Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 03:01:33 -0400
From: "Barry A. Popik" Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: O. K. ( a new "Oh ki" from Boston)
The Library Company of Philadelphia had the 1836 COMIC TOKEN (A
COMPANION TO THE COMIC ALMANAC), which was published in Boston in 1835. This
is from pg. 16:
A negro was brought to England, and the first point shown him being the
chalky cliffs of Dover, "Oh ki!" he said, "me know now what make the buckras
all so white!"
"O. K." was first cited in Boston in the spring of 1839; an "Oh ki!" here
in a comic periodical likely to have been read by the "O. K." writers may be
"OK--IS IT AFRICAN?" by Frederic G. Cassidy can be found in American
Speech 55 (1980), pages 269-273. Page 271 discusses "Oh ki." There is an
1816 citation, but it is obscure and punctuated "Oh, ki, massa...." Other
examples of "ki" alone are given.
My cite is a plain "Oh ki," cited at the right place (Boston) and the
right time (1830s).
Give it what weight you will.