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OT: O.K. (was How do I say ...)

From: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2007 15:51:10 -0400
To: CE Whitehead <cewcathar@hotmail.com>
Cc: asmusf@ix.netcom.com, www-international@w3.org
Message-ID: <20070317195110.GC25507@mercury.ccil.org>

CE Whitehead scripsit:

> (OK. is sort of English/American, but I think a lot of people borrow it, 

It has been very widely adopted in the world's languages.

> incidentally 'oc' [pronounced /) k/ a little like /ak/ I do not have the 
> backwords c here] means 'yes' in the Oc or Occitan--Southern France, 
> northern Spain, Western Italy, etc.--and in the Middle Ages the Oc 
> people did have close ties to the English and even intermarried, but 
> people today I've talked to argue for a different evolution of o.k.

There are many bogus theories, but the only one with actual documentary
evidence is that "O.K." first appeared in Boston in 1839 as a newspaper
abbreviation of "oll korrect", a misspelling of "all correct" fashionable
at the time.  It came to national prominence due to its association with
the initials of "Old Kinderhook", a nickname for American presidential
candidate Martin van Buren, whose partisans used "O.K.!" as a rallying
cry.  The OED's 1839 quotation:

	C. G. GREENE in Boston Morning Post 23 Mar. 2/2 He...would
	have the 'contribution box', et ceteras, o.k. -- all correct --
	and cause the corks to fly, like sparks, upward.

The Occitan theory is particularly impossible, because "o" in Occitan is
not pronounced /O/ but /u/; it is final -a in Occitan that is pronounced
/O/, as in _luna_ [lynO] 'moon'.  I believe the word _oc_ itself is
simply /u/.

-- 
Principles.  You can't say A is         John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>
made of B or vice versa.  All mass      http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
is interaction.  --Richard Feynman
Received on Saturday, 17 March 2007 19:51:26 GMT

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