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Dekko

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Dekko

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:46 pm

• dekko •


Pronunciation: de-ko • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: (British slang) To look, take a look, take a gander.

Notes: Like many borrowed slang words, this one has not formed a family. The only problem it presents is in its spelling. It began to appear in the 1850s without the final O as dekh or deck. By the early 1900s we find it as dekho, decko and, finally, in today's preferred spelling dekko. Although we list it as a verb, like so many verbs (look included), it may be freely used as a noun: "Take a dekko at that!"

In Play: Although you probably wouldn't want to use this word in a job interview, it will do in an informal conversation: "Freddie dekkoed the crowd at the party and decided to go outside and sit on a park bench until his mates came out." When you use it as a noun, it fits whereever the US correlate gander would: "Take a dekko at what's on Brian's arm over there and tell me he's not good with the birds."

Word History: Today's Good British Word was brought home from India by British soldiers in the 19th century. Its source is Hindi Dekho! "See!", the imperative of dekhna "to see". The Proto-Indo-European root that produced this word in Hindi's parent language, Sanskrit, turned up in the Greek word drakon "dragon", which filtered down through Latin and French to English. (Don't ask what happened to the R in dekko.) The Germanic languages used it, too, for it entered Old English as torht "bright", a word that never made it out of Old English. More remarkable is what happened to the Latin version. The diminutive of dracon "dragon", dracunculus, was worn down by Old French to draoncle "boil, festering sore". At this point English borrowed it and honed it a bit more into rankle. (We are getting a dekko at today's Good Word because Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira, the Alpha Agora's Brazilian Dude, was kind enough to recommend it.)
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Re: Dekko

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:52 am

I thought all Hindi words were in the imperative mode; verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc. - all imperative. At least I gather that from hearing English spoken as a first language by many Indians. :D
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: Dekko

Postby MTC » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:24 am

Knowing next to nothing about Hindi, I thought I would take the opportunity to learn just a little bit more than nothing: specifically, "The most common mood in Hindi is the indicative mood, which is used to indicate statements about facts or beliefs, etc."
(http://hindilanguage.info/hindi-grammar ... erb-forms/)

Regarding Philip's comment that he "thought all Hindi words were in the imperative mode," it may be that he has encountered some particularly bossy folks at his local Seven-Eleven. Just a guess, mind you...
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Re: Dekko

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:53 pm

:lol:
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: Dekko

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:21 pm

After some deep meditation on the Good Word dekko, I have rejected it as a part of my speaking and writing vocabulary. As with every word, I am glad to have it in my reading vocabulary.

My previous Hindi comment was not in total sincerity, hence the Emotigram. I know little Hindi. I learned to count to ten in Hindi once, but it is so nearly like Farsi counting that I now get them confused. I know enough to be convinced that Farsi and Hindi are both a part of the great PIE language group. I do notice that Indians educated by British teachers tend to put on an imperative tone of voice in much they say. Example: "You will PLEASE sit DOWN." Hindi speakers, who have learned their English from American teachers, do not have this "fault". Note: no Emotigram here.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: Dekko

Postby MTC » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:39 pm

बहुत ही रोचक!
Bahuta hī rōcaka! :D

P.S. Turbaned emoticon unavailable.
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Re: Dekko

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:42 pm

But perhaps there is a turbaned translator?
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Re: Dekko

Postby call_copse » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:33 am

I'd certainly advise against non-ironic conversational use of this word, to me it is definitely interbellum slang. Unless you regularly greet people by saying 'What ho!' (which I might occasionally, just for comic effect) 'taking a dekko' is not something you should profess an interest in.

To me it is irrevocably associated with Biggles, the dashing pilot creation of Captain W.E Johns. I loved the books as a wee 'un and at some point read through every one I could find.

Here is a parody that employs the word dekko:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/archers/lis ... gles.shtml

'"Just had a report" said the Squadron Leader, addressing the hat stand again. "Looks like something big is about to blow up. I want you to go and take a dekko." "Jolly good" said Jiggles, and leapt though the office window straight into the cockpit of her Hereford, which was conveniently parked outside. She tore off the parking ticket that a military traffic warden had just issued, and roared airborne, Archie and Ginger close behind in their own fighters.'

Definitely not a pastiche as it name checks the original names in a humorous manner!
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Re: Dekko

Postby MTC » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:40 pm

To Perry: "Very interesting!"

To cal_copse: Here's my continuation:

As she confronted the daunting odds, the solution came to Jiggles in a flash. Relying on her degree in Classics (First Honors, Cambridge class of 1915) she would take a page from the Odyssey to evade the Hun. It was the resourceful Ulysses, was it not, who strapped his men to the bellies of sheep to escape the blinded cyclops, Polyphemus? "Brilliant!" Jiggles thought, "now all I've got to do is find a sheep in good health, reverse my fleece-lined long coat, strap myself to the sheep's underside, and toddle off homeward for a much-needed cup of Tetley. Simple, what?" And so with a hearty (if sub voce) "What Ho!" Jiggles shinnied down the tree with her squirrel headdress in search of a suitable sheep....
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Re: Dekko

Postby call_copse » Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:44 am

If I didn't know he had passed away some time back I'd assume you were actually the dashing W. E. Johns himself posting anonymously MTC. What ho!
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Re: Dekko

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:55 pm

We have done a bunch of serial poems. Now we seem to have begun serial (cereal?) stories!
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Re: Dekko

Postby misterdoe » Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:53 pm

I doona ken a whit about this 'ere UK slang. Pretty much confined to the UK and India, innit?

And I'm sure I've mashed Scots, English, and Indian expressions all together here :D
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