Friday, December 28, 2007

Netherlands USA - part 2

The American language of today still contains some Dutch words. With the game kolf the word 'golf' stuck, with skating the word 'skate' from schaats. The Dutch seafaring tradition brought the words 'skipper,' 'marine', 'hoist,' 'yacht' and many others some by way of (British) English, some directly into American speech.
Some linguists believe that the word Yankee is actually a corrupted form of the Dutch name Jan-Kees (1, 2).

There are more 'American-English' words and names with a Dutch origin. Do you want to have some examples? Dollar = daalder (= old Dutch currency), boss = baas, waffle = wafel, cookie = koekje and Santa Claus = Sinterklaas.

The ancestors of Franklin D. Roosevelt, US president from 1934 to 1945, arrived from Holland in New Amsterdam in about 1649.

Various historians have argued that the American Declaration of Independence (1776) was inspired by the 1581 Plakkaat van Verlatinghe, in which the Dutch had once rejected the authority of the King of Spain. When the Dutch abjured the Spanish king in the year 1581, they had the same 'legalistic' approach as the Americans later and they declared to the world:

'As it is apparent to all that a prince is constituted by God to be the ruler of the people... and whereas God did not create the people slaves to their prince, to obey his commands, whether right or wrong, but rather the prince for the sake of the subjects... And when he does not behave thus, but on the contrary oppresses them... they may not only disallow his authority, but legally proceed to the choice of another prince for their defence...'

Aren't these words reminiscent of Jefferson's text in the American Declaration of Independence? (3.)

"In love of liberty and in the defense of it, Holland has been our example." Benjamin Franklin

The Dutch in America
The USA and the Netherlands


Carol L. Douglas said...

I think our Founding Fathers, who were men of letters, would have known the writings of Erasmus and the history of the Eighty Years War. Particularly so, as they attempted to throw off the domination of a distant king.

Now, I have to go do something useful! Thanks for an awesome series of posts.