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Adam Walker wrote:
> Well, if it is originally a Scotish borrowing from
> Dutch, I would expect it to be most common in those
> areas of the country with the highest emmigration of
> Scots, ie the South.  My family all uses the word.  We
> are all Southerners, have been for as long as 400
> years on some braches of the family.  There is a high
> concentration of Scotish blood in the family and also
> several Dutch lines.  I don't think the useage in
> theis country is anything new, but I do think it may
> have been a regional usage until not so long ago.
> Southern usages have been gaining prestige. 

That seems quite possible to me.  My family's always
lived south of the Ohio as well, and my family is 
mostly Scottish (indeed, mostly the same clan, MacNaughton).
Several centuries ago, before the Act of Union, Scotland
was a much poorer place, and many Scots emigrated to 
other parts of Europe (one Scot figured prominently 
in the Thirty Years' War, in which England had little
or no part).  Several of my Scottish ancestors lived
on the continent in this way: Rev. Malcom Wier (b. ca 1516)
died in Geneva;  his grandson John Wier (aka Jan Vyer,
b. ca 1645) lived in Amsterdam; the latter's son Dr. John 
Wier lived in Brussels, and his children returned to 
live in Scotland only to move later to Northern Ireland
thence another generation later to South Carolina 
some time in the late 18th century. 

Anyways, that's a round-about way of saying that I find
it quite possible that the vector for introducing words
was Scottish, and that this was taken thence to America.
Question:  how common is "pinky" in the New York area?
Dutch Americans living in what became New York would be
another vector for the word. 

 =========================================================================
Thomas Wier	       "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics    because our secret police don't get it right 
University of Chicago   half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of 
1010 E. 59th Street     Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter.
Chicago, IL 60637