December 16, 2003

Yankees and Bostonians

Mark Liberman's post on the use of Frank as a term for European, like that of Yankee for Americans in general, calls to mind another situation in which Yankees have come to be representative of a larger group. Sailors out of Boston were prominent in the maritime trade in the Pacific Northwest, as a result of which Boston came to mean American in Chinook Jargon, the trade language used along the coast, which later spread up the Fraser River and saw use in the interior of British Columbia as far north, at least, as Takla Landing. Variants of Boston came to mean "American" in Carrier, and in some dialects came to mean, and still do mean, "white person" in general.

Posted by Bill Poser at December 16, 2003 12:55 AM