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Borrowings: "go-go"

Posted by R. Berg on November 12, 2002

In Reply to: Hang on a minute... 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.