Near the end of my B Block precalculus class this morning, a couple of juniors happen to mention this blog and asked me to give a shout-out here to B Block. I said I would do so.
But first, of course, being a linguistics geek, I had to go research the origin and connotations of the word “shout-out” — with or without a hyphen. Of several sources, the Wikipedia article seemed pretty reliable. (They* aren’t always, of course.) It’s short enough to quote in its entirety. Here’s most of it:
A shout-out is a greeting or acknowledgment of a person, group, or organization of significance. It is often done as a sign of respect, synonymous with “giving props”.
The Oxford English Dictionary dates the term back to 1990, and notes that in the United States the term is particularly used among fans and performers of rap music (shout-outs are of particular significance in hip-hop culture), while in the United Kingdom it is particularly associated with the rave and club subculture. On either side of the Atlantic, the term is not limited to those groups. Contestants on game shows almost always are given an opportunity to “shout out” to friends and family watching the show on television at home, and other entertainment media that involve one-time appearances by regular people (such as talk shows) also occasionally allow shout-outs.
It’s not surprising that a term originating from rap and hip-hop would be popular among a group of white and Asian teens.
And so…I am happy to give a shout-out to B Block! (But don’t feel slighted if you’re in C, E, or G; it was B Block that asked. Ask, and you shall receive.)
*I know. I used a plural pronoun with a singular antecedent. But the meaning would change to something completely incorrect if I wrote “it isn’t” here instead of “they aren’t.” Sometimes rules need to be broken. (And I had to put this footnote in, since Abby commented on how unusual it is to have footnotes in a blog.)