re: whats in a name

To: Lawrie Conole <>
Subject: re: whats in a name
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2007 00:22:58 +1100
On Fri, Nov 30, 2007 at 07:41:18PM +1100, Lawrie Conole wrote:
> Well Portuguese /is/ a form of vulgar Latin ... but in any case
> his "jacana" is otherwise coincidentally identical in form to the
> Portuguese rendering of the Tupi-Guarani word /ja?an?, /except that
> the cedilha and nasal a were lost in unaccented Latin.  If he had
> tried rendering it phonetically into Latin, ja*c*ana wouldn't work (c
> in his time would have been pronounced like k - in modern Anglicised
> Latin it can be like s) - maybe jasana/yasana?  zasana? chasana?

This would be a convincing explanation if Markgraf saw "jacana"
written in Portuguese and copied it not knowing the  pronunciation.
But he would have likely heard Portuguese speakers and Tupi speakers say
"jacana".  And where would he have seen the word written in Portuguese?
The Jesuits did write in Portuguese & Tupi but Latin seems to be used
for scientific writing.

I did discover Markgraf's notebooks were apparently coded to protect
the contents.  After his death (at 33 in Angola) Johannes de Laet
decoded them allowing publication - which might have changed the text.
I also noticed Markgraf also brought the words "anhinga" and "caracara"
to Aurope.  Not sure about "ani" and "aracari".

Incidentally Google books turns up "jacana" & "jabiru" in a 1681 English
work by Nehemiah Grew (citing Markgraf).  Almost a century older than
the first-uses some English dictionaries give.

One day I must get to the library and see I can learn more.


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