[Ads-l] Sad=?UTF-8?Q?=C3=AD_?=/ Saddy "thank you, bow in prayer"

Z Sohna zrice3714 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 8 21:45:53 UTC 2020

I am reviewing recorded testimony of a now deceased person and (the
individual's descendants) in which the term sadí or "saddy" occurs
repeatedly, meaning "thank you, thanks, a show of thanks" or "to bow in
prayer". The interviewees were Native Black Americans from
Kentucky/Pennsylvania who eventually settled in New York in the 1960s.

I looked for earlier citations of this word and the earliest published
citations occur among the Native Black American population of Pennsylvania.
However, in the previous literature on the topic, researchers refer to it
as "infantine" (despite it being used by adult Native Black Americans) and
cite its origin as "probably a corruption of “sag Dank.”

The etymology for sadí / "saddy" meaning "thank you, thanks, to kneel in
prayer" is the Akan *aseda* "thanks", literally, "to bow down" < Akan *ase*
"down, downward" + *da* "to lay".  The traditional African bow, at least in
West Africa, is performed by laying down flat on one's belly. Thus, the
Akan etymon *aseda* "thanks" means quite literally, "to bow down".

When the Akan express thanks, the phrase is "Me da ase", or "I bow down".
So the form as it occurs among Native Black Americans *sadí* < Akan *aseda*
is akin to the English interjection "thanks".

Zola Sohna

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

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