quote:John Leland kicks off his entertaining new book, Hip: The History, with a seductive little linguistic anecdote. The word hip, he says, derives from the West African language Wolof, and was "cultivated by slaves" from West Africa. Leland goes on to use the etymology of the word as a framing device for part of his argument: Hip — the word and the concept — "was one of the tools Africans developed to negotiate an alien landscape, and one of the legacies they contributed to it." Sounds fascinating, right?
There's just one problem: The etymology is wrong.
-------------------- -Oh, we'd all like to lick the great Superman, Jimmy. Posts: 2298 | From: Eastern Scandinavia (Sverige) | Registered: Jan 2004
| IP: Logged |
The Red and the Green Stamps
I admit, I really never gave much thought to the origin of "hip". I suppose I always assumed it came from the body part, since in more prudish times, swinging of the hips while dancing might be seen as 'immoral behavior', lending itself to more and more use of the word by 'hip' people.
"Hep", I figured was interchangeable, but not necessarily related (or maybe just a dialect difference). Again, I hadn't put much thought or research into it, but now that I think about it, I suppose I assumed it was derived from "happening". Hap -> hep. At some point, "hip" and "hep" were synonymous and so interchangeable.
I am, by no means, saying that this is how it actually is, it's just what little thought my brain has put into them. Then again, I have no plans on writing a book about it, so I've had little/no reason to really look into the subject.
IP: Logged |