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Re: chicken in America: from Asia? (cont.)

GKeyes6988 (gkeyes6988@aol.com) wrote:

: I recently wrote a paper on the terms for  CORVUS sp. (Crows and Ravens)
: using a sample of 181 languages from every land mass where crows occur --
: which is everywhere but South America. 95% were onomatopoeic, usually
: being something like Atakapa KAK, Cherokee KHOKA,  Toda KAK, Thai KA,
: Amharic QURA, Dutch KRAI, etc.  The rest were Wa- sounds: Punan WAK,
: Hungarian VARJO, Mordvin VARAKA, Polish VRONA (KRUK for Raven, though)
: Nunnggubuyu WARAG -- and so on.  The few that weren't onomaotpeic were
: compound morphemes, usually meaning "Black Bird".

: This doesn't mean all of these people borrowed the term for "Crow" from a
: common source -- it means that they named the crow after its vocalization.
:  Some rather exhaustive studies by Brent Berlin and others have shown that
: birds, more than any other animal, tend to be named in this manner. 
: Chickens are far from the exceptions, as Miguel has pointed out.


I don't feel like getting into these linguistic arguments at this point. I
simply reproduced Carter's findings and it would take me a major effort to
try to verify them. The linguistic evidence for Old World connections is
not central to Carter's hypothesis, in any case. (The fact that S.
American names are not based on Spanish is, though.)

In the case of wild animals, prehistoric peoples may have had names for
them tens of thousands years ago already. So the possibility of diffusion
of these names around the world could not be dismissed. 

: >      Among the curiosa of this collection of names is the discovery
: >      that among the Tarahumar the name for chickens is _totori_,
: >      which duplicates the Japanese name. (p. 207)

: .I guess that's an allusion to Japanese TORI "bird".  Again, onomatopoeia
: .seems much more likely, given the irresistible urge people have of
: .making "toc toc" or "poc poc" noises whenever chickens are mentioned.

: When I look up Chicken in my Japanese dictionary, I get NIWATORI. 
: Mandarin, just for the record, is JI.

_Tori_ is the main root for "bird" in Japanese. (I actually speak passable
Japanese, having spent a few years in that country.) In order to know if
_totori_ is right, you have to investigate the history of this word in the
Japanese language, and also in the various regional dialects.

I remind you that Carter published his findings in a peer-reviewed
publication, so I don't think it will be so easy for some armchair critics
(among which I include myself to a certain extent) to poke holes in them
so easily. 



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