Posted by Ilse on April 07, 1998 at 16:18:42:
In Reply to: Re: Musings on the Dutch posted by Gayle on April 07, 1998 at 15:23:56:
: : : Need assistance on another clue to the Natty Bumppo puzzle (hopefully not so obscure as "anan"). Is the word "younker" a Dutch term? It might be meant in the sense of a "youngster", or it might refer to Dutch people, generally, in New York. Would Yonkers, New York have the root of its name there?
: : : I thought it might refer to "Yorkers" - the New Englanders who were so distained by the frontier self-styled aristocracy, but I'm inclined to think not, because Natty used Yorkers as a perfectly separate term and put it in dialect.
: : Gayle,
: : Great, great, great, I get to answer a question!!! Yes, I do believe this is a Dutch word, I think it's "jonker", or the more formal version "jonkheer". It means a young nobleman. Would that make sense in the context you found it?
: : Ilse
: BRAVO!!! That is a great help! All the information I'm gathering continues to support the idea that Natty Bumppo was Dutch, rather than English. He refers several times throughout the five books to the time when he was a "younker", and although I don't think in this case, he meant noble background, by any means, it definitely ties in with all his descriptions of experiences in the Dutch communities and intimate familiarity with the Dutch social activities. On the other hand, "young nobleman" might have been a term of endearment for a first-born son, and he does state specifically in THE DEERSLAYER that the Bumppos were at one time higher placed than they are now.
: I'm also working on his church connections, although there are conflicting pieces of information there. In Last of the Mohicans, (the book) he is moved to tears by David Gamut's psalm singing in the cave, which takes him back to the familiar sounds of childhood. David Gamut was singing from the Church of England Common Psalmody which had been printed specifically for use in the colonies. However, there is a later reference to Natty's familiarity with the Dutch church in Albany - the type of reference Cooper tosses in with a grin on his face, knowing full well that most people will not pick up on it. The thing is, I don't see any conflict with Natty's family worshiping in a Dutch church even if they were English. Albany was a Dutch town at that time, so it's not likely the Church of England was big in the community. Also, from personal experience, despite being straight down the line from William Brewster, my family attended, and I was baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church in Schenectady, so this leaves me without any conclusions on the Dutch/English question of Natty.
: I love working on something like this as a joint project. I'm trying to figure out how to submit it for everybody's input and opinions as it goes along, but even at this stage it's 16 pages long, and there are several sections I can't even write until I get more information together. But it will eventually go to the Musings, I hope. Kudos on your input!!!
I'm enjoying this too, so I checked a bit further on the word "jonker". In English, it also translates to "squire", so it could refer to a more countryside kind of upper class. There are several other meanings to the word. It was also used for a young unmarried man from the higher social standings, but also, and still today, for a young soldier who is still in training for the real thing ( a "cadet", maybe you use the same word?). This meaning is up to now very much in use in the navy today. Natty the Sea Wolf in his younger days?
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