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  • Mysteries of vernacular:

  • Yankee,

  • a New England resident

  • or, more generally, a person who lives in

  • or is from the United States.

  • Though the origin of Yankee is uncertain,

  • this all-American word most likely descended

  • from the Dutch moniker Janke,

  • a diminutive meaning little Jan,

  • or little John.

  • In the 17th century,

  • Janke was the common nickname of Dutch sailors,

  • pirates in particular.

  • A Dutch pirate ship operating in the West Indies

  • was even called the Yankee.

  • Over the years, Yankee transformed

  • from a pirate's nickname

  • into a general term of contempt.

  • In 1758, British general James Wolfe

  • used Yankee as a pejorative term

  • for the colonists under his supervision.

  • But the insult wasn't limited to soldiers.

  • Yankee quickly came to mean New Englander,

  • and by the 1780s,

  • it was used to look down

  • upon any American.

  • During the Revolution,

  • colonists co-opted Yankee

  • and transformed it into a mark of national honor.

  • The Civil War, however,

  • intensified the derisive definition

  • when it was used by Southerners

  • to mock members of the Union.

  • Today, it carries much less emotion,

  • unless, of course,

  • we're talking about baseball.

Mysteries of vernacular:

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B1 TED-Ed yankee dutch nickname pirate transformed

【TED-Ed】Mysteries of vernacular: Yankee - Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel

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    姚易辰 posted on 2014/02/13
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