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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Lynchburg’s Sunday Word of the Day

Each Sunday Lynchburg Virginia is going to try its hand at word use. Words are the basis for everything we write. One word can contain a multitude of meanings, they can insult, make someone feel good , or the can transfer a wealth of knowledge with one simple utterance. And they can be misunderstood. There are words you can use , that mean one thing to one person, and have quite another meaning to someone else.

To start things off, we are going to look at the word Yankee.

Now, I have used that in gentle chiding in the Lynchburg Technorati top ten. Yankee to me is not a derogatory name, but either is red neck to me for that matter. You can call me a red neck any old time. I spent most of my early life living in foreign countries from Scotland (I attended Scottish schools there) to Asia. Constantly, I was called a Yankee. Sometimes this was meant in a good natured sense and sometimes it was the opposite, I took it stride either way.

More appropriately, I could be called a southerner, but in the rest of the world aside from the United States, the term, Yankee is a one fit for all of us. And you may think this odd coming southerner, but Yankee has no bad meaning here. Perhaps it did shortly after the “great unpleasantness” of the Civil War, but that term has mellowed with time. Wiki is a good source to find the roots of the word, which had a Dutch base.

And the British, have long called us Yanks and Yankees. They have used it both with a positive and negative connotation, and so has the rest of the world. It is about as appropriate as calling people from the United States Americans, when if you look at that word more carefully Americans encompass two continents and many countries. And we are all truly Americans. And if you look to Great Brittan, they do not think it is appropriate for us to call them English, they would much prefer to be called British.

Lately, in the United States, we have made a cultural shift. Words that were appropriate in the past have become taboo. We have, as of late, become more sensitive to the implication of words and symbols. Sometimes, there is reason. There was a word that has been considered so bad in the culture of the United States, that I personally have never once uttered it or wrote it, ever. This word has such a bad connotation, that I am sure you know what word it is. Even left unspoken, or unwritten it has power.

But on the whole, I don’t think we should take offense at words, and we should realize when they are used meanly, or with good spirits. When I use the word Yankee, there was one Yankee, who enjoyed it. He is proud to be a Yankee. And I am proud to be a southerner, who has been called a Yankee across the globe.

To learn more about the origin of the word Yankee, here are two sources, Wiki, and the English to American Dictionary. This last one is from Britain and I am sure you will find it interesting.


At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Angela Dusk said...

I enjoyed reading about the origin of the word Yankee and have always thought it interesting that people in other countries call us all Yanks! I look forward to reading more of these! Words are fascinating!

At 4:54 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Thank you for the comment, while I didn't go deep into how the word formed I did provide sources that people could explore. Next Sunday have another word that I will go deeply in its origin and how that word has battled with acceptance, for social reasons, then other words have been substituted. But now the word is still commonly used.

At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Gravy Beard said...

This is an excellent addition to your publication. I enjoyed it and look forward to the next weeks word.


At 5:05 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Thanks Gravy Beard. Words have always fascinated me.


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