Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 06:55:26 -0400 From: "Dennis R. Preston" Subject: Re: Etymology of _Hoosier_ Well, while we're on favorites for folk etymologies of 'Hoosier,' how about this one? The hard-drinkin', quick-to-fight, rough-and-ready backwoodsmen of early Indiana apparently had a thing or to to teach Mike Tyson since biting off body parts was such a common accompaniment to fisticuffs that after a fight one might look around on the floor and say 'Whose ear'? Why is folk etymology so much more rewarding than the truth? Dennis >>Mitford Mathews cracked this etymological nut on page 830 of his >>_Dictionary of Americanisms_, wherein he indicates its most probable >>source as _hoozer, "very large" in the dialect of Cumberland, northern >>England. >> >>DARE attests the term quite widely and early outside Indiana. Indeed, >>until the mid-20th century, mountaineers in Tennessee and North Carolina >>were called _hoosiers_. How the term has come to be associated with >>Indianans is a more recent but intriguing story. >> >>Michael Montgomery >>Dept of English >>Univ of South Carolina >>Columbia SC 29208 > >My favorite explanation appeares in Schele de Vere's _Americanisms_. He >reports that "Hoosier" came about because of the way people there >(Indiana) said "Who's here?" > >Fritz Juengling >Dept of Foreign Languages >St Cloud State University >Minnesota > >Fritz Juengling >Foreign Languages and Literature Department >St. Cloud State University Dennis R. Preston Department of Linguistics and Languages Michigan State University East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Office: (517)353-0740 Fax: (517)432-2736