Monday, March 30, 2009

Just Posting a Skosh

Somewhere in perusing the internet today I came upon a reference to the word skosh. and found to my amusement that it was a borrowing from Japanese sukoshi (a little bit). I was surprised, for I'd apparently I had a notion it was of good anglo-Saxon stock, having heard it since my youth (usu. with epenthetic t--more like "skowtch" if I can be quick and dirty with the phonetics.)

Upon some thought, though, its not altogether surprising a useful little word of Japanese could have made it into English in the years before my parents were born, what with the military presence in Japan right after World War II (which continues, at least on Okinawa, until the present day.) My paternal grandfather served in the Eastern Front during WWII (in Fiji, from what I'm told). This is not to say I'm suggesting Papa brought that word back himself, but if ever there were an organization to move slang around the world, I suppose the US Army would be it.

It's interesting to think back on my grandfather, who died when I was six. His parents were immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire (mountains of NE Slovakia) who had managed by design or chance to get out of Europe in the decade just before World War I. He participated in the Second World War as part of an effort, one of whose very tiny aftereffects is written into the English language.

New ńĆapek by noon tomorrow.


kukkurovaca said...

Ah, interesting. BTW, this is a word that I sort of know, but which I never use and have rarely heard used in actual conversation, at least here.

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