Why Indians say ‘ugh’ (part 2)

While making my case for a Creek/Muskogee origin of “how,” I also mentioned that an 1872 document uses the stereotypical “ugh” to represent speech at a Creek Indian council. (See here.) But this witness (Michael Johnston Kenan) was describing events that occurred almost half a century before he wrote them down in 1872. So it […]

Why Indians say ‘how’ (part 2)

In a previous post about the stereotyped Indian utterances “how” and “ugh,” I noted that “how” appears to be derived from the Muskogee Creek word hvo (pronounced “haw”). I could be wrong. Back in 1986, Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope argued for another group of American Indian languages. Someone had asked Adams whether Indians […]

Why Indians say “how” and “ugh”

Generations of white people have imagined and written about Indians who say “how” or “ugh.” These are the two syllables that represent “Indian language” to many if not most of us. It’s still commonplace for Americans today to think of “Indian” as if it were a single language, spoken from sea to shining sea — […]