Nash's world

Why a turkey is called a turkey or why you should not houldn’t just call birds by the name of whatever-the-fuck-country you thought they got shipped from

by on Nov.28, 2011, under Musings

I was reading up on the etymology of turkey on reddit and found out that

  • Americans and other English speakers call turkey “turkey” because they thought it came from Turkey. There’s a chance they actually didn’t know where Turkey was, it just had this “far east” exotic appeal…
  • Turks don’t have any Turkey, obviously, but they have the guinea fowl (“angolan chicken in portuguese”) which I godamn hope it comes from Guine because I don’t want to start this all over again.
  • The turks call turkey “hindi” because they thought it came from India (so did the french – “Dinde”, hebrews and russians “indük” or “индейка”). And because everyone had no idea where India actually was, since they still believed it to be the same place as america.
  • The Swedes, Dutch and Norwegian call it, respectively, “kalkun”/”kalkon”/”kalkoen” because they were smartasses that thought they were better than their other european friends and it did not come from just India, it came specifically from Calcutta.
  • The greek called them Galopoula meaning French Bird, partly because they mistook it for the domesticated Guineafowl in southern france, but mostly I guess because they were really trolling the language at this point to see what other bullshit they could get in there.
  • Arabs and Lebanese call it “deek roomi” which means “Roman rooster” (in some laguages roman usually means all europe) or “habash” which also means Ethiopian.
  • We really need to know what ethiopians call the turkey.
  • The Indians call it Piru because they believed it came from Peru (so do the Portuguese and Brazilians: “Peru” – but in brazil its also a slang for “cock”, and not the male chicken one).
  • The Peruvians call it Pavo because they mistake it with the Peacock and the Mexicans call it Guajolote because its spanish misnpronuncation of the Aztec word “Huehxolotl”
  • The Aztecs called it Huehxolotl because it meant “big ugly monster” and because it was their fucking bird, they knew exactly where it came from and they had the fucking right to call it whatever they felt like it.
  • Not a single country that calls it “Mexican chicken” or anything like that.

Turkeys are living proof that you shouldn’t just call birds by the name of whatever-the-fuck-country you thought they got shipped/flew/waddled in from.

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