Date: Thu, 15 Jun 1995 15:58:00 GMT


Subject: Fwd: Re(2): Yankee?

The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology:

"a nickname, as applied in early quotations: _Yankey Duch_ (1683), _Captain

Yankey_ (1684), _John Williams, Yankee_ (1687), all from the same source, and

'one negro man named _Yankee_" (1725), also used by General James Wolfe

(1758) as a term of contempt and found later as a general term for a native

or inhabitant of New England (1765). This record shows a thread of usage

traceable to earliest occurrence through the various opprobrius uses and the

later prideful adoptions by the New England colonists themselves. What the

earliest associations were is undecipherable with present evidence, but the

word almost certainly came from the Dutch, wheter ultimately from the

Flemings is quetionable; certainly a parallel to the pseudoeponym John Bull

is suggested in the explanation by the Dutch linguist Henri Logeman, in

_Studies in English Philology_ (Klaeber volume, Minneapolis, 1929, pp.

403-13), in which he postulates that the name may have been an alteration of

Ducth _Jan Kees_, dialectal variant of _Jan Kaas_, literally, John Cheese, a

nickname for Dutchmen used by Flemings.

"By about 1784 _Yankee_ was extended by British writers and speakers to apply

to Americans in general; then from about 1812, and particularly since the

Civil War, the name has been applied in the South to anyone from the northern

states above the Mason-Dixon line. The informal clipped form _Yank_ is

recorded from 1778.

"Any association with American Indian use, such as _Yankee_, representing

their pronunciation of the word "English," or _Yanke, Yankee, Yankoo_ as a

tribal name is not supported by convincing evidence.