Date: Thu, 25 Dec 1997 05:19:59 EST


Subject: Canuck (part two)



(Bergin & Garvey, 1990).

Pg. 59: The name _canuck_ was not traditionally considered derogatory by

either Francophones or Anglophones in Canada, though it may have later become

so in the knowledge of how the term was used in the United States. Note the

name of the Vancouver Canucks, a famous hockey team. In popular culture, the

name also become a symbol of Canada, in the personification of Johnny Canuck,

much like John Bull for England and Uncle Sam for the United States. One no

less than Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1977 said he had never

heard the name used pejoratively in Canada. But Quebeckers in the United

States consider _canuck_ highly offensive, about the worst name they can be

called. Anglophone Canadians and Americans around the border of the New

England states and Quebec probably applied the name _canuck_ to the lower-

status, French-speaking Acadians. The name, while not necessarily offensive

in Canada, was nonetheless offensive to Francophone immigrants who felt

marginal in New England. In the 1972 Presidential primaries, a rumor was

circulated that Maine's Senator Edmund Muskie, who is of Polish background,

had referred to U. S. Quebeckers as "canucks"--and that is a fighting word in

Maine. The dirty trick brought Muskie temporary embarrassment and required

strong denials.

pp. 61-62: The name, in its early history, might have been borrowed from the

speech of an early Canadian minority as an informal name for that group.

Later it somehow emerged as a national symbol of all Candians, and yet later,

in its unfavorable sense, settled upon Francophone Canadians in the United

States. W. W. Schuhmacher's hypothesis (1989) ("Once More Canuck," AMERICAN

SPEECH, vol. 64, pg. 149--ed.) that _canuck_ derives from a blend of the _can_

of _Canadian_ and the _nuk_ of the Inuit or Eskimo word _inuk_ for "man" or

"Eskimo," would support such a word history. Mitford Mathews (1975), on the

other hand, argued that _canuck_ derives from _kanacka_, Hawaiian for "man,"

which was borrowed from and used for indentured Sandwich Islanders who served

as canoemen in colonial Canada. The spelling of the first syllables of

_Canadian_ and _canuck_ at any rate accounts for the popular etymology that

_canuck_ came from _canada_ and _Canadian_.