[Ads-l] Kavanaugh yearbook

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 28 10:48:42 EDT 2018


O. Henry's story refers in part to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05.
Coverage introduced Americans to many long and unfamiliar Russian names
ending in "-ski."

That may have been the suffix's occasion.

The comparable "buttinksy" is from the same period.

JL

On Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 10:12 AM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
wrote:

> 1907 "O. Henry" _The Trimmed Lamp_ (N.Y.: McClure, Philips) 139:  Talk
> about your Russians — say, wouldn't they give you a painsky when it comes
> to a scrapovitch?
>
> 1907-08 Warren G.  Davenport _Butte and Montana beneath the X-Ray_ 207
> (London: C. F. Cazenove, 1908)  : Get your snoots wet with hooch or
> else...skidooski.
>
> 1908 Helen Green _The Maison de Shine_  (N.Y.: B. W. Dodge) 208: It...put
> a top-line act on the fritzsky.
>
> Etc., etc.
>
> "Brewski" may be the only ex. to have been fully lexicalized.
>
> JL
>
>
>
>
>
> On Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 9:09 AM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> On Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 7:42 AM Amy West <medievalist at w-sts.com> wrote:
>>
>> > On 9/28/18 00:00, ADS-L automatic digest system wrote:
>> > > Date:    Thu, 27 Sep 2018 18:36:24 -0400
>> > > From:    Jonathan Lighter<wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
>> > > Subject: Re: Kavanaugh yearbook
>> > >
>> > > A quick but non-definitive check reveals no Google Books exx. of
>> _*ski_,
>> > > 'glass, can, or bottle of beer.'
>> > >
>> > > JL
>> >
>> > So, is -ski a productive suffix that can get added to anything? Or does
>> > it appear only in "brewski"? I find it interesting that the meaningful
>> > root has been dropped, leaving only the suffix to carry the meaning by
>> > association/context.
>> >
>> > And while Jonathan Lighter has pointed out the cutback from "whiskey",
>> > coming from New Britain, CT, I've always interpreted it as a playful use
>> > of a common Polish surname ending (e.g. Pulaski). Would "diminutive"
>> > cover that playful aspect of the suffix? And, yes, I fully recognize
>> > that the "playfulness" plays into/on/enacts an ethnic stereotype.
>> >
>>
>> The suffix "-ski" has been fairly productive over the years -- lots of
>> historical examples in Green's Dictionary of Slang, e.g. "darnfoolski" and
>> "dumbski" in a 1916 word-list from Nebraska in Dialect Notes. Some
>> relevant
>> discussion:
>>
>> ---
>> Connie Eble, _Slang and Sociability_ (UNC Press, 1996), p. 78
>> _Brewski_ has long been a slang term for "beer", but the Polish-sounding
>> _-ski_ is also a suffix added to the name of a person who does something
>> stupid: "Toddski, you went away for the weekend with my car keys in your
>> pocket."
>> ---
>> Tony Thorne, _Dictionary of Contemporary Slang_ (A&C Black, 2009), p. 394
>> _-ski_, _-sky_ suffix American
>> a humorous ending added, usually to slang terms, by teenagers and
>> students.
>> Examples are _finski_ and _buttinsky_. The termination indicates
>> friendship, respect, acceptance into the group when attached to a proper
>> name, e.g. 'Normski' (a black UK TV presenter). When terminating the name
>> of an object, e.g. _brewski_, it denotes affectionate familiarity. The
>> suffix occurs in Slavonic languages and in many Yiddish names.
>> ---
>> Adrian Akmajian, et al., _Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and
>> Communication_ (MIT Press, 2017), p. 287
>> Affixes can be used also, withthe slang suffix _-ski_ (or _-sky_), found
>> on
>> such words as _brewski_ 'beer', _tootski_ 'a puff on a marijuana
>> cigarette', and _buttinski_ 'one who butts in'. It is interesting to note
>> that _brew_ and _toot_ (with the same meanings as _brewski_ and _tootski_)
>> were slang words that became stale or outmoded; the addition of the slang
>> suffix _ski_ 'rejuvenated' the words. The origin of this slang use of
>> _-ski_ is unknown, but it may be a linguistic parody on Polish or Russian
>> words that end in a similar phonetic sequence.
>> ---
>>
>> For East Coast high school kids in the early '80s, "brewski" would no
>> doubt
>> have been the most prominent application of the suffix, and likely the
>> only
>> one in common everyday use. It's entirely conceivable that "brewski" could
>> get clipped to the final syllable along the lines of "za" for "pizza" and
>> "rents" for "parents" -- especially in in-group slang of the type we see
>> on
>> display in Kavanaugh's calendars and yearbook entry.
>>
>> --bgz
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>
>
>
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>


-- 
"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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


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