[Ads-l] "Lagniappe" (slight antedating, 1846)

Bonnie Taylor-Blake b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM
Sat Apr 3 12:44:11 UTC 2021

I haven't gone looking for more recent research disputing that proposed
origin, but I'm sharing Joseph E. Gillet's 1939 note in American Speech on
this, mostly because I was delighted by his introductory paragraphs. (The
following link will be good for about about a week. I hope that the
American Dialect Society and Duke University Press will overlook my sharing
this PDF without prior permission just this once.)


(Oh, and a thank-you goes to Garson O'Toole for finding a slightly earlier
1846 appearance in print.)

-- Bonnie

On Fri, Apr 2, 2021 at 10:13 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>

Is the suggested etymology at the Wiki-entry and alluded to in the spelling
> “la gniappe” in one of Bonnie’s early cites--
> Lagniappe is derived from the South American Spanish phrase la yapa or
> ñapa (referring to a free extra item, usually a very cheap one). La is the
> definite article in Spanish as well as in French (la ñapa or la gniappe =
> the ñapa/gniappe). The term has been traced back to the Quechua word yapay
> ('to increase; to add’).
> -- widely accepted? I’ve seen “o.o.o.” elsewhere, and the OED splits the
> difference, including the Spanish “la ñapa” part of the derivation, but not
> the Quechua verb.  Either way, the earlier Spanish version makes
> “lagniappe” another member of the reanalyzed borrowed definite article club
> (algebra, alcohol, apricot, lute, et al.).  The local (New Haven) version
> of “pizza”—“apizza”, pronounced a-BEETS, from the Campanian pronunciation
> of “la pizza”—is a tasty member of the same club.
> Unclear to me where the ñ came from, but it’s a short step from “ya” to
> "ña”.  Maybe the ñ is just a lagniappe.
> LH.

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