Adventures in Etymology – Puffin

Today we’re exploring the origins of the word puffin.

Puffins

A puffin [ˈpʌfɪn] is:

  • Any of the various small seabirds of the genera Fratercula and Lunda that are black and white with a brightly-coloured beak, such as the Atlantic or common puffin (Fratercula arctica).

It comes from the Middle English poffon / poffin / puffon (puffin and other sea-birds of the family Alcidae), perhaps from puf(f), from the Old English pyf (a blast of wind) – of imitative origin. Or it possibly comes from Anglo-Norman or Cornish [source].

The word puffin first appeared in English in the 14th century, and originally referred to the cured meat of young Manx shearwaters (Puffinus puffinus), which were originally known as the Manks puffin. Atlantic puffins acquired the name puffin in the 19th century, possibly due to similar nesting habits [source].

In French the word puffin [py.fɛ̃] refers to the shearwater, and was borrowed from English [source]. A puffin is a perroquet de mer (“sea parrot”) or macareux in French – not to be confused with maquereau (mackerel) [source].

The Latin name from the puffin Fratercula, comes from Medieval Latin and means “friar” or “little brother”, from the Latin frater (brother, friend, lover, sibling) and is a reference to their black and white plumage, which looks like a monk’s robes [source].

Puffins are also known as popes or sea-parrots, young puffins are known as pufflings, puffins live in puffinries, and a group of puffins is a circus or colony (on land), a wheel (when flying) or a raft (on water).

In Iceland, where puffins are common, shops that sell souvenirs, many of which are puffin-themed, are known as “puffin shops”, or lundabúðir in Icelandic [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

Here’s a lovely little song about puffins written by Malinda Kathleen Reese in collaboration with her followers:

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Omniglot News (26/06/22)

Here’s the latest news from the world of Omniglot.

This week there are new language pages about:

  • Mamaindê (Mamainsahai’gidu), a Nambikwaran language spoken in Mato Grosso State in western Brazil.
  • Bolyu (Pɔ₃₃lju₁₃), a Pankanic language spoken in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China.

New constructed script
Jigul, a phonetic script that can be used to write any language, which was inspired by the Korean Hangeul alphabet.

Sample text in the Jigul alphabet

New adapated scripts
Inglisuraya (ܐ̤ܢ̇ܓܠܝ̣ܣܘ̣ܪܝܝܐ), a way to write English with the Syriac script devised by Allison Powell.

ܐ݅ܠ ܗܝܘ̣ܡܥ݄ܢ ܒܝ̣ܝ̤ܢ̇ܙ̈ ܐܪ ܒܐ݅ܪܢܢ ܦ݆ܪܝ̣ ܐ݆ܢܕ ܝ̣ܟܘܥ݄ܠ ܐ̤ܢܢ ܕܝ̤ܓܢܝ̤ܛܝ̣ ܐ݆ܢܕ ܪܥ̤ܛܣ̈܀ ܯܥ݆ ܐܪ ܐ̤ܢܕܐ݆ܘ݆ܕ ܘܝ̤ܯ ܪܝ̣ܙܥ݄ܢܐ݆ܢܕ ܟܐܢܫܥ݄ܢܣ ܐ݆ܢܕ ܫܘ݆ܕ ܐ݆ܟܛ ܛܥ݄ܘܐ݅ܪܕܙ ܘܥ݄ܢ ܐ݄ܢܥ݄ܯܥ݄ܪ ܐ̤ܢܢ ܐ݄ ܣܦܝ̤ܪܝ̤ܛ ܐ݄ܘ݅ ܒܪܥ݄ܯܥ݄ܪܗܘ݆ܕ܀

Arabo-Chinese, a way to write Chinese with the Arabic script created by Uriel Serna.

رٰن رٰن شٙڭ اٰر دزٖ تٰو، دزٖاي دزوٙن يٰان هٰه تسيوٰان ليٖ شٖاڭ يٰ ليوٖ پيٰڭ دٚڭ. تٙا مْن فوٖ يٚو ليٚ سيٖڭ هٰه ليٰاڭ سيٙن، بيٖڭ يٙڭ يٚ سيوٙڭ ديْ گوٙان سيٖ دْ دزيٙڭ شٰن هوٖ سيٙاڭ دوٖي دٖاي

There’s a new numbers page, a phrases page, and a translation of the Tower of Babel story in Sierra Leone Creole (Krio), an English-based creole spoken in Sierra Leone.

There are also new numbers pages in:

  • Ho-Chunk / Winnebago (Hoocąk), a Siouan language spoken in Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa in the USA.
  • Osage (𐓏𐒰𐓓𐒰𐓓𐒷 / Wažáže), a Siouan language spoken in Oklahoma in the USA.

There’s an Omniglot blog post called Mountain Wind, which is about the Japanese word 嵐 (arashi), which means storm, and is made up of the characters for mountain and wind; and another entitled Antidry, which is about the French word antisèche (lit. “antidry”, actually a cheat sheet), and the usual Language Quiz. See if you can guess what language this is:

Here’s a clue: speakers of this language live far from where their ancestors originated.

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Yonaguni (ドゥナンムヌイ / Dunan Munui), a Southern Ryukyuan language spoken on Yonaguni island in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.

There’s a new Celtiadur post are about words for Crooked and related things in Celtic languages.

In the Adventure in Etymology we find out what links the word secret with words like crime, crisis, critic and hypocrisy.

I made improvements to the Osage language page, and made a separate page for the Osage script.

In other news, my current streak on Duolingo reached 1,800 days today, and I’m currently learning Danish, Dutch, Japanese, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish and Swedish there – just a few languages.

I'm on a 1800 day language learning streak on Duolingo

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology – Secret

Today we’re exploring the origins of the word secret.

Secret

A secret [ˈsiːkɹɪt / ˈsiːkɹət] is:

  • A piece of knowledge that is hidden and intended to be kept hidden.
  • The key or principle by which something is made clear; the knack.
  • Something not understood or known.

It comes from the Middle English secrette (secret), from the Old French secret (secret), from the Latin sēcrētus (put apart, separated, severed), from sēcernō (to separate, set aside), from sē- (aside, by itself) and cernō (to see, discern), from the PIE *krey (to sift, separate, divide) [source].

English words from the same PIE root include: certain, concern, crime, crisis, critic, discreet and hypocrisy [source].

Words in other languages from the same PIE root include: crynu [ˈkrənɨ/ˈkrəni] (to tremble, shiver, shudder) in Welsh, κρίνω [ˈkɾi.no] (to judge, assess, decide) in Greek, cernere [ˈt͡ʃɛr.ne.re] to separate, distinguish, choose) in Italian, and kraj [kraj] (country, land, border) in Polish [source].

In Old English a secret was a dēagol [ˈdæ͜ɑː.ɣol], which also meant hidden, obscure or (poetically) dark, which became diȝel in Middle English. It comes from the Proto-West Germanic *daugul (hidden, secret) [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Omniglot News (19/12/22)

Here’s the latest news from the world of Omniglot.

This week there are new language pages about:

  • Santiagueño Quechua (Arhintina runasimi), a Southern Quechua language spoken in northern Argentina.
  • Gawar, a Chadic language spoken in the Far North Region of Cameroon.
  • Wambule (वाम्बुले‎), a Kiranti language spoken in parts of eastern of Nepal.
  • Sabanê, a Nambikwaran language spoken in the state of Rondônia in western Brazil.

With these languages, the total number of language profiles on Omniglot is now 1,700!

There are a new numbers pages in:

  • Ho-Chunk / Winnebago (Hoocąk), a Siouan language spoken in Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa in the USA.
  • Potawatomi (Neshnabémwen), an Algonqian language spoken in Ontario in Canada, and in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Kansas in the USA.
  • Shawnee (Sawanwa), a Central Algonquian language spoken in Oklahoma in the USA.
  • Naskapi (ᓇᔅᑲᐱ‎), an Algonquian language spoken in the provinces of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada.

There’s an Omniglot blog post called Turning Oxen, which is about the writing direction known as boustrophedon, or literally “like the ox turns”, and the usual Language Quiz. See if you can guess what language this is:

Here’s a clue: this language belongs to a small language family that is spoken in a group of islands off the Asian mainland.

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Loma (Löömàgòòi), a Southwestern Mande language spoken in northern Liberia.

There are new Celtiadur posts are about words for Second and Other, and words for Lead (metal) and related things in Celtic languages.

In the Adventure in Etymology we find out how the word butter is connected to such words as buffalo, truffle and tyromancy.

I also made improvements to the Naskapi, Latvian and Ho-Chunk language pages, and created a separate page for the Hočąk Syllabary.

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Aventure in Etymology – Butter

Today we’re looking into the origins of the word butter.

Butter

Butter [ˈbʌtə / ˈbʌɾɚ] is:

  • A soft, fatty foodstuff made by churning the cream of milk (generally cow’s milk)
  • Any of various foodstuffs made from other foods or oils, similar in consistency to, eaten like or intended as a substitute for butter, such as peanut butter

It comes from the Middle English buter [ˈbutər] (butter), or from the Old English butere [ˈbu.te.re] (butter), from the Proto-West-Germanic *buterā (butter), from the Latin būtȳrum [buːˈtyː.rum] (butter, butter-like chemicals), from the Ancient Greek βούτῡρον [bǔː.tyː.ron] (butter), from βοῦς [bûːs] (cow, ox, cattle, shield) and τυρός [tyː.rós] (cheese), so in Ancient Greek, butter was literally “cow cheese” [source].

The Ancient Greek word βοῦς [bûːs] (cow, ox) comes from the Proto-Hellenic *gʷous (cow, cattle), from the Proto-Indo-European *gʷṓws (cattle). English words from the same roots include beef, bovine, bucolic, buffalo, cow, boustrophedon (writing in lines alternating from left to right and right to left, or lit. “as the ox turns”) [source].

The word boustrophedon is discussed in this Omniglot blog post.

The Ancient Greek word τυρός [tyː.rós] (cheese) comes from the Proto-Hellenic *tūrós (cheese), from the Proto-Indo-European *tewh₂- (to swell). English words from the same roots include thumb, truffle, tuber, tumor and tyromancy (divination by studying the coagulation of cheese) [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Omniglot News (12/06/22)

This week there are new language pages about:

  • Gawar Bati (گواربتی بݰہ), a Dardic language spoken in northeastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan.
  • Huaylla Wanca Quechua (Wanka Nunashimi), a Central Quechua language spoken in central Peru.
  • Sakaizaya, an East Formosan language spoken in northeastern Taiwan.

There’s a new constructed script called Arwo Wanco, which is based on arrow shapes and was created by Nikolaj Østermark Hansen to write a fictional language called Wessaic that he also created.

Arwo Wanco

There’s a new adapated script called Armerican (Ա·րմէրի՛կե՛ն), which is a way to write indigenous American languages such as Choctaw, Halkomelem and Inuktitut with the Armenian alphabet devised by Marc Harder.

Sample text in Inuktitut in Armerican
Ինւլւկտա՜տ ինւ՜լիսա՜ն՜·ւղպւտ նան·մինի՜րւն·նասիմաղաղռւտիկ այ՜իգի՜ն·միգլւ իլիտարիյաւյ՜ւտսիաղաղռւտիգլւ պիյւն·նաւտիտաւղաղռւտիկ․ Իսւմակսաղսիւրւն·նատսիարնիրմիկ ինւ՜տսիարւտիգիյարլւ պիլիղտւն·աւտ՜ւտ, ասիան՜·ւրնւլ՜ւ իլիւրնիրվիղատիգի՜տ՜արւկսարիաղարալւաղպւտ ղատան՜·ւտիգի՜ղ՜ատիգի՜տ՜ւտ անիրնիղսա՜րնի․

There are a new numbers pages in: Egyptian Arabic (مصرى), and Ayacucho Quechua (Chanka runasimi), a Southern Quechua language spoken in southern Peru.

There’s an Omniglot blog post called Short On, which is about some differences between British and American English, and related words in Japanese, and the usual Language Quiz. See if you can guess what language this is:

Here’s a clue: some uncommon letters and lots of accents are used when writing this language.

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Skolt Sámi (sääʹmǩiõll), an Eastern Sámi language spoken mainly in northern Finland, and in northwestern Russia.

There’s a new Celtiadur post are about words for Copper and related things in Celtic languages.

In the Adventure in Etymology we’re looking into the origins of the word roof.

I made some improvements to the Kutchi language page as well.

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology – Roof

Today we’re exploring the origins of the word roof.

Castell Penrhyn Castle

A roof [ɹuːf / ɹʊf] is:

  • the cover of a building
  • material used for a roof
  • the highest point
  • an upper limit
  • the vaulted upper boundary of the mouth

It comes from the Middle English rof [roːf] (roof, house, top of the mouth), or from the Old English hrōf [xroːf] (roof, the sky or heavens), from the Proto-Germanic *hrōfą (roof), from the Proto-Indo-European *krāpo- (roof), from *krāwə- (to cover, heap) [source].

Words from the same roots include: roef [ruf] (a cabin on a boat) in Dutch, ruf (deckhouse, doghouse) in Danish, rouf [ʁuf] (deckhouse) in French, strop (ceiling) in Croatian, Czech, Polish, Serbian and Slovenian, and the old Russian word строп [strop] (roof, attic, loft) [source].

Incidentally, the Dutch word roef is only used to refer to a cabin on a river boat. A cabin on a big ship is a kajuit the origins of which are uncertain. It possibly comes from the Old French cabane (cabin, hut, shack, shed) and hutte (hut) [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Omniglot News (05/06/22)

Here’s the latest news from the world of Omniglot.

This week there are new language pages about:

  • Dhatki (धाटकी / ڍاٽڪي), a Western Rajasthani language spoken in southern Pakistan and northeasten India.
  • Penobscot (pαnawαhpskewi), an Eastern Abenaki language spoken Penobscot County in Maine in the USA.
  • Moose Cree (ᐃᓕᓖᒧᐧᐃᓐ / ililîmowin), a central Algonquian language spoken Moose Factory Island in Ontario, Canada.

There are a new numbers pages in: Penobscot and Moose Cree, and in Kutchi (કચ્છી), an Indo-Aryan language spoken in Gujarat in India and Sindh in Pakistan.

There’s a new constructed script called Pangeul, which is an alternative way to write Esperanto and French devised by Paoli Mbongo and inspired by the Korean Hangeul alphabet.

Sample text in the Pangeul alphabet in Esperanto

There’s an Omniglot blog posts called Pepper and Salt, which is about words that always or usually go together in a particular order, also known to linguists as binomials. Such as salt and pepper in English, which is usually peper en zout (pepper and salt) in Dutch. There’s also a post about words for Moose in Cree languages, and the usual Language Quiz. See if you can guess what language this is:

Here’s a clue: this language is spoken in the far north.

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Khorchin Mongolian (ᠬᠣᠷᠴᠢᠨ), a variety of Mongolian spoken in the Hinggan League in the east of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the north of China.

There are new Celtiadur posts are about words for Tin and Metal and related things in Celtic languages.

In the Adventure in Etymology we’re looking into the origins of the word circus.

Here’s a little song called Ffaldiral that I wrote yesterday in Welsh and English. It’s based on the Welsh word canu, which means to sing, and can mean various other things.

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology – Circus

Today we’re looking into the origins of the word circus.

la magie du cirque ; de la musique, de la lumière , des numéros sensationnels , de l'émotion

A circus [ˈsɜːkəs/ˈsɝkəs] is:

  • A traveling company of performers that may include acrobats, clowns, trained animals, and other novelty acts, that gives shows usually in a circular tent.
  • A round open space in a town or city where multiple streets meet.
  • A spectacle; a noisy fuss; a chaotic and/or crowded place.

It comes from the Latin circus [ˈkɪrkʊs̠] (orbit, circle, ring, racecourse, space where games are held), or from the Ancient Greek κίρκος [ˈkir.kos] (hawk, falcon, wolf, circle, ring, racecourse), from the Proto-Indo-European *(s)ker- (to turn, bend) [source].

Some English words from the same PIE root include: corona, crisp, crest, cross, crown, curb, curtain, curve, ring and rink, [source].

In Old English the word for circus was hringsetl [ˈr̥iŋɡˌsetl], from hring (ring) and setl (residence, seat, bench, throne). This was replaced by circus in about the 14th century [source].

At first circus referred to ancient Roman ampitheatres or buildings used for chariot races. By the early 18th century it meant buildings arranged in a ring or a circular road, as in Piccadilly Circus, and by the late 18th century it refered to an arena for performances of acrobatics, horsemanship etc,and later extented to refer to the performers and their performance [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Omniglot News (29/05/22)

Here’s the latest news from the world of Omniglot.

This week we have new language pages about:

  • Swampy Cree (ᓀᐦᐃᓇᐍᐏᐣ / nêhinawêwin), a Central Algonquian language spoken Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario in Canada.
  • Bilua, a language isolate spoken on Vella Lavella Island in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands.
  • Cajamarca Quechua (Kashamarka qichwa), a Quechua language spoken in the province of Cajamarca in northwestern Peru.
  • Totontepec Mixe (Ayöök), a Mixe-Zoque language spoken in the State of Oaxaca in southern Mexico.
  • Plains Cree (ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ / nēhiyawēwin), a Central Algonquian language spoken mainly in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in Canada, and in Montana in the USA.
  • Tlahuitoltepec Mixe (Ayuujk), a Mixe-Zoque language spoken in the State of Oaxaca in southern Mexico.

I changed the focus of the Cree page to be about Cree Syllabics, and have started making separate pages for different varieties of Cree, so far we have Plains Cree and Swampy Cree (as mentioned above), and more are on the way.

There are a new numbers pages in: Swampy Cree, Plains Cree and Bilua.

There’s an Omniglot blog post about Podiums, which looks at the origins of the Dutch word podium (stage, podium, platform), and related words in other languages, such as pew in English, and there’s the usual Language Quiz. See if you can guess what language this is:

Here’s a clue: this language has a vertically-inclined alphabet.

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Kadugli (Katcha dialect), a Central Kadu language spoken in the Kordofan Region of Sudan.

There are new Celtiadur posts are about words for Iron and Steel and related things in Celtic languages.

In this week’s Adventure in Etymology we’re talking about Tat (cheap, tasteless, useless goods; trinkets), and tatties and spuds (potatoes).

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

The Fastest Way to Learn Korean with KoreanClass101