Yesterday on ADS-L, Amy West reported
a sign by the front door of a triple-decker house in our neighborhood that says
Do not throw cigarette nuts on the ground.
Amy thought that cigarette nuts was an eggcorn — not previously reported, as it turns out — for cigarette butts. But things might be more complex than that.
I found only three Google cites, and they’re all from Liberia:
A man once found forty-nine cigarette nuts. For every seven of the forty-nine cigarette nuts that he joins together, he gets one cigarette and he is able to smoke it. How many cigarettes was the man able to smoke? (link)
The house was unfurnished, dirty, and smelly with a thousand cigarette nuts that indicated, Andrew would be dead in no time. (link)
He said security officers at the base also made him drink his urine and to chew cigarette nuts. (link)
So I asked Amy where she lives, and if she knows who lives in that house. Her reply:
I live in Worcester, MA and we have a large African immigrant community, including folks from Liberia. And there have been in the past African immigrants living literally just across the street from the house that has the sign, but they aren’t there currently. However, I haven’t seen any African-immigrant residents of the triple-decker with the sign. But it could be that the building owner is an African immigrant.
So, do you think this is less likely an eggcorn and more a Liberian English dialectal variant?
I’ve written to John Singler to tap his knowledge of Liberian English, but he’s out of e-touch for a while. Stay tuned.