A special subdivision of particular interest comprises those names, or nicknames, which are sometimes popularly given to nations from words continually occurring in their speech. Thus the French used to call an Englishman a god-damn (godon), and in China an English soldier is called a-says or I-says. In Java a Frenchman is called orang-deedong (orang 'man'), in America ding-dong, and during the Napoleonic wars the French were called in Spain didones, from dis-donc; another name for the same nation is wi-wi (Australia), man-a-wiwi (in Beach-la-mar), or oui-men (New Caledonia). In Eleonore Christine's Jammersminde 83 I read, "Ich habe zwei parle mi franço gefangen," and correspondingly Goldsmith writes (Globe ed. 624): "Damn the French, the parle vous, and all that belongs to them. What makes the bread rising? the parle vous that devour us." In Rovigno the surrounding Slavs are called čuje from their exclamation čuje 'listen, I say,' and in Hungary German visitors are called vigéc (from wie geht's?), and customs officers vartapiszli (from wart' a bissl). Round Panama everything native is called spiggoty, because in the early days the Panamanians, when addressed, used to reply, "No spiggoty [speak] Inglis." In Yokohama an English or American sailor is called Damuraīsu H'to from 'Damn your eyes' and Japanese H'to 'people.'
The noises we make
More from Jesperson's "Language": just as we call birds by their sounds, cultures develop names for foreign visitors that reflect their characteristic verbal tics:
By Texan99 on Wednesday, May 13, 2015