Document Sample
Yankee Powered By Docstoc
					From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The term Yankee, sometimes abbreviated to Yank, has a few related meanings, often referring to someone of Northern U.S. origin or heritage. Within the United States its meaning has varied over time. Originally the term referred to residents of New England as used by Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. During and after the American Civil War its meaning expanded to include any Northerner or resident of the states formerly on the Union side of the war, and included anyone from the Northeast (New England, Mid-Atlantic, and upper Great Lakes states). After the Civil War the term gradually reverted to its earlier meaning of New Englander,[1] although Southerners often continue to use the extended meaning. Outside the United States, Yank or Yankee is a slang term, sometimes derogatory, for any U.S. citizen. word eankke, meaning coward, as applied to the residents of New England. It also may come from a northeastern Native American approximation of the words English and anglais. One school of thought is that the word is a borrowing from the Wendat (called Huron by the French) pronunciation of the French l’anglais (meaning the English), sounded as "Y’an-gee". During the French and Indian War the word would have been widely used among many Native Americans in the British colonies to refer to white settlers in Upstate New York, throughout New England, and other areas west of the Hudson Valley. Later arrivals to the region then adopted the term with the pronunciation evolving to "Yankee".[2] This notion has been rejected by some linguists.[3]

Origins and history of the word
The origins of the term are uncertain, although there are many speculative suggestions. Hastings of Cambridge, Massachusetts, was attributed around 1713 to regularly using the word as a superlative, generally in the sense of excellent to describe some good, home-made cider.[2] In 1758 British General James Wolfe made the earliest known use of the word Yankee to refer to Americans, referring to the New England soldiers under his command as Yankees: "I can afford you two companies of Yankees, and the more because they are better for ranging and scouting than either work or vigilance." [3] Later the term as used by the British was often derogatory, as shown by the cartoon from 1775 ridiculing Yankee soldiers.[3] The "Yankee and Pennamite" war was a series of clashes that occurred in 1769 over land titles in Pennsylvania, in which "Yankee" meant the Connecticut claimants. One of the earliest theories on the word’s origin is that it derives from the Cherokee

Loyalist newspaper cartoon from Boston 1776 ridicules "Yankie Doodles" militia who have encircled the city The most plausible derivation is from the Dutch first names "Jan" and "Kees." "Jan" and "Kees" were and still are common Dutch first names, and also common Dutch given names or nicknames. In many instances both names (Jan-Kees) are also used as a single first name in the Netherlands. The word Yankee in this sense would be used as a form of contempt, applied derisively to Dutch or English settlers in the New England states.[2] Michael Quinion and Patrick Hanks argue[4] that the term refers to the Dutch nickname and surname Janneke (from "Jan" and


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
the diminutive "-ke", meaning "Little John" or Johnny in dutch), anglicized to Yanke (the "J" is pronounced "Y" in Dutch) and "used as a nickname for a Dutch-speaking American in colonial times". By extension, the term grew to include non-Dutch colonists as well. Another possible explanation is that the name "Kees", normally an abbreviation for "Cornelius" in Dutch, also means a monkey or baboon. This usage is still in use in Afrikaans. This means that that the origin of "Yankee" is "Jan Kees" or "John Baboon." One influence on the use of the term throughout the years has been the song Yankee Doodle, which was popular at the time of the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). Following the Battle of Concord, it was broadly adopted by Americans and today is the state song of Connecticut. An early use of the term outside the United States was in the creation of Sam Slick, the "Yankee Clockmaker", in a column in a newspaper in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1835. The character was a plain-talking U.S. citizen who served to poke fun at Nova Scotian customs of that era, while trying to urge the old-fashioned Canadians to be as clever and hard-working as the Yankees. The "damned Yankee" usage dates from 1812.[3] During and after the American Civil War (1861–1865) Confederates popularized it as a derogatory term for their Northern enemies.

In religion New England Yankees originally followed the Puritan tradition as expressed in Congregational churches, but after 1750 many became Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists or Unitarians. Straightlaced 17th century moralism as described by novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne faded in the 18th century. The First Great Awakening (under Jonathan Edwards) in the mid-18th century and the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century (under Charles Grandison Finney) emphasized personal piety, revivals, and devotion to civic duty. Theologically Arminianism replaced the original Calvinism. Horace Bushnell introduced the idea of Christian nurture, whereby children would be brought to religion without revivals. After 1800 the Yankees (along with the Quakers) spearheaded most reform movements, including abolition, temperance, women’s rights and women’s education. Emma Willard and Mary Lyon pioneered in the higher education of women, while Yankees comprised most of the reformers who went South during Reconstruction in the 1860s to educate the Freedmen. Politically, the Yankees, who dominated New England, much of upstate New York, and much of the upper Midwest, were the strongest supporters of the new Republican party in the 1860s. This was especially true for the Congregationalists and Presbyterians among them and (after 1860), the Methodists. A study of 65 predominantly Yankee counties showed they voted only 40% for the Whigs in 1848 and 1852, but became 61–65% Republican in presidential elections of 1856 through 1864. [6] The Ivy League universities and "Little Ivies" liberal arts colleges, particularly Harvard and Yale, remained bastions of old Yankee culture until well after World War II. President Calvin Coolidge was a striking example of the Yankee type. Coolidge moved from rural Vermont to urban Massachusetts, and was educated at Amherst College. Yet his flint-faced unprepossessing ways and terse rural speech proved politically attractive: "That Yankee twang will be worth a hundred thousand votes", explained one Republican leader.[7] Coolidge’s laconic ways and dry humor was characteristic of stereotypical rural "Yankee humor" at the turn of the twentieth century.[8] The fictional character Thurston Howell, III, of Gilligan’s Island, a graduate of Harvard

Yankee cultural history
The term Yankee now means residents of New England (and possibly the Northeast US), of English ancestry, although that was not the original definition. (See origin of the term above). The Yankees diffused widely across the northern United States, leaving their imprint in New York, the upper Midwest, and places as far away as Seattle, San Francisco and Honolulu. [5] Yankees typically lived in villages (rather than separate farms), which fostered local democracy in town meetings; stimulated mutual oversight of moral behavior and emphasized civic virtue. From New England seaports like Boston, Salem, Providence and New London, the Yankees built an international trade, stretching to China by 1800. Much of the merchant profits were reinvested in the textile and machine tools industries.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
University, typifies the old Yankee elite in a comical way. In the 21st century the systematic Yankee ways had permeated the entire society through education. Although many observers from the 1880s onward predicted that Yankee politicians would be no match for new generations of ethnic politicians, the presence of Yankees at the top tier of politics in the 21st century was typified by Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Senator John Forbes Kerry, descendant of the old colonial Forbes family. Barack Obama is of Yankee descent on his mother’s side; his high school was Punahou School, founded to serve Yankee missionaries to Hawaii.

"Northerner". In an old joke, a Southerner states, "I was 21 years old before I learned that ’damn’ and ’yankee’ were separate words." Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas pointed out as late as 1966, "The very word ’Yankee’ still wakens in Southern minds historical memories of defeat and humiliation, of the burning of Atlanta and Sherman’s march to the sea, or of an ancestral farmhouse burned by Cantrill’s raiders."[11] A humorous aphorism attributed to E.B. White summarizes these distinctions: To foreigners, a Yankee is an American. To Americans, a Yankee is a Northerner. To Northerners, a Yankee is an Easterner. To Easterners, a Yankee is a New Englander. To New Englanders, a Yankee is a Vermonter. And in Vermont, a Yankee is somebody who eats pie for breakfast. Another variant of the aphorism replaces the last line with: "To a Vermonter, a Yankee is somebody who still uses an outhouse." There are several other folk and humorous etymologies for the term. One of Mark Twain’s most famous novels, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court popularized the word as a nickname for residents of Connecticut. It is also the official team nickname of a Major League Baseball franchise, the New York Yankees. The New York Yankees are the most succesful franchise in the world, as well. A film about Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was titled The Magnificent Yankee. A play on that title became the title of a book about the ball club’s dynasty: The Magnificent Yankees.

Contemporary uses
In the United States
Within the United States, the term Yankee can have many different contextually and geographically-dependent meanings. Traditionally Yankee was most often used to refer to a New Englander (in which case it may suggest Puritanism and thrifty values), but today refers to anyone coming from a state north of the Mason-Dixon Line, with a specific focus still on New England. However, within New England itself, the term refers more specifically to old-stock New Englanders of English descent. The term WASP, in use since the 1960s, refers by definition to all Protestants of English ancestry, including Yankees and Southerners, though its meaning is often extended to refer to any Protestant white U.S. citizen. The term "Swamp Yankee" is used in rural Rhode Island, eastern Connecticut, and southeastern Massachusetts to refer to Protestant farmers of moderate means and their descendants (as opposed to upper-class Yankees).[9] Scholars note that the famous Yankee "twang" survives mainly in the hill towns of interior New England.[10] The most characteristic Yankee food was the pie; Yankee author Harriet Beecher Stowe in her novel Oldtown Folks celebrated the social traditions surrounding the Yankee pie. In Southern United States, the term is sometimes used as a derisive term for Northerners, especially those who have migrated to the South. The more polite term is

In other English-speaking countries
In English-speaking countries outside the United States, especially in Australia, Canada[12], Ireland[13], New Zealand and


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Britain, Yankee, almost universally shortened to Yank, is used as a derogatory, playful or referential colloquial term for the U.S. citizens. In certain Commonwealth countries, notably Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, "Yank" has been in common use since at least World War II, when thousands of Americans were stationed in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Depending on the country, "Yankee" may be considered mildly derogatory.[14] The term has evolved, through the use of rhyming slang, to the phrase "Septic Tank", or just "Septic".[15] (Yankee - Yank - Septic Tank - Septic - Seppo) in Australia. [2]

norðurríkjamaður or more commonly bandaríkjamaður, is used. In Polish, the word jankes can refer to any U.S. citizen, has little pejorative connotation if at all, and its use is somewhat obscure (it is mainly used to translate the English word yankee in a not strictly formal context, e.g. in a movie about the American Civil War). In Sweden the word is translated to jänkare. The word is not itself a negative expression, though it can of course be used as such depending on context. Joshua Slocum, in his 1899 book "Sailing Alone Around the World" in his flimsy sloop Spray, refers to Nova Scotians as being the only or true Yankees. It thus may be implied, as he himself was a Nova Scotian, that he had pride in his ancestry. "Yankee" in this instance, instead of connoting a form of derision, is therefore a form of praise; perhaps relevant to the hardy seagoing people of the East Coast at that time.

In other parts of the world
In some parts of the world, particularly in Latin American countries, and in East Asia, yankee or yanqui (phonetic Spanish spelling of the same word) is used sometimes politically associated with anti-Americanism and used in expressions such as "Yankee go home" or "we struggle against the yanqui, enemy of mankind" (words from the Sandinista anthem). In Argentina and Paraguay the term refers to someone who is from the US and is often, but not always, derogatory. In Venezuelan Spanish there is the word pitiyanqui, derived ca. 1940 around the Oil Industry from petty yankee, a derogatory term for those who profess an exaggerated and often ridiculous admiration for anything from the United States. In the late 19th century the Japanese were called "the Yankees of the East" in praise of their industriousness and drive to modernization.[16] In Japan since the late 1970s, the term Yankī has been used to refer to a type of delinquent youth[17] In Finland, the word jenkki (yank) is commonly used to refer to any U.S. citizen, and Jenkkilä (Yankeeland) refers to the United States itself. It isn’t considered very offensive or anti-U.S., but rather a spoken language expression. [18] The variation, "Yankee Air Pirate" was used during the Vietnam War in North Vietnamese propaganda to refer to the United States Air Force. In Iceland, the word kani is used for Yankee or Yank in the mildly derogatory sense. When referring to residents of the USA,

See also
• • • • • • Swamp Yankee Yankee Doodle Yankee Doodle Dandy Jonkheer New York Yankees 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (Yankee Division)

[1] 50288716 [2] ^ "yankee, n and a" Oxford English Dictionary entry/50288716 [3] ^ Mathews (1951) p 1896 [4] Review of Quinion, Michael Port Out, Starboard Home [5] Mathews (1909), Holbrook (1950) [6] Kleppner p 55 [7] William Allen White, A Puritan in Babylon: The Story of Calvin Coolidge (1938) p. 122. [8] Arthur George Crandall, New England Joke Lore: The Tonic of Yankee Humor, (F.A. Davis Company, 1922). [9] Ruth Schell, "Swamp Yankee", American Speech, 1963, Volume 38, No.2 , pg. 121–123. accessed through JSTOR [10] Fisher, Albion’s Seed p 62; Edward Eggleston, The Transit of Civilization


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


from England to the U.S. in the • Fischer, David Hackett. Albion’s Seed: Seventeenth Century. (1901) p. 110; Four British Folkways in America (1989), Fleser (1962) Yankees comprise one of the four [11] Fulbright’s statement of March 7, 1966, • Gjerde; Jon. The Minds of the West: quoted in Randall Bennett Woods, Ethnocultural Evolution in the Rural "Dixie’s Dove: J. William Fulbright, The Middle West, 1830–1917 (1999) online Vietnam War and the American South," • Gray; Susan E. The Yankee West: The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 60, Community Life on the Michigan Frontier No. 3 (Aug., 1994), p. 548 (1996) online [12] J. L. Granatstein, Yankee Go Home: • Oscar Handlin, "Yankees", in Harvard Canadians and Anti-Americanism (1997) Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, [13] Mary Pat Kelly, Home Away from Home: ed. by Stephan Thernstrom, (1980) pp The Yanks in Ireland (1995) 1028–1030. [14] John F. Turner and Edward F. Hale, eds. • Hill, Ralph Nading. Yankee Kingdom: Yanks Are Coming: GIs in Britain in Vermont and New Hampshire. (1960). WWII (1983), primary documents; ; Eli • Holbrook, Stewart H. Yankee Exodus: An Daniel Potts, Yanks Down Under, Account of Migration from New England 1941-1945: The American Impact on (1950) Australia (1986); Harry Bioletti, The • Holbrook, Stewart H.; Yankee Loggers: A Yanks are coming: The American Recollection of Woodsmen, Cooks, and invasion of New Zealand, 1942-1944 River Drivers (1961) (1989) • Hudson, John C. "Yankeeland in the [15] Grantlee Kieza. "Ndou ready for cocky Middle West", Journal of Geography 85 Seppo". The Daily (Sept 1986) Telegraphdate=2007-06-15. • Jensen, Richard. "Yankees" in Encyclopedia of Chicago (2005). story/ • Kleppner; Paul. The Third Electoral 0,22049,21906321-5001023,00.html?from=public_rss. 1853–1892: Parties, Voters, and System "The American talks a good game and he Political Cultures University of North can back it up. He doesn’t have much Carolina Press. 1979, on Yankee voting punching power but he’s shifty and behavior cagey, an awkward, frustrating • Knights, Peter R.; Yankee Destinies: The survivor." Lives of Ordinary Nineteenth-Century [16] William Eleroy Curtis, The Yankees of Bostonians (1991) online the East, Sketches of Modern Japan. • Mathews, Lois K. The Expansion of New (New York: 1896). England (1909). [17] Daijirin dictionary, Yahoo! Dictionary • Mencken, H. L. The American Language [18] . See comments on H-South by Seppo K J (1919, 1921) Tamminen at [1] • Piersen, William Dillon. Black Yankees: The Development of an Afro-American Subculture in Eighteenth-Century New England (1988) • Beals, Carleton; Our Yankee Heritage: • Power, Richard Lyle. Planting Corn Belt New England’s Contribution to American Culture (1953), on Indiana Civilization (1955) online • Rose, Gregory. "Yankees/Yorkers", in • Conforti, Joseph A. Imagining New Richard Sisson ed, The American England: Explorations of Regional Identity Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia from the Pilgrims to the Mid-Twentieth (2006) 193–95, 714–5, 1094, 1194, Century (2001) online • Sedgwick, Ellery; The Atlantic Monthly, • Bushman, Richard L. From Puritan to 1857–1909: Yankee Humanism at High Yankee: Character and the Social Order in Tide and Ebb (1994) online Connecticut, 1690–1765 (1967) • Smith, Bradford. Yankees in Paradise: The • Ellis, David M. "The Yankee Invasion of New England Impact on Hawaii (1956) New York 1783–1850". New York History • Taylor, William R. Cavalier and Yankee: (1951) 32:1–17. The Old South and American National Character (1979)

Further reading


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
• WPA. Massachusetts: A Guide to Its Places and People. Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration of Massachusetts (1937).

• Mathews, Mitford M. A Dictionary of Americanisms on Historical Principles (1951) pp 1896 ff for elaborate detail • Ruth Schell, "Swamp Yankee", American Speech, 1963, Volume 38, No.2 (The American Dialect Society, Published by Duke University Press ), pg. 121–123. accessed through JSTOR • Oscar G. Sonneck. Report on "the StarSpangled Banner" "Hail Columbia" "America" "Yankee Doodle" (1909) pp 83ff online • Stollznow, Karen. 2006. "Key Words in the Discourse of Discrimination: A Semantic Analysis. PhD Dissertation: University of New England., Chapter 5.

• Butsee H. Logemay, "The Etymology of ’Yankee’", Studies in English Philology in Honor of Frederick Klaeber, (1929) pp 403–13. • Fleser, Arthur F. "Coolidge’s Delivery: Everybody Liked It." Southern Speech Journal 1966 32(2): 98–104. Issn: 0038-4585 • Harold Davis. "On the Origin of Yankee Doodle", American Speech, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Apr., 1938), pp. 93–96 in JSTOR • Kretzschmar, William A. Handbook of the Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic States (1994) • Lemay, J. A. Leo "The American Origins of Yankee Doodle", William and Mary Quarterly 33 (Jan 1976) 435–64

External links
• • • • Online Etymology Dictionary American Heritage Dictionary Word of the Day

Retrieved from "" Categories: American culture, Regional nicknames This page was last modified on 15 May 2009, at 16:33 (UTC). All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) taxdeductible nonprofit charity. Privacy policy About Wikipedia Disclaimers


Shared By: