re: Teenagers page 2

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Hmm. I myself became a teenager in 1948 and I ... shrieking girls at Frank Sinatra concerts in the early 40s.

There were young people then who were called something like "Bobbysoxers". I do not know whether they were always female, but I think the Sinatra fans were and I think they wore shoes called "saddle oxfords".

And, of course, they wore bobby sox (socks).
As for shrieking girls, what about those on Blondel's "Looking for " European tour in 1193? Not to mention the time he walked a tightrope over Niagara Falls.

John Dean
Oxford
Hmm. I myself became a teenager in 1948 and I ... shrieking girls at Frank Sinatra concerts in the early 40s.

There were young people then who were called something like "Bobbysoxers". I do not know whether they were always female, ... were and I think they wore shoes called "saddle oxfords". A male variation might have been the ones called "Zootsuiters".

Bobbysoxers were indeed female, an so-called because the socks that they wore were cut low over the shoe or "bobbed". Think of the white athletic sock worn by tennis players, but a little bit higher. Saddle oxfords - white and black or white and brown - were fashionable in those times. See: for a photo of a girl in bobby sox, saddle oxfords, and a poodle skirt.

The zoot suit, though, was not a companion outfit. The zoot suit came about in the 40s in the American negro (the term used then) communities. Zoot-suiters were more likely to listen to Ellington, Parker or Calloway than Frank Sinatra.
Bobbysox were a white girl thing, and zoot suits were a black male thing.
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The zoot suit, though, was not a companion outfit. The zoot suit came about in the 40s in the American negro (the term used then) communities.

Oy!
Zoot-suiters were more likely to listen to Ellington, Parker or Calloway than Frank Sinatra. Bobbysox were a white girl thing, and zoot suits were a black male thing.

Originally, yes, but I think by the latter '40s they'd been taken up by "white" persons, Mexican-Americans, etc. Weren't the Zoot Suit Riots around that time? My father mentioned wearing a zoot suit in what I think would have been the early '50s.
And why do you assume that no black girls dressed similarly or identically to the "white" bobbysoxers? I'd say that bobbysoxers were a race-neutral thing. If not, what were the different fashions or uniforms in use among black girls?
Also, what's this about "Parker"? If you mean Charlie Parker, his listening base was of mixed race from the get-go, nor was he ever extraordinarily popular among black listeners.
Moreover, it's not like no black people enthusiastically listened to Frank Sinatra. The country was a lot more racially segregated then, yes, but it wasn't all like Indianapolis.

Steny '08!
There were young people then who were called something like ... A male variation might have been the ones called "Zootsuiters".

Bobbysoxers were indeed female, an so-called because the socks that they wore were cut low over the shoe or "bobbed". ... Parker or Calloway than Frank Sinatra. Bobbysox were a white girl thing, and zoot suits were a black male thing.

OED traces "Zoot Suit" to the forties. The earliest cite is from 1942 but refers to a song about Zoot suits so the origin is clearly earlier than '42. They confirm the origin among black Americans but one of my Grandson's favourite cartoons is Tom & Jerry in "Zoot Cat" in which Tom acquires a Zoot to impress a hot tamale but it shrinks and ends up fitting Jerry. So the Zoot had spread to cats and mice by 1944.

John Dean
Oxford
You want a paragraph or so of explanation to a non-regular to give a general explanation, or do you want a few chapters on the history of fads and fashion?
The zoot suit did evolve from the negro community. Bobby socks did evolve from the white teen girl community. Black people did not generally embrace Sinatra in the bobbysox era. Where those styles and customs went from there can be the subject of a few chapters of American history and social custom. If you want to add those chapters, feel free to do so.
Segregation is not directly tied to the subject at hand except in the sense that there were two separate racial communities each with their own styles, fads, interests, etc.
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I wonder if other languages than English have the word ... you get "zehn" on the end, but are there "Zehnsteren"?

In Danish we use the word "teenager" meaning "13-19 year olds". In Danish 12 is tolv, 13 is tretTEN, 14 fjorTEN, 15 femTEN, 16 seksTEN, 17 sytTEN, 18 atTEN, 19 nitTEN, 20 tyve. You see the pattern?

The Swedes use the word "tonåring"; "ton" replaces the above mentioned "ten" in Danish, the remainder is the same, and "åring" means "year-old".
In German, the words are 13 dreiZEHN, 14 vierZEHN, 15 fünfZEHN, 16 sechZEHN, 17 siebZEHN, 18 achZEHN, 19 neunZEHN. The prefix to these suffixes, in all languages, mean 3..9, so probably the pattern is common Germanic.
The term "teenager" is becoming universal partly because other languages don't have a similar term. But I think most other countries don't get that teenagerdom/teenagerhood only starts at 13, and take it to mean any child in double digits.

10-19 olds? The 19-year-olds included? I'd say you're a child until you reach 18, a youth in the range 18-29 - and then an adult:-).

Per Erik Rønne
There is a sizeable literature on the development of the ... usually assigned to the mid-1950s and to the United States.

Hmm. I myself became a teenager in 1948 and I can't recall the term "teenager" being in use at that ... aspects of teenage culture definitely began earlier; I'm thinking of shrieking girls at Frank Sinatra concerts in the early 40s.

I find this interesting:
Main Entry: teen·age
Variant(s): or teen·aged \-jd\
Date: 1921
of, being, or relating to people in their teens
- teen·ag·er \ jr\ noun
Main Entry: 2 teen
Date: 1818
a teenage person : TEENAGER
- teen adjective
In particular, I wonder what they could have found in 1818, and where. Is it in the OED?
I also don't remember ever seeing any jokes about the other definition of "teen":
Main Entry: 1 teen
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English tene, from Old English tona injury, grief; akin to Old Norse tjn loss, damage
Date: 13th century
archaic : MISERY, AFFLICTION
That was just crying out for some Generation Gap jokes, if it had only been known.

Best Donna Richoux
The zoot suit, though, was not a companion outfit. The ... girl thing, and zoot suits were a black male thing.

OED traces "Zoot Suit" to the forties. The earliest cite is from 1942 but refers to a song about Zoot ... tamale but it shrinks and ends up fitting Jerry. So the Zoot had spread to cats and mice by 1944.

It's always an interesting choice in writing about the past to decide which term to use: African-American, black, or negro. (The three major terms) I find it easy to refer to the "African-Americans of the 40s" or the "black Americans of the 40s", but I think of the community as the "negro community". To have a sense of "community" the term should - in my opinion - reflect what the community would call itself in those days.
I don't have any books at hand written by African-American authors that tell me how they refer to the past. I suppose, though, that the references - just like mine - would be the preference of the author and not a matter of established style.
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Bobbysoxers were indeed female, an so-called because the socks that they wore were cut low over the shoe or "bobbed". ... in those times. See: for a photo of a girl in bobby sox, saddle oxfords, and a poodle skirt.[/nq]
In my day, at San Jose High, the girls rolled the socks down to the shoes. To see that, see

On the right is the girl (she was our Homecoming queen), wearing saddle oxfords and rolled-down socks. I knew her well. The year was 1950.
Skitt (in Hayward, California)
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