Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Wed Jan 16 19:30:28 UTC 2002

Another interpretation of "yankee" derives it from the Algonquian
pronunciation of "Englishmen" (applied, by extension, to all white
Europeans):  [iNk at l@Sm at n], cited by Ives Goddard (1977) as
Munsee.  Leechman and Hall, who collected samples of the Indian English
used in native-white contact situations, found the spelling "Ingismon" in
early records, and Armstrong (1971) found "Yengees man" and "Yengees," the
latter adopted by Fenimore Cooper.  With initial palatalization, the
transition to "Yengee" and ultimately "Yankee" makes sense.

I've discussed this debate and the general history of native-white contact
English (a pidgin, in effect) in my dissertation (Indiana, 1981)--available
from Ann Arbor, if anyone's interested.

BTW, cf. the Amish use (and others?) of "English" for all non-Amish

At 09:48 AM 1/16/02 -0800, you wrote:
>Can anybody suggest a source of information on this folklore figure?  Or a
>source connecting Kees with cheese?  The modern standard Dutch word for
>cheese is kaas, while Kees is a nickname for Cornelius.  Jan-Kees is a
>common enough compound first name in Dutch, with no echo of a folkloric
>figure of ridicule as far as I can tell, and certainly no connection with
>cheese.  So I'm at a loss for an internal Dutch explanation for a
>connection between Kees and cheese.  Well, maybe not completely at a loss:
>given that both the German and the English cognates have an umlauted vowel,
>I suppose a Dutch dialect with umlaut might be the source of a form
>kees=cheese, but this is just a guess.  (I should perhaps check my big
>Dutch dictionary when I get home to see if it sheds any light.)
>Peter Mc.
>--On Wednesday, January 16, 2002 9:56 AM -0500 "Dennis R. Preston"
><preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU> wrote:
>>Joe; I think you have this backwards.
>>One proposed etymology does indeed come from the Dutch Jan Kees (John
>>Cheese), the traditional nincompoop in Dutch folklore. The
>>explanation is, therefore, that the Dutch saw their surrounding
>>English-speaking neighbors as nincompoops and laid this "Jan Kees"
>>label on them. The rest is interlingual phonological history.
>>What's the latest word on this proposed etymology? I guess I reckoned
>>it to be a fairly well-established one (so much so that Roger Shuy
>>and I reported it as gospel in the old language variation films we
>>made for USIA), but the word history hunt is doubtless filled with
>>new findings I haven't followed.
>>>Another food-related ethnic tag might be "Yankee"
>>>According to some source I have since lost, the term came from the
>>>English settlers of New York, who called the cheese-loving Dutchmen who
>>>populated the area "Jan-Cheeses."  Does this explanation ring a bell for
>>>anyone? --Joe F.
>                               Peter A. McGraw
>                   Linfield College   *   McMinnville, OR
>                            pmcgraw at linfield.edu

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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