LINGUIST List 3.76

Fri 24 Jan 1992

Disc: Last Posting on Honkie

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  1. "Charles A. Bigelow", Honkie
  2. Herb Stahlke, Origins of "Honkie"

Message 1: Honkie

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 92 7:58:22 PSTHonkie
From: "Charles A. Bigelow" <bigelowSunburn.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: Honkie

Whatever its etymology, the word "honkie" as a general pejorative for
'white person' seemed to hit the big time in the 1960's, after
Stokeley Carmichael used it in a speech widely replayed by the
electronic media. In my dim memory of his pronunciation of the word,
the "o" was somewhere between a schwa and an open 'o', which made it
difficult to tell whether it was a broadening of the existing
pejorative "hunky" (already discussed on this list) or a new term.
Perhaps someone recalls more about the use of the term in the civil
rights and black power movements, and about Carmichael's non-U.S.
dialect of English (which led to his being called a foreign-born
agitator by various honkie revanchists.)

Does anyone else recall that the word had a vocative, "honk", that was
different from the nominative, "honkie"?
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Message 2: Origins of "Honkie"

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 1992 13:26 ESTOrigins of "Honkie"
Subject: Origins of "Honkie" suggests a Wolof source for "honkie." I have a
copy of an unsourced article by David Dalby titled "Americanism that
may once have been Africanisms" in which he argues for Wolof as the
source for quite a bit of slang that has come into American English
through Black English. I think the article appeared in the London
Times sometime in the sixties. Needless to say, Dalby restricts his
transcription to what the newspaper allowed.

	Dalby proposes Wolof sources for the following American
English words:

	English			Wolof
	dig			dega	 "to understand"
	guy			gay	 term of address meaning
					 "fellows, guys"
	jive			jev	 "to talk disparagingly"
 hepcat			hipi-kat hipi "to open one's eyes"
 -kat agentive suffix
	honkie			hong	 "red, pink"
	sambo			samba	 Wolof family name
	fuzzy (range horse)	fas	 "horse"
	OK			waw kay "all right, certainly"
	jam			jaam	 "slave" (speculating that
					 the term went back to
					 slave revels on

He also suggests Wolof sources for the words "sock" (meaning
"strike"), "bug" (meaning "enthusiast"), and "cush" (corn-meal soaked
in water) but does not identify the Wolof words he has in mind.

Herb Stahlke
Ball State University
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