non-chuck (1972), nunchuck (1974)

Victor aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 16 18:32:51 UTC 2009

Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
> See the Word Routes column for context -- I'm talking about how
> "nunchaku" (dated to 1969) evolved into "nunchuck" and other
> Anglicized variants. "Nunchuck" gets its own OED entry separate from
> "nunchaku".
Certainly explains my confusion.
> I did look for antedatings of "nunchaku" too, but didn't find anything
> definitive to beat OED3's 1969 cite. The Google Books hit for "This is
> Japan" looks to be misdated -- you can "Search in this book" and find
> references to 1975, for instance.
I don't know enough about the alleged (even though I was the one doing
the alleging, following GoogleBooks) 1960 reference or the 1963 one to
the bilingual Nunchaku guide. Note that there are multiple entries for
each of them which may imply multiple printings/editions, multiple
volumes (as appears to be the case with This Is Japan--possibly an
annual publication). There are copied of "This is Japan" by Asahi
Shinbunsha (which is not a name, but rather the reference to the Asahi
Shimbun publisher) dated to 1965 and 1955. The specific reference that
GoogleBooks cited for "nunchaku" gives the issue no. 7 and the year
1960--seems very specific for a misleading reference. Unfortunately, it
only offers an unintelligible snippet view of page 272. Perhaps someone
at Indiana can verify this reference directly. On the other hand, This
is Japan hit from 1963 is listed as "Tenth Anniversary", which is
consistent both with the 1960 being volume 7 and with the reference to a
1955 volume. Is it possible that "Search this book" actually gave you a
different volume?

However, I will stick to my law enforcement suggestion. If someone can
beat me to the Lexis search on nunchaku, I am sure that references will
pop up earlier than 1969, at least, in California. I'll try to get to a
Lexis account next week.


The American Dialect Society -

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