Nash's world

Tag: English language

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. (continue reading…)
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