[Ads-l] Long Time No See

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 6 15:12:42 EST 2018


"Long time no see" (regardless of correspondences in other languages) could
have simultaneously represented stereotypical pidgin English among Chinese
and Native American speakers. The 1878 example that Bill found, with "no
see him," reminds me of "no-see-um" for the biting midge, which early OED
cites suggest was taken to be Native American pidgin.

1837   Amer. Jrnl. Sci 32 28   A very small black fly, which our guides
called ‘minges’ [sic], and to which the Indians give the appropriate name
of ‘No-see-'ems’.
1842   N. Amer. Rev. Jan. 100   In some parts of New England and Canada, is
a kind of midge..which is sufficiently formidable to the feeling, though so
minute to the eye that the Indians in Maine give it the name of No-see-'em.

On Tue, Nov 6, 2018 at 3:01 PM Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at mst.edu> wrote:

> Fwiw, I thought this came from Chinese, where the expression is
> Haojiu bujian  (I omit the intonations here).
>
> Gerald Cohen
>
> Ads-l] Long Time No See (UNCLASSIFIED)MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY
> RDECOM AMRDEC (USA) william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL <mailto:
> ads-l%40listserv.linguistlist.org
> ?Subject=Re%3A%20%5BAds-l%5D%20Long%20Time%20No%20See%20%28UNCLASSIFIED%29&In-Reply-To=%3CDA30304FDC118144BABD306C0B38F3249FA69994%
> 40UGUNHPAF1.easf.csd.disa.mil%3E>
> Tue Nov 6 13:28:21 EST 2018
>
>   *   Previous message (by thread): [Ads-l] Fw: RAGGED time (message from
> Barry Popik) <
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2018-November/153492.html
> >
>   *   Next message (by thread): [Ads-l] Long Time No See (UNCLASSIFIED) <
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2018-November/153494.html
> >
>   *   Messages sorted by: [ date ]<
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2018-November/date.html#153493>
> [ thread ]<
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2018-November/thread.html#153493>
> [ subject ]<
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2018-November/subject.html#153493>
> [ author ]<
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2018-November/author.html#153493
> >
>
> ________________________________
>
> CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED
>
> Until today, I had no idea that the subject phrase was microagressive.
>
> http://reason.com/blog/2018/11/06/long-time-no-see-is-considered-offensive
>
> OED has 1894.
>
> Carson City NV _Carson Daily Appeal_ 16 Aug 1878 p 4 col 2
> " "Long time no see him," says the noble red man."
>
> Cleveland OH _Plain Dealer_ 26 Jan 1892 p 14 col 5
> ""I think I go see my mamma today.  Long time no see,"answered Mamie, who
> from constant association had, like the other girls of the neighborhood,
> fallen into the habit of talking pigeon English to the Chinamen."
>
> _San Francisco Chronicle_ 11 Jun 1892 p 8 col 4 [classified ad]
> "MAJOR -- WHERE DO YOU KEEP YOUR-
> self?  Long time no see you. HONG KONG."
>
>

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


More information about the Ads-l mailing list