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Author Topic: Origins of Racial Epithets? (some NfBSK)
Kate
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quote:
Originally posted by Shodan:
I thought 'honky' (can I spell it out if I am one?) was a derivative of 'Bohunk'. This is a derogatory slang word for 'Bohemian', which is a province of German speaking Europeans that Otto von Bismarck combined into modern Germany.

Oddly enough, even though I'm part German and grew up in England I'd never heard "honky" as a derogatory word for Germans. Is it a US usage? The only usage I came across in England meant "smelly" (e.g. "My gym socks get awfully honky after a cross-country run"); "honk" as a verb meant "to smell" and as a noun meant "nose". I've no idea whether those slang words are still current.

I've also heard that Singaporeans use "Honky" as a derogatory word for people from Hong Kong. Some people here use it as an affectionate term for the HK dollar.

Kate "honk if you've had it" S


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ParaDiddle
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quote:
Originally posted by Shodan:
I thought 'honky' (can I spell it out if I am one?). . .
Regards,
Sho "We Germans do whatever we're told providing it's cruel" dan


Certainly, Shodan! We decided earlier that anyone who chooses to spell them out is free to do so. Those of us uncomfortable w/ using any given word are likewise free to euphemize (is that a word?). I'm sure you know that whatever you call yourself may be different than what you'd allow me to call you.
- Para "How's About We stick w/ 'Shodan' for Now?" Diddle

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Spooky
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quote:
Originally posted by Kate:

Oddly enough, even though I'm part German and grew up in England I'd never heard "honky" as a derogatory word for Germans. Is it a US usage? The only usage I came across in England meant "smelly" (e.g. "My gym socks get awfully honky after a cross-country run"); "honk" as a verb meant "to smell" and as a noun meant "nose". I've no idea whether those slang words are still current.

Psst, Kate - think back to a seventies British sit-com called "Love Thy Neighbour". Honky was the term that the black guy used to call the white guy all the time. It wasn't specifically aimed at Germans, just at whites. In return, the white guy used to call the black guy "sambo". I don't know whether either term would still be current coinage, but I do know one thing - that show will probably never air again.

quote:

I've also heard that Singaporeans use "Honky" as a derogatory word for people from Hong Kong.

Kate "honk if you've had it" S


I've heard that occasionally here, too, but mostly it's "honkers" (used for the country as well as the people).

Spooky


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Spooky
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I just remembered something about the term "pommy". When I was a kid, I misheard it as "pongy", and I figured that English people were called that because of a perceived lack of hygeine. You see, everyone knows that Brits only bathe once a week (Aussies bathe or shower at least once a day even in winter - less than that is considered pretty disgusting, you'll see why in a minute). It also seems that many of them kept that habit upon emigrating, and after a couple of sweltering summer days they were ... well, pongy. It made sense to me as a kid

Spooky "not a pongy" RK


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rossdawg
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I am coming into this one late and I can't remember where we stumbled across all these terms before but I have heard that Honky {or honkey or honki} (term used by people of African descent for whites) was originally a derogatory term in an African dialect to call others of a different tribe or area who had a lighter skin tone, or as a woman I once met said, in the westernized term "high yellow skin". It was very popular in American black culture on sitcoms and movies of the seventies.
And as for sambo, it is one of those derogatory terms which has lost usage since the slave trade ended but there were some people who ran a restaurant by the name until they were eventually pressured into closing the chain due to the name. I don't believe they were outright racists but I think they didn't realize that people were upset by the word. It appears to come from this story. The website for the restaurant sells sambo merchandise so I guess they must know about the story also.

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Leisure Kid
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From Sambo's website

quote:
The Origianl stroy by Helen Bannerman written in 1921. This is the stroy that made Sambos Restaurant nationaly known. This book became, to some, a symbol of racism, and to others, a charished book.

Racism is ignorance. And so is bad spelling.

Original, stroy, stroy, nationaly, charished. I'm not even going to get into grammar errors.

LK


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JessicaDV8
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In "Gone With The Wind" (the book), there were two types of white Southerners: planters and crackers. Planters had plantations, and crakers were backwoods people, the poor class.
Maybe that's the source?

As for "yankee" meaning person from the Northeastern US, that word has almost died out, in my experience. I moved to Memphis from Philly, and the only people who called me a Yankee were twits who also called the Civil War "The War Of Northern Aggression."


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bufungla
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by 0b1knob:
Barbarian - person with a beard. Greeks in the classical period were clean shaven, all bearded men were thought to be foreigners. The word barber come from the same Greek root.


I was just shown a great site:
http://www.takeourword.com/index.html

and found the following under:
http://www.takeourword.com/arc_logi.html#barber

with the relevant portion being ...

Barber is not, as one might think, related to barbaric. Barber entered English in the late 13th century as barbour, which came from Anglo-French barbour. The Anglo-French form came from Old French barbeor and barbier, both forms from Latin barba `beard.' The connection to `beard' is of course due to the barber's job of shaving. Barbarian (and barbaric), on the other hand, comes ultimately from Greek barbaros `foreign, rude.' The Greek is thought to be imitative of the way that foreign speech sounds, like Sanskrit barbara-s `stammering.'

And from http://www.takeourword.com/Issue010.html#Spotlight

While the notion that barbarians were bearded and thus were named for their beards sounds plausible, one must find evidence in the record to support that. The evidence clearly points in an entirely different direction in this case. Moreover, while Greek men did typically wear beards, Greece was the source of Roman culture. No educated Roman would ever call a Greek a barbarian.

In the midst of all that, I found a few references to 'coon' as well, but only mentioned that it came from the animal - nothing about the whys and wherefores.

--------------------
"Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."

George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra


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Lugh
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quote:
Barbarian (and barbaric), on the other hand, comes ultimately from Greek barbaros `foreign, rude.' The Greek is thought to be imitative of the way that foreign speech sounds, like Sanskrit barbara-s `stammering.'


While the notion that barbarians were bearded and thus were named for their beards sounds plausible, one must find evidence in the record to support that. The evidence clearly points in an entirely different direction in this case. Moreover, while Greek men did typically wear beards, Greece was the source of Roman culture. No educated Roman would ever call a Greek a barbarian.


Indeed, mature Greek men nearly always wore beards, as seen in sculpted portraits of Pericles, Socrates, et al (pardon the latin). By contrast, Roman men were traditionally clean-shaven and regarded beards as a Greek fashion--until Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138) started a new trend by wearing a beard.

Not by coicidence, Hadrian was renown for his love for Greek art and culture.

[edited to avoid commiting the sin of deep linking]


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Jaime Vargas Sanchez
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by supergeak:

Wow, that is a pretty huge mispronounciation. How on earth do you get 'yankee' out of english? Another way yankee is used, (of course), dunno if this has been mentioned, but yankee is also a derogatory term for northerners, used by southerners, that dates bat the the civil war.


What I have always heard is that Yankees came from Jan Kees (John Cheese), and it was a derogatory name given by the Americans of English and French descent to the Americans of Dutch descent, which lived more or less where New York is. Kinda like calling Englishmen "John Bull". Makes sense to me.

Jaime

--------------------
"Everyone has problems. They only vary in design" - Mama Duck


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Pam
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quote:
Originally posted by ParaDiddle:

So, where'd that term [cajun] come from?

If someone already answered this forgive me-- I'm new to the list and didnt see it.
During what we call the French and Indian wars, French people living in the area of what is now Maine and New Brunswick were ousted by the British when they took over that portion of Canada from the French. The put to sea in boats and sailed south. From what I've heard, they were unable to find a port that would accept them, and finally put ashore in the swamps of Louisiana, where no one bothered them, nor indeed even realized they were there at first.
The word "cajun" is English pronunciation of "Cadian". The English called Indians "injuns" too.


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ParaDiddle
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Actually, That's not the term I was referring to. I'm casually familiar with the Arcadian connection. I don't really remember if anyone explained the origin of 'coonass' though. BTW, welcome and thanx for resurrecting a forgotten thread.

- ParaDiddle


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?
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In learning about syllogisms and soriteses (or whatever the plural of sorites is — sorides?), I learned that Barbara (which incidentally is the mnemonic name of the best-known type of syllogism, that of form 1:AAA, hence bArbArA) is derived from the Latin barbara, "barbarians".

Ironic (but strangely appropriate) that one of our hosts should be called Barbara, since they both battle the barbarians of illogic daily!


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J-Kitty
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Around here (and I'm assuming this is a very localized thing), anyone termed a 'redneck' is straight from the farm. (Usually because they've got farmer's tans, complete with the red neck.) Its used with the connotation that he/she is a "good old boy/gal", in the sense that they might be a little country, but overall are fair and honest. They might get into some mischief now and then, but its "nothin' that's hurtin' nobody."

A "honky" is an unpleasant redneck, who'd shoot their parents for a dollar and aren't usually the most polite of people. More than likely they've had run-ins with the police. Otherwise known as trailer trash.

J "red arms too..." Kitty


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Gold-Toes
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quote:
Originally posted by JessicaDV8:
As for "yankee" meaning person from the Northeastern US, that word has almost died out, in my experience. I moved to Memphis from Philly, and the only people who called me a Yankee were twits who also called the Civil War "The War Of Northern Aggression."

errr.... my best friend (from Florida) calls me "damned yankee" all the time (and I've heard it from others as well, so it can't be that rare). Either that or "f*cked up Northerner." And being from New England I consider myself a "Yankee" (apart from the baseball team) and get really weirded out when foreigners refer to Californians, say, as "yankees." To me, the only "true" yankees are from New England and New York State, and I've actually corrected people on that issue! LOL

Sorry if this was a dead thread but I had to comment!

gold "damned yankee" toes


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Meddik
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quote:
Originally posted by Gold-Toes:

errr.... my best friend (from Florida) calls me "damned yankee" all the time (and I've heard it from others as well, so it can't be that rare).


The proper North Carolina pronunciation is more akin to "Damyankee".

But, there is a difference between a yankee and a Damyankee. The Yankee is one who comes down here, a Damyankee is one who comes down and then complains about how much better it is up north.

I don't mind the Yankees at all. One of my Mom's closest friends is the stereotypical NJ Yankee, same speech patterns, etc. In her words: "I wasn't born in the south, but I came down here as soon as I could." Even she refers to her family back in NY and NJ as a bunch of "Damyankees".


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Gold-Toes
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I would argue that people from New Jersey do not count as Yankees. They just think they're yankees.

I'm definitely Yank all the way though- embarrassed the heck out of steph when I told her the Miami water was warm in November. I guess I'm not really a damyankee though... I don't complain too much.

Is there a "damyankee" term applicable to southerners? The girl came up here and is a wreck, claims she's allergic to ice and think everybody has a "phobia about showing skin."


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tagurit
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Oh my, Gold Toes... *L* All northenahs are yankees, doncha know?

I recall being accused of being a yankee by my west virginia cousins when I was younger, and when I denied it, they said, "you even sound like a yankee, you say aay..." "do not!" said I... well, soon they said, "there! you said it again..." and they were right... *L*

I got them back, though... I said, "during the civil war, didn't the confederates fight the union?" "yes", they agreed... "and, didn't west virginia secede from virginia and fight with the union?" "yes"... "and weren't the confederates rebels and the union, yankees?" "yesss" again... (I think they were catching on at this point) "then, aren't you all yankees, too?" *L* their eyes got wide, their mouths dropped open...but they never called me yankee again...

tag yankee doodle dandy urit

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Explore, enjoy and protect the planet
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AAMAH


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Gold-Toes
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Nope. Yankee=New England and New York State only

You're a "nawthener" (northener) or "pseudo canadian, dontcha know"

At least, that's my take. I wouldn't classify anybody west of New York as a Yankee

gold "doodle dandy" toes (yankee doodle is the CT state song, so Connecticutans are definitely Yankees by definition..)


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Meddik
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Well, the further south you get, the broader the definition of Yankee is.

But At least when anyone around here says Yankee, You know that people from Boston, NYC, Newark and Philly all come under that broad group. =)


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tagurit
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quote:
Originally posted by Gold-Toes:
Nope. Yankee=New England and New York State only

You're a "nawthener" (northener) or "pseudo canadian, dontcha know"

At least, that's my take. I wouldn't classify anybody west of New York as a Yankee

gold "doodle dandy" toes (yankee doodle is the CT state song, so Connecticutans are definitely Yankees by definition..)



Where did you get these cockamammy ideas? Why are only New Englanders Yankees? And why does the use of a WWI song ensure that those in Connecticut are Yankees? The song Yankee Doodle refers to Americans, period, btw. Residents of other countries call any American, Yankee. I tend to think it's not so much a term northerners use on themselves, as much as something southerners use in reference to northerners.

Unless you're saying that New Englanders are still caught up in that north vs south thing and damn proud of it, in the way that some southerners are still attached to the confederate flag.

tag now, you can call me yankee, and you can call me northerner, but you doesn't hasta call me... urit

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Explore, enjoy and protect the planet
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tagurit
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Ok, ok. The song has its roots in the French and Indian War. I concede. But, damnit....just cuz you got history doesn't mean the rest of us aren't Yankees if we say we are! Got it?

tag but isn't happy about it... urit

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AAMAH


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Jaime Vargas Sanchez
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The entries for Yankee in www.dictionary.com don't help much, although the first entry sounds better to me.

Jaime

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"Everyone has problems. They only vary in design" - Mama Duck


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Gold Mistle toes
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quote:
Originally posted by xmas gift tag:
Where did you get these cockamammy ideas? Why are only New Englanders Yankees? Residents of other countries call any American, Yankee

Unless you're saying that New Englanders are still caught up in that north vs south thing and damn proud of it, in the way that some southerners are still attached to the confederate flag.

tag now, you can call me yankee, and you can call me northerner, but you doesn't hasta call me... urit


Foreigners can call any American "Yankee" that's perfectly legitimate. But when it comes to Americans, Yankee should only apply to Northeasterners above PA. AS for the North vs. South thing... I don't think that's it. We're just snobby and durned proud of being yankees. LOL After all, I do get miffed if, say, a North Dakotan was called a Yankee. North Dakota wasn't part of the founding of the country or the revolutionary war or any of that. They came later. The revolutionary war was fought in my backyard, as I can walk to the battlefields. I lost distant relations in that and the French and Indian war... therefore I feel I can specially use "Yankee"

It has something to do with patriotic roots. Now, this all happened south of us too, in PA, DE, and MD, VA, etc, but that's not New England either... That's mostly "MidAnt" or by some definitions, "southern" (compared to us great New Englanders)

I don't think it's cockamammy at all *grin*

It's just *the way it is* (oh, and New York counts too, though they aren't New Englanders)

Alright call me insane if you want. I just think there's something special about New England and New York State that I've picked up from living there- fiercely proud of that heritage and like the special designation. :-) I certainly don't get any similar feeling here in Maryland, and I suppose it is remotely similar to fiercely proud Southerners, if I really think about it...

gold "walking the fields of shay's rebellion" toes


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tagurit
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ahhh... You're the one giving Americans the bad rep as arrogant, aren't ya? *L*

I suppose since my ancestors settled in New Rochelle in 1688, you'll have no qualms about me thinking I'm a yankee.....now that I know your criteria.

tag Michigan Yankee urit

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Meddik
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Well, As a clearly biased Southerner, don't blame me if I Happen to agree with those in some 3rd world country chanting "Yankee Go Home!"

Every now and then, I find myself thinking the same thing.


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Gold Mistle toes
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quote:
Originally posted by xmas gift tag:
ahhh... You're the one giving Americans the bad rep as arrogant, aren't ya? *L*

I suppose since my ancestors settled in New Rochelle in 1688, you'll have no qualms about me thinking I'm a yankee.....now that I know your criteria.

tag Michigan Yankee urit


hee hee Yep you can be a Yankee, I'll let you.

gold "as long as it has nothing to do with dontchaknow, ay" toes


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GravyTrain
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For what it's worth, this late in the post,

.. early on, there was some suggestion about the origin of "nigger" based on mispronounciation of "Negro".

From what I can understand, "negro" comes from the Latin adjective "niger/gra/grum", meaning black. In Latin, all "I"s are pronounced "ee" (Anyone but me remember learning "Are thEre thrEE Or tWO?" for the Latin vowel sounds?)

So, "niger" would have been pronounced "nee-gair", which is very close to the epithet in question.

Oddly enough, none of the other derivative words from "negro" ("Negroid", "Negrify", "Negrophobia" or "Negritude" to name a few) are considered even remotely offensive (well, a few people take offense to "Negroid" but I can't understand why..)

GT.


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Meddik
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quote:
Originally posted by GravyTrain:

Oddly enough, none of the other derivative words from "negro" ("Negroid", "Negrify", "Negrophobia" or "Negritude" to name a few) are considered even remotely offensive (well, a few people take offense to "Negroid" but I can't understand why..)

Oh yes they do...

Anyone remember the story about a Washington DC government officialwho was forced to resigned after using the word niggardly? (Which means Miserly, and never ahs had any meaning related to the other N word.)

Link to the story...


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GravyTrain
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quote:
Originally posted by Meddik:

Oh yes they do...

Anyone remember the story about a Washington DC government officialwho was forced to resigned after using the word niggardly? (Which means Miserly, and never ahs had any meaning related to the other N word.)


Thank you for the story. It brings back memories. In high school, I was forced to apologize to a black student for daring to use that very word in her prescence. I refused at first, but did on the condition that the student in question read aloud the definition and the linguistic derivation (as you mentioned, completely free from racial overtones) from a dictionary. Needless to say, I was duly exonerated and eventually got an apology in return.

Thus, in the same way that blacks have taken it upon themselves to reclaim "nigger" into their vocabularies, I have taken it on myself to reclaim "niggard" as an innocent victim of race relations run amuk.

The words I was referring to were words that *are* racially motivated, that derive from that "niger" Latin adjective, which I detailed earlier. I have used those on many occasion without as much a dirty look. It could be that no one UNDERSTANDS them, however

Gravy "Midnight negritude" Train.


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tagurit
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I changed my mind, Gold Toes. I don't wanna be a yankee... *L* thanks, anyway...

I've been meaning to ask you, is your screenname in any way a reference to gold toe socks? That's pretty much the only kind I wear, not that it matters.

tag

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christmas tree kitapper
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quote:
Originally posted by Gold Mistle toes:

gold "walking the fields of shay's rebellion" toes


I have to say that as a Midwesterner born and bred, I have never once considered myself a Yankee; I am a Midwesterner. To me Yankee has always meant Massachussetts, New York State, Connecticut- never any other part of the country.

Nitpick time: it was Shays's Rebellion, not Shay's.

ki"proud to be a Midwesterner"tap

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"I have never in my life been more disappointed by a politician I voted for than I have been with George Bush. He is a total liberal."- overheard by me on the shuttle to the U of A game on Nov. 11th.


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tagurit
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I don't actually consider myself a yankee either, kitap. Though, I know that some southerners do think of Michiganders and anyone else north of the mason-dixon line, yankees. *s* Or, maybe they draw their own lines...

Wouldn't that be shays' rebellion?

tag

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Explore, enjoy and protect the planet
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AAMAH


Posts: 8532 | From: Michigan | Registered: Mar 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
tagurit
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Oops! Guess you're right, kitap. I've been doing it wrong for years, sticking an apostrophe after anything that ends with "s", whether plural or singular. Well, about time this old dog learned how to do it right. Thanks.

According to the Chicago Manual of Style 14th edition:

"The possessive of a singular nouns is formed by the addition of an apostrophe and an s, and the possessive of plural nouns (except for a few irregular plurals) by the addition of an apostrophe only." (p. 198)

"The general rule for the possessive of nouns covers most proper nouns, including most names ending in sibilants." Some examples given are Kansas's, Burns's poems, Marx's theories, Ross's land, Jefferson Davis's home, etc. (p. 200-201)

Two traditional exceptions to this rule are Jesus and Moses: Jesus' name, Moses' leadership.

Also:
infoplease.com's Concise Guide to Style

mea culpa

tag

--------------------
Explore, enjoy and protect the planet
---
AAMAH


Posts: 8532 | From: Michigan | Registered: Mar 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
christmas tree kitapper
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by xmas gift tag:
I don't actually consider myself a yankee either, kitap. Though, I know that some southerners do think of Michiganders and anyone else north of the mason-dixon line, yankees.

I think this is very true; I know I have heard native Floridians refer to us Midwesterners as Yankees.

ki"glad to help you clear up the apostrophe bit"tap


Posts: 3878 | From: Tucson, AZ | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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