Posted by Ilse on March 19, 1998 at 17:08:25:
In Reply to: Mohicanland Archives posted by Gayle on March 19, 1998 at 15:02:58:
: The speculation on Hawkeye's dialect was neat, too. I am convinced that, although Natty never had anything good to say about the Dutch, Cooper envisioned Natty Bumppo as being of Dutch heritage. I was following that train of thought rather loosely until I started digging for a review of The Deerslayer by Honore de Balzac. That quest led me to one of de Balzac's books in which one of the words used consistently by the native Dutch was "Anan?". It means "I don't understand the word you used", and Natty would always query with it when he ran up against vocabulary that was over his head.
This is very interesting to me. Being Dutch, I just spent a couple of hours in my library to find some reference to the word "anan". I didn't find any. I am not surprised because it does not sound like a Dutch word at all. My guess is that it is a variety on a French or Latin word, and De Balzac just used his "literary freedom" here. Another explanation could be that in that period it was very fashionable in nobility and upper classes to speak French, and they were just not as good at it as they thought (the Frenche use: comment? when they don't understand).
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