Monday, January 19, 2009

Some Etymology

Do you know the origin of the word Yankee? It's not 100% certain, as there are other theories, but is probably a combination of the ultra-common Dutch names "Jan" and "Kees". For reasons lost to history, the New York Dutch used this Tom-Dick-and-Harry-like moniker to apply disdainfully to the British colonists living in Connecticut.

A bit amusing and ironic that the original Yankees were, in fact, British.

1 comment:

TheMindFantastic said...

Well I assumed it wasn't so much the British colonists, but just the over abundance of Dutch, and Dutch speaking individuals from New York through to New England. Dutch nearly ended up the official language due to the population there being so large at the time of the revolution, but given no actual language was given official status at the federal level it fell way to new settlers who spoke or had more experience with english. But any New York historian knows, New York was originally Fort Amsterdam, then New Amsterdam, changing hands and names a few times until it was ceded by treaty to the english in the late 1600's but the Dutch didn't really leave, and a hundred years later when independence was won, Dutch was still quite commonly spoken, and had the benefit of NOT being English (meaning British, who the Revolutionaries just fought a war with).