Thursday, June 20, 2013
Kato, you’re preoccupied with bananas, aren’t you?
Me? … preoccupied with bananas?
Yes, you are. You talked about the bananas at the Garden of Eden the other day, didn’t you?
Yes, I did, but I’m not particularly fond of bananas.
Then how come you’ve brought up bananas again?
Well … Diane, do you remember the following passage in the banana story?
Kato, what about the above passage?
Well … I’m just wondering where the go-bananas phrase came from.
It’s obvious, isn’t it?
What is obvious, Diane?
You see … many people believe for centuries that Adam and Eve ate an apple in the Garden of Eden. Then all of a sudden, you mentioned the above nonsense, that is, go for bananas, instead of apples. That’s why “go bananas” means “go out of one’s mind.”
But, Diane, the phrase has been around for quite a while. As you know, people said the phrase before the above book goes public. You told me your explanation simply because I told you the banana story.
According to the story, the naturalist Carl Linne told the world that Adam and Eve ate a banana, not an apple, didn’t he?
Yes, he did.
Carl Linne (1707 – 1778)
Linne told the world that Adam and Eve ate a banana, not an apple.
When he did, most people didn’t believe him, I suppose.
What makes you think so?
… ‘Cause even after Linne died many artists have painted apples, instead of bananas, in the paintings of “Adame and Eve” as Hans Thoma and Maurice Denis did.
ADAM AND EVE by Hans Thoma (1839-1924)
ADAM AND EVE by Maurice Denis (1870-1943)
I see …
So, when Linne told the world, meny people thought that he went out of his mind and some people said that he “went bananas” instead of “went apples.” Since then “go bananas” has meant “go crazy” or “out of one’s mind.”
Ummm … Diane, I think you can make a living as an etymologist.
Do you really think so, Kato?
Well … you may be right, but I’m still in doubt. So I search for the true origin on the Net and come up with the following three sites:
I know, the banana is the favorite food of monkeys, and monkeys are a popular symbol of disorder and misbehaviour. So, the word “bananas” came to be associated with “crazy.” This is naturally understandable, isn’t it?
Wild, drunken behavior caused by drinking Indonesian native concoctions made from fermented bananas… I’d rather go for that, Kato.
So, Diane, you’d rather like to take a fermented banana drink and go crazy, huh?
That would be nice, wouldn’t it? I didn’t know that there is a fermented banana drink.
Well … I’ve found a nice video clip for you, Diane. You can now make your own banana wine.
Well … I wonder what it tastes like?
Of course, it tastes like banana!
Very funny … By the way, Kato, did you check with OED?
Yes, I did. Look at the following page:
It says that it came from Mande via Portuguese or Spanish in the late 16th century.
What is Mande?
It is one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa with an estimated population of eleven million. They are the descendants of the Mali Empire, which rose to power under the rule of the great Mandinka king Sundiata Keita. Apparently, they used the word “bananas” as crazy.
I see … So, the origin goes back to the late 16th century, huh?
That’s what it says.
I’ve got another question for you, Diane.
What is it?
How about “go nuts”? Tell me, Diane, about the origin of the idiom “go nuts.”
Oh, Kato, … but you drive me nuts.
If you’ve got some time,
Please read one of the following artciles:
Hi, I’m June Adams.
“Go nuts” is an English idiom that is usually used in reference to someone who gets extremely excited over something.
This may occur in terms of a person getting agitated, or can also refer to someone who does something with complete abandon.
Another popular way that “go nuts” is used is when someone is describing someone who has had a mental breakdown and gone insane.
The origin of the phrase may be related to the slang usage of the word “nut” as a way of saying “head,” or it could have been based on the way that monkeys react wildly when they are given nuts.