Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jobby job

I was just corresponding with a grad student about summer work and she talked about maybe needing to get a jobby job. I knew the expression but had never thought about its place in the realm of English reduplication. Whole word, 'contrastive focus reduplication', is rampant now — "when I said I needed a chair, I meant a chair chair, not a stool", but this pattern isn't as common, that I know. (Maybe it is among the hip kids, but me and Hip ain't been in the same room in decades.)

In my experience, jobby job (often spelled jobbie job on the web) means a crap job, McJob, something to allow you to pay rent, but the web offers other definitions as well (like here). I figured, half-consciously, that it was reduplication with the diminutive -y on the first element. We have similar patterns from kitty cat to chinny chin chin, of course.

But part of what's fun about word histories is the little wrinkles they show on close examination. If you look around on the web, some people (a commenter on the link above) see the origin of the term in Snoop Doggy Dog's classic video for "Gin and Juice" (which you can watch here, with Dr. Dre making a guest appearance), where his father says:
Snoop Doggy Dog, you need to get a jobby job.
So, it's playing off of his name, but the name is built on the old pattern, I suppose. In fact, when his mother is trying to wake him up, she's yelling "Snoopy" to him.

Of course, there are other names of this sort. Those who work in the framework of Presidential Grammar will have long since thought of the Bushian nickname for Vladdy 'KGB' Putin, Pootie-Poot.

Wonder if this pattern will take off? Or maybe it's more widespread than I realize?


pc said...

Hm. My friends and I definitely said this in college, but I don't think it meant either a crap job or a job that you particularly wanted (like the definition you linked to on everything2). I think it was more just a "real" job, like in juxtaposition to doing schoolwork.

Joe said...

Oh, that's consistent with the context … let me check with this person and see what the intent was.

Bags said...

said grad student here: well like pc said, i meant neither specifically, but both get rolled into it by default i guess. i could have sworn i originally heard it in the movie Friday - but i just rewatched gin and juice, and that's definitely what i had in mind... usually in undergrad my friends and i would use it to be patronizing and flip with one another, not implying too much otherwise... urban dictionary's definition isn't so bad though: