Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving! Turkey, India, Mayans & the Stars : Origin of the Name of the Bird We Call the Turkey - LexiLine Journal 471

Happy Thanksgiving!

You might think that the name of the American Turkey bird comes from Turkey, but you would be wrong.

Nevertheless, believe it or not, there is no accepted etymology for the origin of the word for the bird we call the "Turkey", a word which has been analyzed lexically at great depth by Alain Theriault in his 1996 posting at the Linguist List.

There is also a comprehensive lexical list at the Wiktionary.

The closest words to English "turkey" are German Trut-hahn, Latvian ti-tars, Hebrew tar-negol hodu "Indian rooster", Igbo (southern Nigera) toro toro, Irish turcai, Italian tacchino, Ladin (Switzerland) tachin, Lower Sorbian turk, Sorbian truta, Romanian curca, Telugu (Dravidian language of India) Tarkee Kodi (compare those two words with the Hebrew). Many other languages of the world have a word for the bird turkey starting with a word like hind- or ind- or something similar to it meaning "bird of India".

If the Turkey originated in Europe, the Latvian terms tark-šķēt or tark-šķis might give the essential clue since these words mean to "chatter, clapper, patter, rattle", i.e. "to gobble".

But as explained by Michael Qunion at World Wide Words, the turkey originally came from Mexico of the New World and was brought to the Old World by the Spaniards, in part via India and the East Indies, which is how the bird got called the "Indian" bird.

The Maya term for the turkey cock (the male) was ah tzo based on current evidence so that an original *tzor- form is not inconceivable. Since Tzorkin viz. Tzolkin means "cosmic matrix" (whence calendar) and Chorti, the name of the Maya people, means "river of stars", the name of the Turkey bird may have come originally from the contact of the first European explorers with the tribal populations of Mexico prior to the colonial era, i.e. rather than "bird of India", which the explorers thought they had discovered, it was actually a "bird of the Maya", whence also names of the Turkey that reference Peru.

No comments:

Most Popular Posts of All Time

LexiLine Journal Archive

Our Websites and Blogs

3D Printing and More 99 is not 100 Aabecis AK Photo Blog Ancient Egypt Weblog Ancient Signs (the book) Ancient World Blog AndisKaulins.com Anthropomorphic Design Archaeology Travel Photos (blog) Archaeology Travel Photos (Flickr) Archaeo Pundit Arts Pundit Astrology and Birth Baltic Coachman Bible Pundit Biotechnology Pundit Book Pundit Chronology of the Ancient World Computer Pundit DVD Pundit Easter Island Script Echolat edu.edu Einstein’s Voice Energy Environment and Climate Blog Etruscan Bronze Liver of Piacenza EU Laws EU Legal EU Pundit FaceBook Pundit Gadget Pundit Garden Pundit Golf Pundit Google Pundit Gourmet Pundit Hand Proof HousePundit Human Migrations Idea Pundit Illyrian Language Indus Valley Script Infinity One : The Secret of the First Disk (the game) Jostandis Journal Pundit Kaulins Genealogy Blog Kaulinsium Kiel & Kieler Latvian Blog LawPundit.com Law Pundit Blog LexiLine.com LexiLine Group Lexiline Journal Library Pundit Lingwhizt LinkedIn Literary Pundit Magnifichess Make it Music Maps and Cartography Megalithic World Megaliths Blog Megaliths.net Minoan Culture Mutatis Mutandis Nanotech Pundit Nostratic Languages Official Pundit Phaistos Disc Pharaonic Hieroglyphs Photo Blog of the World Pinterest Prehistoric Art Pundit Private Wealth Blog PunditMania Quanticalian Quick to Travel Quill Pundit Road Pundit Shelfari Sky Earth Drones Sky Earth Native America SlideShare (akaulins) Sport Pundit Star Pundit Stars Stones and Scholars (blog) Stars Stones and Scholars (book) Stonehenge Pundit The Enchanted Glass Twitter Pundit UbiquitousPundit Vision of Change VoicePundit WatchPundit Wearable Technology Wizard WeTechWi Wine Pundit Word Pundit xistmz YahooPundit zistmz