Voice of America
in Special English. Every word has its
Where did it come from? How did it find
into the language?
today is "OK." It is known and used by millions of people
all over the world.
language experts do not agree on where it came from. Some
say it came from the American Indians. When Europeans
first came to the Americas, they heard hundreds of
different Indian languages – most were
especially had a well-developed language. This was
the Chocktaw tribe. They were farmers and fishermen who
lived in the rich Mississippi valley in what are now the
states of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. When
Chocktaw leaders discussed them with the
They sat in a circle and listened to the
the chief. He heard the different
often raising and
lowering his head in agreement, and saying "Okeh"
meaning "It is so."
given many words to English. Twenty-four –
– of the American states have Indian names: Oklahoma, the
Dakotas, Idaho, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Tennessee,
to name a few.
And the names of many rivers,
mountains, cities, and towns are Indian.
there are many who
dispute the idea that the word "OK " came from the
Indians. Some say that President Andrew Jackson first used
the word. Others
claim the word was invented by John Jacob Astor, a
of the late 1700's, who became one of the world's richest
men. Still, others say a poor railroad clerk
this word. His name was Obadiah Kelly, and he put his
initials, "O.K.," on each package people gave him to ship
by train. So it goes. Each story sounds
and official. But perhaps the most
explanation is that the word, "OK," was invented by a
political organization in the 1800's. Martin Van Buren was
President. A group of people organized a club to support
him. They called their political organization the "O.K.
Club." The letters, "O" and "K," were taken from the name
of Van Buren's home town – the place where he
was born –
Old Kinderhook, New York.
one thing about the word, "OK," that the experts
do agree on
that the word is pure American and that it
to almost every country on earth. There is something about
the word that
peoples of every language.
in America, it is used mostly in speech, not in serious
writing. Serious writers would rather use such words as
"agree," "assent," "approve," "confirm,"
and so on.
In recent times, the word, "OK," has been given an
official place in the English language. But it will be a
long time before Americans will officially accept two
expressions that come from "OK." These are "oke"
own: propia; its way: su espacio, su lugar; still:
de todos modos; fully developed: completamente
desarrollados; tribe especially: tribu en
arose: surgían, aparecían; tribal chief:
jefe de la tribu; wisdom: sabiduría; proposals:
sugerencias, propuestas; raising and lowering:
subiendo y bajando; it is so: así es;
have given: han concedido, han dado; almost half:
casi la mitad; to name a few: por citar algunos;
streams: arroyos; nevertheless: no obstante;
dispute: ponen en duda, discuten; claim: sostienen; fur
trader: comerciante en pieles; made up:
inventó; reasonable: razonable; believable: creíble;
running for: postulándose para; was born:
nació; do agree on: en la que coinciden; has
spread: se ha extendido; that appeals: que
atrae; peoples: los pueblos; yet: aun así.
and so on: etcetera; oke / okey-dokey:
expresiones coloquiales para decir "bien" o "bueno".
VOA - Voice of America
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