Definitions starting with E

ID #1840

-ee, -y

[Car.; cf. DJE -i "Meaningless sound-element; its use today, however (except as estab-lished in songs, proverbs, etc.), indicates old-fashioned dial. speech.", cf. Gul. Olee man old man (in song) (Parsons 1923:85); a similar suffix in early varieties of pidgin English arose from an African phonotactic rule that words must end in vowels or sonorants; cf. late 18th century US creole Tankè you, whitè man (de Crèvecoeur, quoted by Dillard 1972:71); cf. its systematic use in modern Sea.: tifi teeth, brede bread, etc. (WST)]

a suffix that may have survived in normal speech until the end of the last century especially in such words as yerry, tanky, and stirry: 1888 (Proverbs) Seven year no 'nough for washy speckle off guinea hen back. . . .Fowl drinky water (Powles 166-7). 1936 We no speakee parley voo (Dupuch 73). 1966 He say, "Hun, Hun. God hatee me" (in idiot voice) (Crowley 66). [a spirit] You want to eat allee (ibid 108). Me gladdy. . .Dat too hardy [hard] (a Haitian, Nassau).

ee or y is now used in folk tales to characterize the speech of idiots, monsters, and brutes, and sometimes in speaking to Haitians and other foreigners.

Tags: folktales, music, suffix

Related entries: -

Last update: 2010-09-19 15:06
Author: Holm and Shilling, DBE, 1982
Revision: 1.1

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