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Posted by Word Camel on July 01, 2004

In Reply to: Yanks/Yankees posted by ESC on July 01, 2004

: : : Only seconds ago I posted something on the term 'sounding board'. In doing so I referred to my 'Yankee' friend. It occurred to me afterwards, that this might be entirely incorrect or even politically incorrect (perish the thought I would EVER be politically incorrect - mwahahah!!!!).

: : : Anyway, I, from the lower planetory regions (on a higher planetory scale of course), tend to occasionally refer to all Americans as Yanks - in a totally casual, across the board without thought basis. But it occurred to me that a country that has as part of its history 'civil war' might not necessarily take kindly to that ('take kindly' has to be an Americanism).

: : : The point I'm making is, when I say 'Yank' it's with as much feeling and venom as 'Pom' - ie. NONE! It's all just a term of endearment to me - ie. slang.

: : : So if I offend I apologise - it's down to my parochial ignorance.

: : : But there's a question here too - in doing so, do I offend? ie. Is calling American 'Yanks' offensive to some Americans? And is there a difference between me calling you 'yanks' and 'yankees'? I'm not kidding, I really don't know. Your TV programs don't enlighten on these points.

: : It's not offensive to me.

: PS -- Maybe some Southerners might not like it. I don't know since I'm not from the South. They might be amused by it. Superpatriot that I am, I consider being called a Yankee an honor.

People in the UK also seemed to think that "Yank" was some sort of term of abuse, and I"ve no doubt some of them meant it that way when they used it, but no American I know feels it's a term of abuse. I even had one or two people leap to my defence in case I might be offended by the term. Though galant, it seemed surreal as if someone leaped up to defend me because someone used the terms "woman", "curly-haired", "blonde" or "dromdary".

My own theory is that this is because Americans are not, as a group abroad oppressed or down trodden. It therefore never occurs to them to feel bad when someone uses the term "Yank."