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YANKEE

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YANKEE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Jul 04, 2005 7:48 am

• Yankee •

Pronunciation: yæng-kee • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A term for natives of the American Colonies, dating from the 17th century. It gained wider usage during the War of Independence (1775-1783) and continues today.

Notes: Southerners, who use today's word strictly to refer to Northerners, are often taken aback when they go abroad and hear themselves called Yanks. But today is a day of national unity in the US, so distinctions like this disappear, at least temporarily. Before you start singing or playing "Yankee Doodle Dandy", though, you might want to read Audra Himes's analysis and explication of the lyrics to that patriotic song by clicking here.

In Play: We suggest you not use today's Good Word as do our Cockney brethren in England. In Cockney slang, Yank rhymes with tank so, as a result of the crystal clear logic of that game, US Americans become Seppos, short for septic tank. You fill in the blanks. Australians have picked up the habit, too. Of course, we have a few unflattering names for them, too.

Word History: A British officer in 1789 suggested that Yankee comes from the Cherokee word eankhe "slave, coward". It might just as well come from a Native American pronunciation of English, yengees, which later became Yankees. Yankee could have been withdrawn from this word by back derivation. Most probably, however, it comes from Dutch nickname for Jan "John"—Janke, where Dutch 'j' = [y]. In 1817, an observer noted that the populace of Richmond were "mostly strangers; Scotch, Irish, and especially New England men, or Yankees, as they are called." (We dedicate today's word to soldiers and their families who fought—and continue to fight—to protect values of this Great Experiment around the world.)
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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:19 am

In Cockney slang, Yank rhymes with tank

Only in Cockney slang? :shock:

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Re: YANKEE

Postby anders » Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:17 am

Dr. Goodword wrote:Most probably, however, it comes from Dutch nickname for Jan "John"—Janke, where Dutch 'j' = [y].

plus Kees, the Dutch nickname for Nicholas.
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Postby Stargzer » Mon Jul 04, 2005 12:32 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:
In Cockney slang, Yank rhymes with tank

Only in Cockney slang? :shock:

Brazilian dude


No, but the Cockney slang takes it a step further:

In Cockney slang, Yank rhymes with tank so, as a result of the crystal clear logic of that game, US Americans become Seppos, short for septic tank. You fill in the blanks.


Remember, the big complaint about US soldiers in Britain during WWII is that they were ". . . overpaid, oversexed, and over here."

Cockney rhyming slang isn't always obvious; I think it was originally meant as a way to communicate among a closed group while in public, so only those "in the know" would know what they were talking about.
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Re: YANKEE

Postby frank » Mon Jul 04, 2005 12:59 pm

Oops, sorry for posting this reply twice. This time on the right place...

<<<Most probably, however, it comes from Dutch nickname for Jan "John"—Janke, where Dutch 'j' = [y].<<<

This poses a problem, since in most Dutch (dialects and older forms) the diminutive after a dental is -tje > Jantje, or an extra vowel is inserted > Janneke.
In Fryslân, Janke is common, though (m/f).
In Germany, it's a fairly common family name.

In the booklet Total Dutch. Meer dan duizend woorden en uitdrukkingen met Dutch, vertaald, verklaard en toegelicht (More than a 1000 words and expressions with Dutch translated and explained), the authors give the following comments:
- The word is derived from Janke (diminutive of Jan];
- Yankee is derived from the two common names Jan and Kees. Quote: "This nonsense is often told in the Netherlands";
- Originally, it was yankey and it would refer to the name of a ship or a captain;
- Yankee is the result of the wrong pronunciation by indians of the word anglais;
- from eankke, salve, taken from an indian language;
- from Yaquis, the name of an indian tribe;
- from Scottish yankie, meaning smart;

[All these explanations are dismissed. And i'm sorry, but the authors are very concise in their explanations.]

The explanation that gets most credits is...
Jan Kees, but Kees meaning "cheese". Seems that already in the 17th century the Dutch were called "Jan Kaas", John the Cheese. Inquite a few dialects kaas is pronounced as kees. (in Belgium, the Dutch are still often referred to as kaaskop, or keeskop, lit. cheesehead).
Since "Jan Kees" is perceived as a plural in English, it became Jankee > English orthography Yankee.

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Postby Garzo » Mon Jul 04, 2005 1:35 pm

In Europe, I only hear this word used in a derogatory manner. I am unsure whether this is a feature of the word itself or because of the perceived nature of US foreign policy.
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Postby KatyBr » Mon Jul 04, 2005 5:47 pm

That's because in Europe Yankee is an epethet,here it's a baseball team and we are not allowed to use epethets here.

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