Monday, March 1, 2010

Hooky and the Dutch Connection Part 2

I mentioned in Part 1 that I had found an article, "The Dutch Origin of Play Hookey" by John Ralph Sinnema printed in 1970 in the American Speech magazine. Unfortunately at the time I posted Part 1, I could only view the first page of the article. In order to view the remaining pages, I had to pay a fee.
I found that I could access the article at one of two Universities that were nearby. Since I had some other items I wanted to study at the Stanford University, I made a trip to Palo Alto. The delay in being able to post part 2 was worth it. I found the entire article to be most interesting.
Dr. Sinnema passed away in 1999. He was a professor and chairman of the German department at Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio. Although, Dr. Sinnema seems to have been well regarded, I checked on a few of his source citations before proceeding with part 2 of my blog on the word "hooky."
He makes a reference to the Anthology of New Netherland by Henry Cruse published in 1865 regarding a complaint in 1656 by Nicasius de Sille, attorney, concerning the boys playing hoeckje in the streets. I found confirmation of this on Page 286 of Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York: One Hundred and Forty-First Session, Vol. XXIX, No. 62 (Albany, NY: J. B. Lyon Company, 1918).
Hoeckje seems to be a diminutive of Hoeck or Hoek. Hoek was a geographical term, meaning a small cape, that the Dutch used and was Anglicized to Hook. It also meant corner. The boys playing hoeckje in 17th century New Amsterdam were playing a game like hide-and -seek. The difference from hide-and-seek being an object was hidden while the players (seekers) were awaiting around the corner rather than players hiding and one or more seekers trying to find them all.
Dr. Sinnema's article goes into detail about the how a hoekje spelen evolved from a game of hide-and-seek into play hooky.

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