Subject:      Re: Maize origins [was re: "Corn" in medieval Europe]
From:         yuku@mail.trends.ca (Yuri Kuchinsky)
Date:         1997/02/17
Message-ID:   <5e9rc7$9ge$1@trends.ca>
Newsgroups:   soc.history.medieval,sci.archaeology,alt.archaeology,sci.bio.misc
,sci.anthropology,soc.culture.indian

Hu McCulloch ([22]mcculloch.2@osu.edu) wrote:
: [23]DDFr@Best.com (David Friedman) writes:

: >A variant explanation of "turkeys" is that the merchants who traded
: >between the Middle East and England were called "Turkey Merchants," and
: >they picked up turkeys in Spain and imported them to England. A third
: >explanation is that the turkey got confused with an old-world bird called
: >a "turkey fowl."

: This makes more sense.  According to Klein's _Etymological Dictionary of
: the English Language_, turkey is the name "originally applied to the
guinea : fowl,imported from Africa through traders who dealt chiefly with
the Near East : (and for this reasons were called 'Turkey-merchants');
hence the birds sold by : these merchants came to be known as turkeys."
So the Guinea-fowl was the : turkey-fowl, and the English colonists
recognized that the American turkey : was similar (they're both related to
pheasants), and called it the : turkey-fowl as well.

Yes, this is reasonable. It should be noted that while in most European
languages maize was known as "Turkish corn", turkey the bird is known
mostly as "Indian bird" (including in French, as Hu says below, and also
in Russian and other East European languages). So the two name sequences,
for maize and for the bird, don't really provide good parallels. The
explanations why maize is linked with Turkey, but the bird with India must
be different. I think the connection with "guinea-fowl" provides a good
reason why the bird is linked with Turkey in English. Why the bird is
linked with India in other European languages can be straightforward: it
came from "West Indies".

But why maize is linked with Turkey in so many languages, and especially
in Spanish, remains to be explained...

Also, Jeffreys, who is certain that maize was in Turkey before Columbus,
bases his claims in part on the fact that there's a great variety of names
for maize in Turkey, and in the Middle East in general -- this usually is
a sign of antiquity.

Let's not lose track of the fact that none of the early European herbals
suggest American origin for maize... This is important.

: It is interesting that in French, according to the Larousse
Etymologique, : dinde f, dindon m (turkey) originally was applied to the
guinea-fowl (pintade), : and derives from coq/poule de l'Inde.  Later this
was extended to the : American turkey.

: But the puzzle remains why maize in Italian and other European languages
: is "Turkish Grain".

Yes.

Yuri.

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