I’m reading Dave Eggers’ book “What Is the What” and learning a lot about a lot of things, most notably, the conflict in southern Sudan and the plight of the Lost Boys. Among other things, I was introduced to Manute Bol, the native of Sudan who stood 7′ 7″ and played for the NBA. Bol has a cameo role in the book, and as it happens, he passed away last week at the age of 47.
So a hat tip to Gopher, who passed along this little tidbit about Bol: Evidently, he is credited with likely originating the expression of regret, “My bad.” According to a post on Johnson (the language blog at The Economist):
“An errant pass is often followed up with an acknowledgment to teammates: “my bad”, as in, “not your fault”. Mr Bol was Sudanese and a native speaker of Dinka; it’s just the kind of thing a non-native speaker of English might say, and it was reported to be distinctly his in 1989. It has since spread to other sports and general American slang.”
You can read more about this over at Language Log.