Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Actual Questions to the Reference Desk #4

(At the New Belfast branch, which as previously mentioned, is literally down the street from the Longshore branch. Even more baffling is that these two branches were built within 2 years of each other. I suppose it was part of some urban renewal plan that has since lost steam. Anyway, the New Belfast branch is fairly "ghetto" as it were, but nowhere near as economically supressed as the Washington branch. I'm manning the reference desk when a young lady in her mid 20s approaches)

Patron: "Excuse me, but do you know where the term 'ba-donka-donk' came from? Particularly in when refering to a girl's butt?"

First off, I would have never expected anyone to really care about the origins of such a slangy word. It's slang, it means "big ole juicy booty" (Oxford Dictionary vol. 4 p. 356 ln. 12) or whatever, no one really knows where slang comes from, it just kinda appears in language. Nevertheless, I attempted to search our databases for an answer. I gave her a warning that it might be hard to find out the etymology of such a term.

Okay, but what's really surprising is that I WAS ABLE TO FIND OUT!

It turns out it first hit the national scene with the song "Fatty Girl" which was a collaboration for a Fubu album between Ludacris, LL Cool J, and Keith Murray. During Keith Murray's verse, (which was the 3rd and final verse of the track) he makes the exclamation "Girl, you got a badonkadonk! Don't hurt nobody!" It is believed that the phrase is an Angloization of either an African or Jamaican term for female behinds. Regardless of where Murray got the phrase, he is credited with exposing the term to the national conscience. He has since made mention of his claim to fame in his new song "Nobody Do It Better," where he boasts "Who got 'em saying Badonkadonk all around the world?" A common misconception is that Trace Adkins originated the term with his Country smash "Honky-Tonk Badonkadonk." While he might have widened its usage amongst the CMT crowd, there is no doubt that Murray predates this track by a good 5 years.

Now, what's really amusing about this whole situation is that at Reference, we are required to keep a log of questions asked (For accounting and ordering purposes, standard practice at all libraries, as far as I know). There was something hugely satisifying about writing down "Badonkadonk" under "Nature of inquiry"

I guess now the powers that be are going to order a whole bunch of booty materials to satisfy the public's growing need.

2 comments:

Monster Library Student said...

That's interesting...I am in MI and at both of the libraries I work at neither requires that we keep track of anything other than number of Reference questions per hour.

HeyMissLiberryLady said...

Wonderful! New Belfast and Longshore are special.... So so special.