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Arawak words (It was Re: chicken in America: from Asia?)
Warning: The following post does not try to prove or disprove anything
regarding chickens. It is just a piece of trivia related to maize, which
chickens eat. It may include some material offensive for some people that
feel they are being slighted and "mobbed" in the chicken thread. (They are
not mentioned by name here.)
L Baker <email@example.com> wrote:
>This is misleading. Maize is an based upon an Arawak word. The Spaniards
>first encountered maize among them (specifically the Taino), and utilized
>the Taino name. In areas where the Spanish ruled, maize replaced local
>names as the term to be used. In areas where the Brits ruled, corn was
>The distribution of the term maize is a result of the Spaniards. It
>became a Spanish word, every bit as much as corn is an English word.
>Among the Maya, they use maize when they are talking in Spanish, but use
>one of a number of Maya words when they are talking in Maya.
Totally agreed. In Kechwa, maize is sara.
Several arawak words are very much alive in European languages today. In
Spanish, maíz is but one, but ají (chili pepper, almost anywhere but Mexico
and CA) and chicha (maize brew, which many people think Kechwa), and hamaca
(hammock) are all arawak. That is not surprising at all, because they were
novelties for the Sapniards, and they took those names and incorporated them
into their language.
Some of those words made it into English, being "jerky" the better known
(coming straight from Kechwa ch'arki).
"Chicha" is an interesting case. The maize brew is today more common in Peru
and Bolivia, but it can be found also among Arawak peoples (and with that
name, if I am not wrong) like the Goajiro or Guajiro of the Colombia-Venezuela
area. Most non-Kechwa speaking people in the Andean region (including myself
until several years ago) would today bet a roasted old chicken bone (highly
prized by archaeologists, for they are very difficult to come by, so much so
that none is known so far) that such a word is Kechwa.
The old Kechwa words are used in the Andes for most of these things. "Chicha"
is aqha (sp?), "ají" is uchu, etc.
P.S. Shall we stop beating a dead chicken?