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Re: Maize origins [was re: "Corn" in medieval Europe]

DDFr@Best.com (David Friedman) writes:

>In article <hmccullo.39.33032A3F@ecolan.sbs.ohio-state.edu>,
>hmccullo@ecolan.sbs.ohio-state.edu (Hu McCulloch) wrote:

>>The English colonists 
>> in N. Am. originally called maize "Indian corn", since they got this "corn"
>> from the American Indians,

>That seems plausible, but according to Finan, John J., _Maize in the Great
>Herbals_, it is wrong. His claim is that Maize was misidentified with an
>"Indian Corn" described by Pliny.

Very interesting!  I've ordered Finan from cold storage, but haven't seen it 

Vincent Deluca had written,
>> >        What the heck does Turkish Corn mean? My wife, who is Italian, 
refers>> >to Corn as Granturco" and rarely uses the work Maize when she is
>> >speaking Italian.

>An explanation I have seen is that in the 16th century, a number of new
>things were coming in from both the Islamic world via Turkey and the New
>World, and people sometimes confused the origin. This is one of several
>possible explanation for why "Turkeys" are called that. Also, there is
>apparently a refernce in a Hungarian source c. 1600 to growing "turkey
>peppers" in the garden--presumably capsicum from the new world.

This doesn't work.  Maybe Columbus thought he was in India, but by 
1620 the Puritans sure didn't think they were in Turkey or that the 
American Indians were Turks.   

>A variant explanation of "turkeys" is that the merchants who traded
>between the Middle East and England were called "Turkey Merchants," and
>they picked up turkeys in Spain and imported them to England. A third
>explanation is that the turkey got confused with an old-world bird called
>a "turkey fowl."

This makes more sense.  According to Klein's _Etymological Dictionary of
the English Language_, turkey is the name "originally applied to the guinea 
fowl,imported from Africa through traders who dealt chiefly with the Near East 
(and for this reasons were called 'Turkey-merchants'); hence the birds sold by
these merchants came to be known as turkeys."  So the Guinea-fowl was the 
turkey-fowl, and the English colonists recognized that the American turkey
was similar (they're both related to pheasants), and called it the 
turkey-fowl as well.

It is interesting that in French, according to the Larousse Etymologique, 
dinde f, dindon m (turkey) originally was applied to the guinea-fowl (pintade),
and derives from coq/poule de l'Inde.  Later this was extended to the 
American turkey.

But the puzzle remains why maize in Italian and other European languages
is "Turkish Grain".  As Julia Smith notes, this may be parallel to the Guinea-
fowl nomenclature. 

>David Friedman (is this thread all economists?)

Just you, me and Domingo.  Yuri and the others are normal!

-- Hu McCulloch
   Econ Dept.
   Ohio State U.

Dido dina, dit-on,
du dos d'un dindon dodu.

-- anon.