than one ho. I'm inclined to agree with you that hoes just parses better. Hos should be pronounced with a soft s.