Monday, February 6, 2012

More on: Did We Name Thing the Right Way?

      I had a part that I forgot to put in on my previous post on naming living things. Since I remembered it I thought I would add it in a separate post.

      The names aboriginals gave living things varied a great deal. Names changed with different tribes . And then there were many different native languages. Names were variable since they had an oral culture and history rather than things written down. These differences would have certainly caused some problems. I'm sure that some solution could have been arrived at to overcome the variety of names.

      In some cases we have several  common names  given to living things. Again the reasons for different names are similar to the reasons in the above paragraph. For example, in Western Canada we have Amelanchier alnifolia which we call Saskatoons. Americans call Saskatoons June berries as well  a few other names.. Americans wonder what we're talking about and Canadians wonder what their talking about. The Cree name for Saskatoon was Misaskutum.

     Now my friend Bobby, who is a treasure of humor and wit, asked me for the aboriginal name for dandelions. I don't think Bobby likes dandelions. It might have something to do with his lawn. I should tell him about dandelion wine!  I  wasn't going to let him down with this information so I tried to look it up. I found more than I bargained  for. Dandelions are native to North America and Europe. I couldn't find any aboriginal name but I found a long history of dandelion names from many languages. In English dandelion comes from the French who called it dent-de-lion which became dandelion. Dent de lion means tooth of the lion. The French also called it pis-en-lit which means "piss in the bed."  the English didn't use that name.

     So you see  living thing names can take us many places. If you're looking at dandelion names you may get off the search at Portugal and travel through Portugal for a while before you get back to names.

    I had more fun with this post than I expected because it took me on a bit of a trip.