Academic journal article et Cetera

America-Naming the Country and Its People

Academic journal article et Cetera

America-Naming the Country and Its People

Article excerpt

Allen Walker Read. America - Naming the Country and Its People. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 2001.

A number of years ago Allen Walker Read, a noted "naming scholar," spent more than three full years researching newspapers in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia to prove the origin of the expression "OK." He found that after its earlier uses, OK surfaced in connection with President Martin Van Buren's reelection campaign. Van Buren's opponents claimed Van Buren was illiterate, that he could not spell, and that he signed documents "OK" meaning "oll korrect." Van Buren tried to counter these charges but he lost the election and OK gained great publicity. Read's 1839 example, the earliest found so far, has been accepted by all modem dictionaries and has earned Read the right to claim he is "the man who proved OK."

In his latest book, America - Naming the Country and Its People, Read takes on such topics as:

The claim for a native source of the name "America"

Derivative forms for the name "United States"

Rival etymologies of "Yankee"

Some semantic developments in the derivation of "New York"

Reads observations on these topics have been culled from some of his unpublished talks and have been edited for the book by Leonard R. …

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