Date: Sat, 25 Feb 1995 14:10:14 -0500


Subject: Re: long time no see

I'm not sure whether "long time no see" has roots in Chinese Pidgin

English (the most likely source of Sinicisms into English), but if it

does Cantonese of ca. 1800 would be the Chinese source. In Mandarin,

the phrase referred to is "hao/ jiu^ bu jian\" (Pinyin w/rough tone

marks), which lit. translates as [good-long-not-see].

Perhaps more to the point, "long time no see" is perfectly

colloquial Jamaican Patwa (Jamaican English Creole, if you like),

occurring in popular and folk-songs as well as in conversation. No

Chinese roots there, I'm pretty certain! I'm not sure whether it

occurs colloquially in other English-related creoles or pidgins--

anyone know? but it need not be qualified as "pidginesque", it's

full-blooded creole!

If anyone can find a reference in a slang or phrase dictionary

(my own shelves being pretty bare of such things), I'd be very

interested to know about citations.

--peter patrick