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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 53

colonial speech from some West Indian dialect, went over into orthodox English, and from English into French, German and other Continental languages, and was then abandoned by the colonists. We shall see other examples of that process later on.
  Whether or not Yankee comes from an Indian dialect is still disputed. An early authority, John G. E. Heckwelder, argued that it was derived from an Indian mispronunciation of the word English. Certain later etymologists hold that it originated more probably in an Indian mishandling of the French word Anglais. Others derive it from the Scotch yankie, meaning a gigantic falsehood. Yet others derive it from the Dutch, and cite an alleged Dutch model for “Yankee Doodle,” beginning “Yanker didee doodle down.” Finally, Ernest Weekly, in his Etymological Dictionary, 13 makes the conjecture that it may be derived from the Dutch Jan (=John), possibly by back-formation from Jan Kes (=John Cornelius). Of these theories that of Heckwelder is the most plausible. But here, as in other directions, the investigation of American etymology remains sadly incomplete. An elaborate dictionary of words derived from the Indian languages, compiled by the late W. R. Gerard, is in the possession of the Smithsonian Institution, but on account of a shortage of funds it remains in manuscript. 14
  From the very earliest days of English colonization the language of the colonists also received accretions from the languages of the other colonizing nations. The French word portage, for example, was already in common use before the end of the seventeenth century, and soon after came chowder, cache, caribou, voyageur, and various words that, like the last-named, have since become localisms or disappeared altogether. Before 1750 bureau, 15 gopher, batteau, bogus, and prairie were added, and caboose, a word of Dutch origin, seems to have come in through the French. Carry-all is also French in origin, despite its English quality. It comes, by the law of Hobson-Jobson,