re: whats in a name

To: Lawrie Conole <>
Subject: re: whats in a name
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2007 12:28:01 +1100
On Fri, Nov 30, 2007 at 10:45:33AM +1100, Lawrie Conole wrote:
> And Portuguese  (/portugu?s do brasil/) is the beautiful language /via/
> which many native American 
> names travelled out of South America to the rest of the world. 
> The truth of this is conveyed by the "proper" spelling of Jacana,
> where the c is actually a ? (cedilha) 
> and the final a is nasal - Ja?an?, meaning the pronunciation is more like
> 'jasane' than the way we say 
> it with a hard c and a drawled second a - Ockerised as jakaarna.

The words "jacana" and "jabiru" look to have been conveyed to Europe by
Georg Markgraf.  Linneaus described both species from Markgraf's 1648
"Historia Naturalis Brasiliae".  You can view it online at:
see pages 190, 200, 201.

Markgraf was a German employed on a Dutch expedition to an area of NE
Brazil then under Dutch control.  Markgraf might have been given the
names by Portugese speakers - the area was formerly under Portugese
control - but as a naturalist he presumably spent a great deal of time
with indigenous people so isn't the simplest explanation  that he
heard the names directly?  

Its trivial I know but I'd be interested in alternate explanations.


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