“Use what language you will, you can never say anything but what you are.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Yankee is someone from New England. It comes from the American Civil War times right? And it´s the baseball team that always wins? Well, yes and no, because Yankee is so much more than that. These would be a few common responses in the modern United States, but evidently Yankee can mean different things depending on where you are. According to “Writing Gooder” blog, a Yankee is the following:
A Yankee in Argentina (Yanqui) is what other countries call “gringos.” As the list above states, it is used to describe someone from the United States–anyone, and not just someone from the north. Pronounced something like ”Shunky” (and not to be confused with junkie), it is not used intentionally as a derogatory term, although it can happen and there are other alternatives that could be used in Spanish, such as “estadounidense” o “americano/a,” which will be mentioned in another blog post another time. Some Argentine friends and English teachers recently told me that they thought the word was used incorrectly in Buenos Aires, as a more targeted definition would be for Americans from the northern states. Knowing this, another Italian student recently asked me what a colleague from the US meant when she said she was a Yankee. I told him the same, but his colleague was making a reference more to her political views than where she was from. She was instead stating that she was not (a conservative Texan). The word is highly confusing, even for Americans! So where did it come from?
There are many theories about the origin of the word. Evidently in New England, the prevalent theory is that it originated among a group of Native Americans who pronounced the word “English” as “yengis” or “yengeese,” which later was Anglicized to “Yankees.” Linguists, however, have linked the word to Dutch origins, rather than being from Native American and English contact. During the colonization of North America, the areas which are now New York, New Jersey, and Delaware were inhabited by the Dutch, which is why New York was originally called New Amsterdam. The states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut were inhabited by the English. Naturally the two groups interacted often and eventually began to mix. There are three major arguments as to where the word Yankee came from based on this history.
1. Jan and Kees are common first names in the Dutch language, in use today and during colonization as well. The two names are sometimes combined into Jan Kees – this could have then developed into Yankee to describe English settlers moving into previously Dutch colonized areas.
2. The Dutch nickname Janneke (meaning “little John” or Johnny), would be Anglicized to Yankee, meaning converting it to a more English pronunciation and spelling in this case. This explanation believes that Yankee was used to describe Dutch-speaking American colonists, and by extension non-Dutch colonists.
3. The derogatory term John Cheese was often used to describe Dutch settlers, who were popular for their cheese production. The Dutch translation for John Cheese would be Jan Kaas; this could have also been Anglicized to Yankees and therefore be where the word originated.
The word Yankee has been very present during times of war. Even before the American Revolution, British soldiers used the term Yankee to mock American soldiers. It was combined with the word “Doodle”, which was a derogatory term that meant “fool” or “simpleton,” to create the song Yankee Doodle which today ironically is a symbol of American pride. I suppose that pride came from winning the war… Later on during the Civil War, the Yankees were the hated opponents of the Confederates. In World War I, the English began calling American soldiers, both Southerners and Northerners, Yankees, and it was then shortened to Yank and became popular in the United States. Yankee and Yank were again popular designations for the American soldier in World War II. The term Yanqui is used in some Latin America countries to describe US citizens, often—especially after the Cuban Revolution— with a note of hostility.
Yankee Doodle by Archibald Willard
So there you go. How many of you associated the Dutch with this term used worldwide with such rich historical significance? I certainly didn´t!
“Liebster” is German for many things, and among them “a welcome visitor,” (according to Word Reference) which makes sense for the award that Raelke nominated Language Lens for recently. Thank you by the way! The Liebster award is given to up and coming bloggers (I like that description) who have less than 200 followers.
The rules for the award are as follows:
So, my 11 Random Facts…
And my answers to the question Raelke asked…
11 questions for the nominated blogs…
11 blogs that I nominate
1. Excuse my Spanglish: Karo writes all her posts in both English and Spanish, which I find both interesting and admirable! I appreciate her efforts as it´s not an easy translation task,and it´s really great for those of us learning. http://excusemyspanglish.wordpress.com/
2. Private Spanish lessons in Buenos Aires: Sofie speaks about language, culture and activities in Buenos Aires in her blog. I find the language posts incredibly helpful as she speaks to the use of the language and how to speak more naturally, rather than relying on translating or what one learned in another country. http://sofiabohmer.wordpress.com/
3. Something for Sunday: Jacqui writes about life as an expat in Seoul, Korea. Not only does she write about culture and life abroad but she focuses on food, even giving recipes to things she tries and learns to master. She is an excellent writer, sure to please even if cooking and/or food isn´t your thing. http://somethingforsunday.wordpress.com/
4. Diary of a Language Coach: Amy and I have a few things in common, a love of Spanish and teaching. As a teacher and life-long learner, she blogs about tips and tools for learning/teaching Spanish and what she learns while teaching. Very helpful blog! http://languagecoach-diary.blogspot.com.
5. Language Evolution: How and why language varies and changes. I find this topic fascinating. Although the blog can be quite technical for the everyday reader, it´s a great source for learning about this linguistic phenomena. http://langevo.blogspot.com
6. En la punta de la lengua: Luis writes extremely interesting posts all relating to culture and linguistics, primarily in Mexico. The blog is predominantly in Spanish but also has English posts. Very thought provoking and professionally written. http://munduslingua.blogspot.com
7. Multilingual Mom: This multilingual mom is a franco-american mother of two girls, married to her Mexican Don Juan and is now living in Singapore (did you follow all of that?). She writes about multilingual aspects of bringing up children. http://multilingualmama.com/about/
8. Conversations with Japan: A unique way to write about Japanese culture, in the form of conversations with 2 people: Japan and me, as the name indicates. This blog is entertaining, educational, and very creative. http://conversationswithjapan.wordpress.com/
9. Like a Sponge. Marianne writes about her experiences living in Holland and speaking Dutch. I love the name of the blog as it is oh-so-true when living abroad and acquiring a new language. http://www.likeasponge.nl
10. Fuck Yeah my Language: This blog includes some interesting topics, again relating to linguistics, but I also include it on the list as it´s unique to others mentioned because of its format. Using tumblr, it includes a lot of videos, audio tracks and images in its posts, rather than solely words. http://fuckyeahmylanguage.tumblr.com/
11. UR Moving Where? Written by another expat in Argentina, this blog offers insights and tips for living abroad. What is unique about it is that it is written from the perspective of a family and not a single person, which is a whole other animal. http://urmovingwhere.com/
Questions for my nominated blogs:
1. If you had the money and time to go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?
2. Not considering professional benefits, what do you think is the value of studying another language?
3. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
4. What is your Zodiac sign?
5. What is your favorite English word and why?
6. Mac or PC and why?
7. Why do you write?
8. What do you think the world needs more of?
9. What is one of your personal goals for 2013?
10. What´s one of your favorite movies and why?
11. What is something you have always wanted to do?