Posted by Adrian on December 17, 2002
In Reply to: Borrowings: "go-go" posted by Word Camel on November 12, 2002
: : : : : : : I suppose so....now that I look at some of the supposed origins. It may be that the Japanese borrowed the expression but it seems too wierd that they would pronounce Okane so close to Okay and use the same hand sign.
: : : : : : : On another topic I think "go-go" comes from Japanese too. As in "go-go girl". In Japanese, "gogo" means "evening" or "PM". Again it just seems to be too much of a coinicidence for them not to be related.
: : : : : : Are you the bloke out of Bridget Jones diary?
: : : : : History teaches that the Japanese had a well documented national characteristic for copying just about anything that any other nation manufactured, said or did. We should not be surprised to find western words and sayings woven into the Japanese language.
: : : : I'm not sure I entirely agree and I'm not really sure why Japan should be singled out.
: : : : Anglo-American culture is constantly sucking up ideas and words from other cultures and making them its own. There may or may not be a tendency for copying in Japanese culture but if there is, I'm not convinced that it is any more significant than what goes on in the English-speaking world. It strikes me that western phrases and words in the Japanese language may just be more noticable to westerners because they are familiar. I can't really see that it helps to shed much light on the origin of the "go-go" girl.
: : : English is indeed full of borrowings, including "go-go," which comes from "à go-go," which is "French, 'in a joyful manner,' from 'gogo,' probably reduplication of the first syllable of 'gogue,' merriment, from Old French" (Amer. Heritage Dict., 1969). Some words in English may have been adopted from the Japanese language, but this doesn't look like one of them.
: : I used 'had' rather than 'have' for a good reason; Japan has changed a lot over the last 50 years or so. However, if you look back at it's history in the century from say 1850 you'll see what I mean. This was not intended to be a politically correct observation, merely a factual one - sorry if that offends.
: : And yes, the English have borrowed thousands of words from the French and why not? After all the French conquered England in 1066 and French was the language for a long time after that.
: It just seemed a bit of a red herring.
Another phrase which BREWER links to French is perhaps "full monty"; if you have an old Brewer look up Montgomerie