LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||26/MAR/2010 8:00 PM|
|Assunto:||Yank vs. Yankee (To Dale)|
Calling me a Yank or Yankee is like calling you a Peruvian. Are you
from Peru? A Yankee is from the northeastern states of the USA. I am
from California. If you call an American from the South (the South is
actually in the southeastern part of the USA), he may feel insulted.
This is because of the Civil War that Yankees think ended in 1865 but
Southerners know deep in their hearts that it will never end until the
Stars and Bars (rebel flag) flies over every state capitol again. (And
you think I am kidding...) There is a wonderful book about this subject
(how the Civil War still affects Southerners) entitled Confederates in the Attic.
There are many stories about the origin of "Yankee". Take your pick. Go ahead and choose one.
British friends have told me they find "Yank" perjorative. I don't, but if I heard it often, maybe I would.
As for Gringo, there are many stories about its origin. Many say it began during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). Not true. It has been found in a dictionary printed in Spain about 1790.
I have never liked the word. Without question I came to dislike as a child living on the USA-Mexican border. Latins say it is not demeaning or insulting, but I consider it racist. When was the last time you heard of an African-American Gringo, a Gringo of Oriental ancestry? Is my race the only thing of importance? Have I no values, no accomplishments, no personality or honor? I have a name. Use it. As I was going to say, I came to dislike the word after years of unpleasant experiences that were hard to overcome and put behind me.
Years ago a Costa Rican said to me, "I do not understand why some Americans resent the word. We do not say it to offend." I told him, "I do not understand why Costa Ricans are offended when I call them 'hijos de puta'. I do not say it to offend." He smiled and said he understood. If someone does not like a nickname or name in general, why should we insist on calling him by that name? We do not say what we say; we say what the listener hears.
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