Date: Mon, 27 Feb 1995 09:01:29 CDT
From: Randy Roberts robertsr[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]EXT.MISSOURI.EDU
Subject: Long time, no see
There is an early article on pidgin English which talks about long
time, no see; looke see; no can do; etc., which attributes all to
Chinese. See Arno L. Bader, "The Anatomy of Living Language," in
WORDS, vol. 4, no. 6 (September 1938), pp. 86-88.
You might also look at Mamie Meredith's article in AMERICAN SPEECH of
There are also entries for look see in Fraser & Gibbons, SOLDIER &
SAILOR WORDS & PHRASES (London: 1925); and F. C. Bowen, SEA SLANG, A
DICTIONARY OF OLD-TIMERS' EXPRESSIONS AND EPITHETS (London: ca. 1930).
Bowen labels the term as pidgin English of the China Coast.
On a different track, Peter Tamony collected an early use of long time
no see as a caption under an illustration showing two Indians on foot
addressing a white scout on horseback. This example comes from
William F. Drannan, THIRTY ONE YEARS ON THE PLAINS AND IN THE
MOUNTAINS (Chicago: 1900), p. 580.
University of Missouri-Columbia
robertsr[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ext.missouri.edu