[Ads-l] Can you say "Cossack"?

imwitty imwitty at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 19 09:05:40 UTC 2015

Times ARE changing: my niece, who attended the USA school (starting from
the 1st grade, and until graduation) and even took (optional) Russian
language class, didn't study RUSSIAN and/or UKRAINIAN history and
literature in such details as you here MANY years ago, and definitely not
as myself OVER THERE, so those bikers probably were not familiar with
historical details, but did know from somebody else about that name, and
that was exactly the reason they took it for their GANG, as opposed to call
it, say, ROBIN HOODS... Those gangsters are PROUD of being followers of the

I totally agree with your comment about anglicized version: very often I
cannot recognize at once words, which I know from other languages,
including not just Russian or Ukrainian, but also French, German, Italian,
and even Spanish, when they are pronounced by the native English speakers,
certainly except the linguists, who know those languages.

As for the original pronunciation I mentioned, it was just my straight
answer to the question in the subject line -- Can you say Cossack?

On Mon, May 18, 2015 at 10:49 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Can you say "Cossack"?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Mon, May 18, 2015 at 6:31 PM, imwitty <imwitty at gmail.com> wrote:
> > But I suspect that somebody related to that gang had connection to Russia
> > and/or Ukraine, or at least somehow familiar with those countries and/or
> > their history, or just the literature =E2=80=93 A. Pushkin, N. Gogol, M.
> > Sholochow.
> >
> Somehow, I find it hard to believe that any familiarity  with Russian
> history and/or literature in order to be familiar with the word, "Cossack."
> Unless it really *is* the case that education in the United States has been
> dumbed down in the United States, to the extent that much of what was once
> common knowledge - that there are/were some bad motherfuckers called
> "Cossacks" that a motorcycle gang would want to name itself after.
> As for the pronunciation of the original name in Ukrainian and Russian,
> that has little to do with the pronunciation of the anglicized version of
> the name or its pronunciation by someone who has only read it and has never
> heard it pronounced and, as a consequence, is unfamiliar with the
> dictionary pronunciation.
> Eddie Kazak, who once played third base with the St. Louis Cardinals, used
> "KAY-zak" as his pronunciation.
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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