REINDEER/CARIBOU.

I’ve started reading the introduction to Arctic Mirrors: Russia and the Small Peoples of the North, by Yuri Slezkine (i.e., Юрий Слёзкин; his grandfather of the same name, Yuri Slyozkin, was a well-known writer before his death in 1947, but seems to have been pretty much forgotten), a book that comes highly recommended by slawkenbergius, and I just ran across one of those things I probably knew at one point but have forgotten. At the top of p. 4, Slezkine writes: “In the tundra the only mammal capable of supporting large predatory populations is the reindeer (known in North America as the caribou), and it is around reindeer — as prey and property — that most of the traditional economic activity of the Arctic is centered.” I looked up the words in AHD, and sure enough, under “reindeer” it says “Subspecies native to North America and Greenland are usually called caribou” and under “caribou” “Subspecies native to Eurasia are usually called reindeer.” I had known that reindeer was from Old Norse hreinn ‘reindeer,’ but not that caribou was from “Micmac ĝalipu (influenced by Canadian French caribou, also < Micmac), < Proto-Algonquian *mekālixpowa: *mekāl-, to scrape + *-ixpo-, snow.”

Comments

  1. By “small people” who exactly does the title refer to, in this Russian context? I’m interested in all things Arctic these days.

  2. There’s a Canadian caribou not at all related to Europe’s reindeer. They used to congregate at Downsview Field.

  3. Was Downsview Field designed to look like a Fender Stratocaster or is it just one hell of a freaky coincidence?

  4. Beth, I’m sure LH can answer this, but… In Russia a “small-numbered people” (малочисленный народ) is defined as an indigenous group with fewer than 50,000 total population. They are accorded specific rights with this status, rights that are not shared with indigenous peoples with greater than 50K (Yakuts, Buryats, etc.)

  5. dearieme says:

    It was presumably on this very site that I learnt that the American elk is similar to the European Red Deer and the American moose to the European elk.

  6. So that should be Rudolf the red-nosed caribou?

  7. American elk is similar to the European Red Deer and the American moose to the European elk
    Actually, it’s worse than that according to Wikipedia. There are three species:
    Cervus elaphus: Red deer (Eurasia).
    Cervus canadensis: Elk or Wapiti (N. America), Wapiti (Asian species).
    Cervus alces: Moose (N. America), Elk (Eurasia).
    The reason is that Cervus elaphus and Cervus canadensis are now considered separate species, although they can interbreed, and in fact have freely interbred in New Zealand.

  8. The reason for what?

  9. The reason that we are talking of three species, not two.

  10. By “small people” who exactly does the title refer to, in this Russian context?
    pennifer has it; it’s basically the sparse populations of the taiga/tundra regions (traditionally nomadic hunters) as opposed to the more populous, settled populations.

  11. Specifically: “They are the Saami (Lapps), Khanty (Ostiak), Mansi (Vogul), Nenets (Samoed, Iurak), Enets (Enisei Samoed), Sel’kup (Ostiako-Samoed), Nganasan (Tavgi Samoed), Dolgan, Ket (Enisei Ostiak), Evenk (Tungus), Even (Lamut), Yukagir, Chuvan, Chukchi, Koriak, Itel’men (Kamchadal), Eskimo, Aleut, Nivkh (Giliak), Negidal, Nanai (Gol’d), Ul’ch (Mangun), Oroch, Orok, Udege (Tazy), and Tofalar (Karagas).”

  12. The Algonkian word means roughly ‘snowscraper’ because the caribou is (I believe) the only hoofed animal that can feed itself in winter.

  13. The Algonkian word means roughly ‘snowscraper’ because the caribou is (I believe) the only hoofed animal that can feed itself in winter.
    That is, in open country. In woods they eat hanging moss.

  14. marie-lucie says:

    iakon: the only hoofed animal that can feed itself in winter.
    What about the moose? the deer? the elk? Don’t they feed themselves? or do you mean that all those other animals eat leaves or moss but can’t get at the grass under the snow?

  15. all those other animals eat leaves or moss but can’t get at the grass under the snow?
    Indeed. Reindeer/caribou are the only cervids that regularly eat grass: the rest basically eat leaves, small branches, and small non-grass plants (collectively known as browse), which is why they are typically found at the forest’s edge rather than in the deep forest or open grassland like the tundra.

  16. Looks like I went out on a limb, m-l.
    Tundra caribou eat lichen. Woods caribou range is north of moose, etc. In fact I’m not sure of the winter feeding of the three you mention. I’ll google.

  17. Wikipedia does’t say what moose eat. Deer eat lichen, but only fresh new growth of anything. Elk eat bark in winter.
    I only read two books on caribou. Some time ago.
    I do remember that human expansion is threatening all of them.

  18. “human expansion is threatening all of them”: not deer, surely? I understand that their numbers are increasing all over the place, to the extent that they are routinely damaging woodland. Certainly in Britain they’ve become an utter pest. People now urge the introduction of wolves to prey on them. But I dare say they’d prey on sheep and toddlers as an easier livelihood.

  19. If the prospect of wolves eating toddlers didn’t put people off, I suppose I could play the Ace of Spades: they might eat cats.

  20. Was Downsview Field designed to look like a Fender Stratocaster or is it just one hell of a freaky coincidence?
    Stratocaster or stratocruiser? ;-) At a guess, the original airfield had more land on its periphery that was in more recent times gobbled up by the surrounding suburbs. My high school was two miles due south of Downsview Field; Canadian Air Force Caribous made regular training flights over it, much to the students’ delight and the teachers’ chagrin. The Air Force has long departed and today Bombardier uses the field only for infrequent test flights.
    ________________
    the only hoofed animal that can feed itself in winter.
    What about the moose? the deer? the elk?
    Or the muskox.

  21. Considering how the Russians behaved towards the native peoples in their exploration and fur grabbing during their opening up of Siberia, 16th and 17th cenuries, I’m surprised there are any small peoples left (though of course I knew there were). That because I’m currently reading “The Conquest of a Continent: Siberia and The Russians” by W. Bruce Lincoln on LH’s recommendation. Seems to have been worse than the European expansion into North America, however bad that was.

  22. What, Steve, not a single post related to the Olympics? What’s the matter?
    It would have been a good opportunity to talk of the insufferable chauvinists (these days they can be found even at the venerable BBC), a word apparently related to one Nicolas Chauvin who has never existed.
    _____
    Reindeer? TLFi says the Norwegian and Swedish name for the animal is ren — borrowed as renne by the Ferengis — and that rendyr is Danish.
    Incidentally, karibu is the welcoming word in Swahili. I suppose it is always good to greet someone with a caribou, even in the anti-arctic Kerguelens where no Bantu language should normally be spoken. (I vaguely remember a greeting formula more or less like “karibu ni te wa”, but my Swahili memories are very vague I’m afraid: that was more than 25 years ago…)

  23. Considering how the Russians behaved towards the native peoples in their exploration and fur grabbing during their opening up of Siberia, 16th and 17th cenuries, I’m surprised there are any small peoples left
    Well, the thing is that the Russians had no interest in exterminating them, since they needed them to supply the furs which were the reason for their expansion into Siberia. (This in contrast to the American colonists, who wanted to farm the land and needed nothing from the Indians after the first period of getting established.) So aside from casual brutality (and of course the diseases they unwittingly spread), the Russians theoretically left the native populations alone except for demanding ever-increasing tributes of fur. (Those were the instructions from St. Petersburg; of course, on the ground things depended on the temperament of the local commanders and Cossacks: “God is high and the tsar is far away.”) And when the fur-bearing animals were exterminated in one region, the Russians gave up and moved to another. (The Chukchis actually fought the Russians to a standstill and weren’t conquered until the 19th century.)
    Here’s an interesting bit from the Slezkine book (p. 41):

    Most important, however, the Cossacks’ own world was not as starkly divided into the Christian and non-Christian spheres as was William [of Rubruck]‘s. Rather, it consisted of an apparently limitless number of peoples, all of whom were assumed to have their own faiths and languages. This was not a temporary aberration to be overcome through conversion or revelation — this was a normal state of affairs whereby foreigners were expected to remain foreigners. Some local warriors and women could join the Cossacks, and some Cossacks could ask local spirits for protection, but no one on the frontier seemed to assume that gods were mutually exclusive and that the Russian one(s) would or should prevail any time soon.

  24. “some Cossacks could ask local spirits for protection, but no one on the frontier seemed to assume that gods were mutually exclusive and that the Russian one(s) would or should prevail any time”
    my sister drove two Japanese tourists to Khuvsgul about ten yrs ago, and they met a Russian geological expedition whose cars they followed for some time with other international cyclists, so they made a merry caravan there, two of the expedition got lost in taiga earlier and they were heading to a local shaman to ask for his say and for a guide in the forest to find them, so the shaman read some and the two emerged from the forest, their gps and compass stopped working for some reason they said and they were going in circles until they suddenly found the way themselves to come to the settling
    so this is a tale from my sister, and that’s the attitude Russians would normally show, respect for others’ culture is a good thing about them how we take it, and well, it’s the xxi’s century, sure, i know, but that makes it even more like striking, with all the modern technology available one would expect people to disregard all that superstition, all is just coincidences surely, no? especially if it’s a scientific or any other highly technical expedition
    makes the above excerpt very like traditionally exemplary and believable, imo

  25. well, i don’t know, maybe that is it some kind of cultural shift and uncertainty what is happening in our society, but there are a lot of such shamanistic or buddhist revival stories, usually hard to believe, if to give them any much credibility everybody perhaps would turn up being a chingisid or shaman :) or at least one’s relative, as we joke
    but you all can believe my sister as if she was me

  26. Paul Ogden: the Muskox is not found anywhere near Canada’s Atlantic provinces, so that from a Micmac point of view the Caribou is indeed the only large grass-eating animal.
    All: the fact that the initial contact/dealings between Russians and the Arctic/Siberian peoples were driven by the fur trade is very reminescent of the history of New France/Early Canada, where the fur trade was the core reason behind exploring/making contact with various North American peoples, especially of the Arctic/subarctic. The Cossacks’ pragmatic attitude to ethnicity and religion certainly sounds like the COUREURS DES BOIS’ attitude, too.
    Indeed, there exists a linguistic commonality too: in each instance contact between fur traders and natives yielded a mixed language: Michif in Canada, Mednyj Island Aleut in Russia.
    I suspect a comparative history of the two regions would prove very illuminating: does anyone here know whether such a comparative history has ever been written, or perhaps merely undertaken?

  27. marie-lucie says:

    It seems that the initial contacts between Russians and Aleuts were not very peaceful or humane, but things started to settle down after Russian missionaries arrived. The fur traders did not care what religion the Aleuts followed, but they treated them with contempt and cruelty, forcing the men to go far away after sea otters for their furs instead of hunting and and fishing to feed their families, while the missionaries were concerned not ony about the Aleuts’ souls but also about them as people to be treated with respect. Similar things happened also between the Russians and Tlingit on the Alaskan coast, although the Tlingit were much better equipped for resistance to the Russian traders than the Aleuts on their isolated islands.
    In Canada it seems that the fur trade was generally conducted on a more businesslike fashion than the Sussian one.
    Etienne: comparative history of Michif and Mednyj Aleut: I don’t know specifically, but you could ask Peter Bakker, who seems to be an authority on mixed languages.

  28. On further reflection this morning, I think the comparison was between domesticated reindeer and other domesticated herbivores. Cattle and horses require fodder, but reindeer cleared the snow.
    It may have been a passing remark in The Horse, the Wheel and Language, but the index isn’t comprehensive.

  29. John Emerson says:

    Mongol horses (ponies) are notable for their ability to dig through the snow to graze.
    I believe that they are very close to Norwegian fjord ponies and Shetland ponies.

  30. Thanks, JE. ‘Da plot tickens!’

  31. New France/Early Canada, where the fur trade was the core reason behind exploring/making contact with various North American peoples, especially of the Arctic/subarctic.
    Enter Radishes and Gooseberries, and then the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company. Note that the body of water is Hudson Bay.
    Many of the HBC and NWC fur traders were Scots, though their numbers were too small to account for the trace Scots accent often heard in Canadian speech.
    Moose Factory, the oldest English-speaking settlement in Ontario, remains without road access to this day. I’m likely the only Hattery habitué who’s been there deux fois.

  32. At the time the Company of Adventurers (a commercial term) was formed the geographical name had the ‘s, but at some point in its history the Canadian Permanent Committee on Geographical Names decided in its wisdom (influenced by cartographers) that the apostraphy might be taken for some geographical feature, so they eliminated it and the s. How there could have possibly been any confusion I have never been able to determine.

  33. apostrophy

  34. apostrophe

  35. Sorry. I’ve been having a lot of trouble posting comments. When I click post it just goes on and on until I click stop. Anybody know what gives?

  36. The WiPe article on Hudson Bay says
    Due to a change in naming conventions, Hudson’s Bay is now called Hudson Bay. As a result, the names of the body of water and the company are often mistaken for one another.
    I am tempted to edit the sentence to make it clearer, except that I have no idea what the writer was trying to communicate.

  37. (the second sentence)

  38. marie-lucie says:

    Ø : Hudson Bay and Hudson’s Bay
    The vast bay in Northeastern Canada used to be called Hudson’s Bay from the name of its “discoverer” Hudson. Over the centuries the British Company of Adventurers trading into Hudson’s Bay morphed into the Hudson’s Bey Company, a commercial empire still carrying on the fur trade as well as running more conventional department stores. As some point, as described by iakon the geographical feature was officially renamed Hudson Bay since other names for such features did not have a possessive marker, while the commercial company maintained its name: the Hudson’s Bay Company, popularly known as The Bay.
    I was not even aware of the name change for the actual bay, but you can see why many people in Canada would be confused about whether the change applied to both entities, and if not, which name still had the ‘s and which one did not.

  39. Yes, I already understood that, or most of that. But the statement
    As a result, the names of the body of water and the company are often mistaken for one another
    still has me reeling a little.
    If I wanted to really reel, I might assert that, while the company is named after Hudson Bay, the name of the company is named after “Hudson’s Bay”.

  40. marie-lucie says:

    Ø : you want to “reel” along with Lewis Carroll! In ordinary usage, a name names something outside of itself, it does not name another name, let alone name a name after yet another name. But perhaps philosophers disagree?

  41. Marie-Lucie: I meant a comparative study of the initial exploration/expansion of French-Canadians/Russians into Northern Canada/Siberia, and the rise in both instances of the fur trade.
    The greater humaneness of the Canadian fur trade should be kept in perspective: initially there were so few Europeans, in such an alien enviornment, that they simply had to develop good relations with the natives as a matter of survival.
    A comparative study of the linguistic aspects of this expansion (not just the birth of Mitchif and of Mednyj Aleut, but also the spread of French/Russian loanwords, the birth of new dialects of French/Russian…) would certainly make this even more interesting, from my vantage point anyway.
    Paul Ogden: ah yes, Moose Factory. They gave their name to a Cree dialect (Moose Cree), which for a long time I thought/guessed/assumed was spoken by a group of Moose hunters.

  42. In ordinary usage, a name names something outside of itself, it does not name another name, let alone name a name after yet another name. But perhaps philosophers disagree?
    They sure do disagree. The history of what is now generally referred to as “semiotics” is a stately procession of judicious wafflers, in which giants ride on the shoulders of dwarves supported by crutches.
    But there are great advantages to knowing that history. Otherwise, one might devote too much time to any one of the individual systems, unable to profit from what the other fashions have to offer. Luhmann wears best on me, but I am not above donning a Peircean singlet if it suits the occasion (“Semiosis is logically structured to perpetuate itself”, as the WiPe puts it).
    Concrete examples of wasted time in connection with “naming”: the stubborn efforts by German philosophers to maintain that there is a crucial distinction between Begriff (concept/idea/notion) and Idee (concept/idea/notion), or between Vernunft and Verstand as support systems for the former. Or, looking beyond the Germans, take “signifier”, “signified”, “in the mind”, “in reality” etc.
    The important thing, I believe, is to read this stuff without taking any of it seriously. Look, but don’t buy.

  43. dearieme says:

    I think my favourite name for a geographical feature might be Firth of Thames. It’s in NZ.

  44. dearieme says:

    Many of the early white nosers-around of NZ were sealers and whalers, and many of them were badhats. Which is taking us back towards the original post.

  45. The German word Rentier has the pleasing property that it can mean reindeer or pensioner (when pronounced differently). As a mnemonic, one can think of coupon-clipping caribou.

  46. SFReader says:

    —Itel’men (Kamchadal)
    This is no longer true. Since census of 2002, Russian authorities recognize Kamchadals as a separate nationality Itelmen.
    Basically, Kamchadals are a subgroup of ethnic Russians of mixed origin (mostly Itelmen, but also Koryak, Chukchi and other aboriginals). They speak Russian since 18th century.
    Itelmens are obviously closely related, but they still speak their native language and did not intermarry with Russians to such an extent.
    Ethnic identity among all three groups can be fluid (a Kamchadal could identify himself as a Russian, a Kamchadal or Itelmen and have a very good justification for any choice)

  47. dearieme says:

    But it was another post that involved hats, not this one. This was more antlerish.

  48. marie-lucie says:

    iakon: domesticated reindeer and other domesticated herbivores. Cattle and horses require fodder, but reindeer cleared the snow.
    According to something I have read, domesticated implies not only tamed but genetically modified by the conditions of human raising (which selectively culls herds). According to this definition, bovine cattle are domesticated, but reindeer/caribou are not, they are only tamed. So reindeer habituated to humans would still be able to survive without human input, but cattle and horses need to be fed by humans in the winter, although horses returned to the wild also manage to survive (though perhaps not in the high latitudes). In Canada the caribou survive by migrating in huge herds between northern and southern pastures.

  49. Not exactly five hundred words for snow, but Mongolian has цаа буга for reindeer and заарь for gelded reindeer.

  50. marie-lucie says:

    Bathrobe: English has distinct words for bovines: juvenile, intact male, gelded male, young female, mature female, and about the same for horses. I believe that the vocabulary of camel-raising in Arabic and other relevant languages is considerably more precise.
    And “500 words for snow” is super-grossly exaggerated (read Geoffrey Pullum’s The great Eskimo vocabulary hoax). I think that there are only four basic words, plus various combinations (for comparison English has at least snow and slush, plus a number of combinations such as powder snow, corn snow, etc).

  51. Charles Perry says:

    North American caribou are somewhat larger than Asiatic reindeer and apparently hard to domesticate. In 1892, I suppose to relieve the food shortage during the Yukon gold rush and to expand economic opportunities for the Inuit, U.S. authorities introduced Asiatic reindeer to Alaska, originally along with four Siberian Tungus to teach herding. (The Inuit were already accustomed to hunting caribou.)
    Here’s the thing that interests me. In 1893, the Siberians went home and were replaced by Norwegian Lapps. The Lapps were already fluent in Lappish, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish, so they quickly learned English and Eskimo, and in addition to teaching the Inuit they became major herders themselves, with an average herd of 2,685 by 1908. There are still Lapps in Alaska, and some of them still herd reindeer around Norton Sound and Kuskokwim, the historic reindeer area.

  52. John Emerson says:

    In NW Minnesota, NE North Dakota, and neighboring areas of Canada a mixed-race fur-trading people speaking a French-based creole developed during the 18th-19th c. They were semi-independent in Canada into the second half of the 19th c. and were about 5% of Minnesota’s population at statehood. They are still a recognized minority in Canada but not the US. Scattered French surnames in MN probably trace back to them.
    there were also Scottish Metis but the French Metis seem to have predominated.

  53. Trond Engen says:

    The Sami / Inupiaq / Yup’ik Reindeer in Alaska & Canada Story
    (Including important dates in contemporary Sami history)
    By Nathan Muus

    Interesting chronicle of Sami history in North America, including the start of the Alaska gold rush and the founding and naming of Nome (which I think we’ve discussed before without firm conclusions). I have only read through the 1920s, though.

  54. Wiki says that “almost 400,000 people self-identify as Métis in Canada . . . Geneticists estimate that 50 percent of today’s population in Western Canada have Aboriginal blood, and therefore would be classified as Métis by any genetic measure.”
    Louis Riel was a late 19th century Métis leader. “The provisional government established by Riel ultimately negotiated the terms under which the modern province of Manitoba entered the Canadian Confederation . . . Whether seen as a Father of Confederation or a traitor, he remains one of the most complex, controversial, and ultimately tragic figures in the history of Canada . . . On 18 February 2008, the province of Manitoba officially recognized the first Louis Riel Day as a general provincial holiday. It will now fall on the third Monday of February each year in the Province of Manitoba.”
    He died on the gallows, perhaps due in part to oratorical gifts that enraged many. The Wiki article about him is uncommonly long.

  55. Trond Engen says:

    A minor point from upthread: English reindeer with its diphtong is from Norwegian while the flat French renne and German Rentier are from Swedish.
    ON had (and Icelandic still has) hreinn, continuing a presumed IE kr-. Bjorvand & Lindeman says that it might be related to ‘horn’ and ultimately derived from IE *kr-oy-no-. Me, I have the idea that it could be the same word as hreinn “clean” < “filtered” < IE *kroy-ni- “separated”. It would originally have denoted an animal singled out and separated from the herd for sale and slaughter or picked from a wild herd for domestication.

  56. Trond Engen says:

    Half my final paragraph got eaten, but I think it’s because I forgot to hardcode a left angle bracket after “clean”, so I suppose it’s still somewhere in the system. Can it be hattically rescued?

  57. Well, the thing is that the Russians had no interest in exterminating them, since they needed them to supply the furs which were the reason for their expansion into Siberia. (This in contrast to the American colonists, who wanted to farm the land and needed nothing from the Indians after the first period of getting established.)
    Hat, the meandering vagaries of history turn in their sleep when hearing such summary pronouncements as proffered in this nod to noble savage groupthunk. We can only reasonably compare that which is comparable. The Russian experience in their far east and that of the American colonists are two historically distinct phenomena, n’en deplaise to those eager to wield the multi-culturally correct axe to the scalps of those extermination-minded dead white WESTERN Europeans. The garden-variety examples of contrast are the lowest hanging fruit in the historiographical tree of reductive simplicity. Back to the language…

  58. Perhaps you missed the fact that I was responding to this, from Paul:
    Considering how the Russians behaved towards the native peoples in their exploration and fur grabbing during their opening up of Siberia, 16th and 17th cenuries, I’m surprised there are any small peoples left [...] Seems to have been worse than the European expansion into North America, however bad that was.
    Should I have refused to reply because he was talking about two historically distinct phenomena? Frankly, the fact that you’re so eager to pull out the “noble savage groupthunk” card and insult everyone within reach makes me wonder whether you’re a troll or just full of shit. I can’t even figure out what point you’re making other than that different phenomena are different; if you take that as a guiding rule, it’s impossible to make any comparisons whatever. It all just is what it is, man. But congratulations for poisoning another thread.

  59. m-l, yes, I was aware of the Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax. Reading my comment it looks as though I was agreeing with it; in fact I was subtly (too subtly, I guess) distancing myself from it.
    Mongolian is similar to English in having many different names for livestock. The Mongolians themselves don’t appear to be reindeer herders, but there are people near Lake Hovsgol, known as the Tsaatan (cf the word for reindeer), who are. Of course there are many reindeer herding peoples across the border in Siberia.

  60. U.S. authorities introduced Asiatic reindeer to Alaska
    I presume they are still there. Has there been interbreeding between the reindeer and (wild) caribou?

  61. Co-incidentally (?) I have just come from starting a double biography of Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont. Of course I already know the story, having read Strange Empire may years ago.
    The story of the Metis Rebellion is another example of what Paul and Language refer to: the steamroller of ‘civilization’ (read cupidity) smashing the lives of little people.
    And as for you, Hozo, you can take your ‘groupthunk’ and shove it where it belongs.
    Sorry folks, but prejudice must be responded to with the violence it deserves.

  62. —The Mongolians themselves don’t appear to be reindeer herders, but there are people near Lake Hovsgol, known as the Tsaatan (cf the word for reindeer), who are.
    The Tsaatans have apparently lost their language (Turkic, related to Tuvin) and switched to Mongolian. So perhaps they now should be classified as a one more subgroup of Mongolians

  63. —English has distinct words for bovines: juvenile, intact male, gelded male, young female, mature female, and about the same for horses
    Mongolian has distinct words for every age/sex group of livestock and wild animals.
    Horses for example can be called unaga, sarvaa, daag, shudlen uree, hyazaalan, soyolon, khavchig soyolon, buduun mori (the latter four stand for horses 4, 5, 6 years old and older. The rest describe different ages of younger horses)
    Similar terms exist for camels, cattle, sheep, goats, antelopes, deer, moose, wolves, bears, lynx, tarbagan gerbil and of course, reindeer.
    The terms for Tsaa buga/reindeer are as follows:
    Eter, buhan tsaa, zari – male reindeer 4 years old and older,
    manjig – female reindeer 3 years old and older
    dongor – 2 year old male reindeer
    huudai 3 year old male or female reindeer
    dungui 2 year old female reindeer
    hugash – 1 year old baby reindeer

  64. What I found interesting in your response (yes, I did read the “small people” comment) was the a priori mindset that lept from indigenous people being treated badly to indigenous people being outright exterminated. The latter eventuality seemingly being characterized as a logical continuum of the accepted historical reading. To this reader, the word “exterminate” carries enough social, political and cultural baggage so as to be handled with considerably more circumspection. In my less than diplomatic way, I point out the intellectual danger of drawing such an unnuanced line of inference.
    Thanks again for your continued dedication to this outstanding blog.

  65. The bewildering range of names for wild animals is a source of constant amusement and fun for Mongolians (and they also are very useful for various wordgames).
    Do you know how a one year old baby lion is called in Mongolian? The correct answer is Guyug! (Lion itself is arslan)
    How about a baby elephant? It’s tumbaga! (Elephant is Zaan, probably a borrowing from Chinese 象Xiàng)
    Baby duck/nugas is tsurav, baby bear/baavgai is bambaruush, baby lynx/shiluus is noguul, baby tiger/bar is bambar, baby monkey/sarmagchin is monsh, baby fox/uneg is gavar and so on and on for every wild animal encountered in Mongolia (or elsewhere in Eurasia or even Africa)

  66. There are two native words in Mongolian for giraffe (more common anaash and now archaic orgoson gookhoi) and two words for ostrich (hyaruul and tokhi) even though both animals are not found in Mongolia or anywhere close (and giraffe lives in the wild only in Africa)
    There is even a native Mongolian word for cangaroo(imj) Did some ancient Mongolian mariner* discover Australia before captain Cook?
    * there is, I am told, an extremely detailed sailing ship terminology in Mongolian as recorded in 18th century Qing dictionaries. Who and why would need to know the name of, say, Fore topgallant mast in Mongolian, I have really no idea…

  67. I’ve read (in a commentary on Martial’s epigrams) that reindeer are the only species of deer that can be tamed so far as to submit to being yoked and pulling vehicles. (The Romans exhibited some ‘deer’ in the Colosseum pulling chariots and the commentator said that either they were reindeer or it was an amazing and unparalleled feat of animal-taming.)
    Since reading that, I have always assumed (without bothering to look it up) that ‘reindeer’ means deer that can be attached to reins. I take it that that’s wrong, and the resemblance is a coincidence?

  68. Thank you, SFReader, for bringing that all together. Not in my wildest imaginings could I see myself drawing together a comprehensive list of horse vocabulary, let along reindeer, camels, etc.

  69. marie-lucie says:

    SF Reader: even if your post is slow to appear when you hit “post”, as long as there is a blue line around the word “post” the system knows your post is coming and you don’t need to keep pushing the button.
    Why so many sailing words in Mongolian, or words for animals from distant continents? these words were probably created in order to translate works from other languages, such as Sanskrit and Chinese.

  70. SFReader says:

    But all this pales into insignificance in comparison with Mongolian numerals. I don’t know what kind of mathematics or astrophysics research medieval Mongolian scholars were engaged in, but they used astonishing numbers.
    1= Дан/dan
    10=arav/Арав
    100=zuu/Зуу
    1000=myanga/Мянга
    10,000=tum/Түм (also tumen, a division-level military unit in imperial Mongolian army)
    100,000=bum/Бум
    1,000,000=say/Сая
    10,000,000=jivaa/Живаа
    100,000,000=dunchuur/Дүнчүүр
    1,000,000,000=termub/Тэрбум
    10,000,000,000=ih terbum/Их тэрбум
    100,000,000,000=nayad/Наяд
    1,000,000,000,000=ih nayad/Их наяд
    10,000,000,000,000=mash delgemel/Маш дэлгэмэл
    100,000,000,000,000=ih mash delgemel/Их маш дэлгэмэл
    1,000,000,000,000,000=tunamal/Тунамал
    10,000,000,000,000,000=ih tunamal/Их тунамал
    100,000,000,000,000,000=inguumel/Ингүүмэл
    1,000,000,000,000,000,000=ih inguumel/Их ингүүмэл 10,000,000,000,000,000,000=hyamralgui/Хямралгүй 100,000,000,000,000,000,000=ih hyamralgui/Их хямралгүй
    1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=yalgaruulagch/Ялгаруулагч
    10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=ih yalgaruulagch/Их ялгаруулагч
    100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=ovor deer/Өвөр дээр
    1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=ih ovor deer/Их өвөр дээр
    10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=khoon udirdagch/Хөөн удирдагч
    100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=ikh khoon udirdagch/Их хөөн удирдагч 1026
    1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=hyazgaar uzegdel/Хязгаар үзэгдэл
    10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=ih hyazgaar uzegdel/Их хязгаар үзэгдэл
    100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=Shaltgaany zuil/Шалтгааны зүйл
    1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=Ih shaltgaany zuil/Их шалтгааны зүйл
    10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=uzesgelen gerel/Yзэсгэлэн гэрэл
    100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=ih uzesgelen gerel/Их үзэсгэлэн гэрэл
    1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=erhet/Эрхэт
    10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=ih erhet/Их эрхэт
    100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=
    Saitaar hurgesen/Сайтар хүргэсэн
    1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000=ih saitaar hurgesen/Их сайтар хүргэсэн 10^36
    And there are plenty more. To 10^81, at least

  71. SFReader: There are two native words in Mongolian for giraffe (more common anaash and now archaic orgoson gookhoi) and two words for ostrich (hyaruul and tokhi) even though both animals are not found in Mongolia or anywhere close (and giraffe lives in the wild only in Africa)
    Perhaps that has something to do with the naval expeditions of Zheng He between 1405 and 1433. He brought back “novelties such as ostriches, zebras, camels”. Zheng He was a Muslim with Persian ancestors who had held administrative positions in Mongolia.

    He was the great great great grandson of Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar, a Persian who served in the administration of the Mongolian Empire and was appointed governor of Yunnan during the early Yuan Dynasty. Both his grandfather and great-grandfather carried the title of Hajji, which indicates they had made the pilgrimage to Mecca. His great-grandfather was named Bayan and may have been a member of a Mongol garrison in Yunnan.
    In 1381, the year his father was killed, following the defeat of the Northern Yuan, a Ming army was dispatched to Yunnan to put down the army of the Mongol Yuan loyalist Basalawarmi during the Ming conquest of Yunnan.

    Zheng He’s fleets visited Arabia, Brunei, the Horn of Africa, India, Southeast Asia and Thailand, dispensing and receiving goods along the way. Zheng He presented gifts of gold, silver, porcelain and silk; in return, China received such novelties as ostriches, zebras, camels, ivory and a giraffe from the Swahili.

    What little I know about this comes a long documentary on Zheng He recently shown on arte tv.

  72. SFReader says:

    —Why so many sailing words in Mongolian, or words for animals from distant continents? these words were probably created in order to translate works from other languages, such as Sanskrit and Chinese.
    What a boring (even if correct) answer!
    I personally prefer to think that some words were created just for the fun of it…

  73. My mistake, what I saw was a rerun of that documentary on 3Sat in May.

  74. In the internet there are many references to Zheng He as a “Muslim Mongolian”. The attribution of a particular faith is unproblematic, but what does it mean to say he was “Mongolian” at that period in history ? That his primary language was Mongolian, despite having been born in Yunnan ?
    To what extent here is modern nation-state thinking being projected backwards onto those shifting and changing political conglomerations called Mongolian and Chinese, as a simplification in order to be able to say that individuals then were “Mongolian” or “Chinese” ?

  75. I don’t know what kind of mathematics or astrophysics research medieval Mongolian scholars were engaged in, but they used astonishing numbers.
    I think it was Indian parsons who got there first, without any “research” being involved:

    The Indians had a passion for high numbers, which is intimately related to their religious thought. For example, in texts belonging to the Vedic literature, we find individual Sanskrit names for each of the powers of 10 up to a trillion and even 10^62. (Even today, the words ‘lakh’ and ‘crore’, referring to 100,000 and 10,000,000, respectively, are in common use among English-speaking Indians.) One of these Vedic texts, the Yajur Veda, even discusses the concept of numeric infinity (purna “fullness”), stating that if you subtract purna from purna, you are still left with purna.

  76. SFReader says:

    —bodhisattva (बोधिसत्व or बोधिसत्त) —10^37218383881977644441306597687849648128
    Wow! That’s a lot…

  77. SFReader says:

    —what does it mean to say he was “Mongolian” at that period in history?
    Yuan empire had a caste system closely resembling South African apartheid.
    The highest castes were the Mongols (at the very top!) and Semu 色目(literally colored-eyes)-assorted various foreigners, including Uighurs, Tibetans, Tanguts, Assyrians, Alans, Russians, Arabs, Persians, etc. Marco Polo was probably classified as Semu. Most administrative posts were filled by literate people from these castes, because Chinese were distrusted.
    Two lower castes were called Hanren (Northern Han Chinese, Khitans, Jurchens, Koreans) and Nanren (southern Han Chinese), the latter being the lowest.
    According to this system, Zheng He would have been classified as Semu, not Mongol.

  78. Trond Engen says:

    I have always assumed (without bothering to look it up) that ‘reindeer’ means deer that can be attached to reins. I take it that that’s wrong, and the resemblance is a coincidence?
    Yes, reindeer is Germanic, while EtymOnline says Eng. rein is from Latin retina through Old French.

  79. SFReader says:

    –To what extent here is modern nation-state thinking being projected backwards onto those shifting and changing political conglomerations called Mongolian and Chinese, as a simplification in order to be able to say that individuals then were “Mongolian” or “Chinese” ?
    According to genealogical tradition, Zheng He was Sayid, ie descendant of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who in turn is a direct descendant of Abraham and his son Ismail and in turn, there exists a legendary genealogy of Abraham which traces his descent all way to Adam and Creation.
    I am not quite sure which ethnic group did Adam belong to…
    * Here is full genealogy of Zheng He to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
    1. Muhammad
    2. Ali
    3. Hou-Sai-Ni
    4. Yi-Bu-Lai-Xi-Mo
    5. Yi-Si-Ma-Ai-Le
    6. Xie-Xin
    7. E-Le-Hou-Sai-Ni
    8.Ye-Ha-Ya
    9. E-Ha-Mo-De
    10. Li-Sha-Shi (King of the Mi-Si-Le Kingdom)
    11. She-Li-Ma
    12. Mu-Lu-Ye-Mi
    13. Ya-Xin
    14. Lu-Er-Ding
    15. Ma-Ba-er-Sha
    16. Yi-Si-Ma-Xin
    17. Ha-San
    18. Gu-Bu-Ding
    19. Mu-Xie
    20. Hu-Fu-Ding
    21. Wu-Ma-Nai-Ding
    22. Wu-Ma-Er
    23. Cha-Fa-Er
    24. Zhe-Ma-Nai-Ding
    25. An-Du-Er-Yi
    26. Suo-Fei-Er/Sayidina Syafii
    27. Sai-Yan-Su-Lai-Gong-Na
    28. Su-Zu-Sha
    29. Kan-Ma-Ding
    30. Ma-Ha-Mu
    31. Sayid Ajall/Sai-Dian-Chi
    32. Na-Su-La-Ding
    33. Bai-Yan
    34. Mi-Di-Na/Haji
    35.Mi-Li-Jin/Ma Haji
    36. Ma Sanbao/Zheng He
    (I know that there is mistake in 2. Hussain ibn Ali was grandson of Muhammad through his mother Fatima, not through his father Ali)
    Prophet Muhammad’s descent from Adam is as follows
    Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib (who was called Shaiba) bin Hashim, (named ‘Amr) bin ‘Abd Munaf (called Al-Mugheera) bin Qusai (also called Zaid) bin Kilab bin Murra bin Ka‘b bin Lo’i bin Ghalib bin Fahr (who was called Quraish and whose tribe was called after him) bin Malik bin An-Nadr (so called Qais) bin Kinana bin Khuzaiman bin Mudrikah (who was called ‘Amir) bin Elias bin Mudar bin Nizar bin Ma‘ad bin ‘Adnan. [Ibn Hisham 1/1,2; Talqeeh Fuhoom Ahl Al-Athar, p. 5-6; Rahmat-ul-lil'alameen 2/11-14,52]
    The second part: ‘Adnan bin Add bin Humaisi‘ bin Salaman bin Aws bin Buz bin Qamwal bin Obai bin ‘Awwam bin Nashid bin Haza bin Bildas bin Yadlaf bin Tabikh bin Jahim bin Nahish bin Makhi bin Aid bin ‘Abqar bin ‘Ubaid bin Ad-Da‘a bin Hamdan bin Sanbir bin Yathrabi bin Yahzin bin Yalhan bin Ar‘awi bin Aid bin Deshan bin Aisar bin Afnad bin Aiham bin Muksar bin Nahith bin Zarih bin Sami bin Mazzi bin ‘Awda bin Aram bin Qaidar bin Ishmael son of Abraham [AWS]. [Rahmat-ul-lil'alameen 2/14-17]
    The third part: beyond Abraham [AWS] , Ibn Tarih (Azar) bin Nahur bin Saru‘ bin Ra‘u bin Falikh bin Abir bin Shalikh bin Arfakhshad bin Sam bin Noah [AWS] , bin Lamik bin Mutwashlack bin Akhnukh [who was said to be Prophet Idris (Enoch) [AWS]] bin Yarid bin Mahla’il bin Qainan bin Anusha bin Shith bin Adam [AWS]. [Ibn Hisham 1/2-4; Rahmat-ul-lil'alameen 2/18; Khulasat As-Siyar p.6]

  80. hey, SFR, are you really not one of us, you knowledge of mongolian is like something that, uncanny, i’m as if like ready to acknowledge you a chingisid, a shaman or relative :)
    come on, fess up you are a kalmyk or buriad or tumed or bayad or borjigin whoever maybe some second or third generation western, no?
    regarding Zheng He’s genealogy if his grandgrand father were a mongol Bayan, he can’t be put into the muslim genealogy, cz paternal lineage is considered main, not maternal, just traditionally, so i mean, isn’t Bayan’s name in the list a bit like that, irrelevant
    and Hozo’s point about noble savages is really of course a thing to object, that is always so really a strange concept to describe people on their own with their own worldview and culture just from one eurocentric angle, he is a troll of course to bring it up too directly, but that’s just a pretty common way to enter an internet discussion after one’s long absence,
    especially if previous discussions were that, pretty confrontational and one expects not very warm welcome and that doesn’t make one’s point automatically devalued
    i read recently a blogpost in a very interesting blog, hit the about button and there the author says something that the space is public and while he values all kinds of comments,
    please keep private things confined to private spaces
    that is so much contempt imo for his readers, automatically excluding much of interaction and declaring that one’s just not interested in what others say, his posts as a medieval art specialist is interesting bc he brings into there a lot more of his own impressions, not only the historical facts but his readers are forbidden to do the same in advance

  81. SFReader says:

    —regarding Zheng He’s genealogy if his grandgrand father were a mongol Bayan
    Nasr al-Din (?–1292), governor of Yunnan province was a son of Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar(1211–1279), first Mongol governor of Yunnan and a native of city of Bukhara.
    Nasr al-Din had twelve sons, of which five are mentioned by name in Yuán Shǐ (history of the Yuan dynasty) – 伯顏察兒 Bo-yen ch’a-r, who had a high office, 烏馬兒 Wu-ma-r (Omar?), 答法兒 Dje-fa-r (Djafar), 忽先 Hu-sien (Hussein) and 沙的 Sha-di (Saadi).
    Persian historian Rashid-ad-Din mentions one of his sons as Abubeker who is also known as Bayan Fenchan (evidently the Boyen ch’a-r of the Yüan shi). He is said to have been a governor of Zaitun at the Rashid was writing and later was a Minister of Finance under Kubilai’s successor.
    Nasr al-Din , by the way, is also mentioned by Marco Polo, who styles him Nescradin, Mongol commander who won a glorious victory over king of Burma and his elephants.
    Judging from this evidence, it’s quite clear that Abubekr/伯顏察兒/Bo-yen ch’a-r/Bayan Fenchan/Bai-Yan was not a Mongol (he might have had a Mongol mother though), but rather a Muslim of Central Asian origin just like his brothers Omar, Jafar, Hussein and Saadi and his father and grandfather.

  82. dearieme says:

    “I am not quite sure which ethnic group did Adam belong to…”: will Dravidians never get their due?

  83. SFReader says:

    And besides, Bayan which means “rich” in Mongolian could be simply his nickname.
    You can’t find a better nickname for Minister of Finance!

  84. A bayan is also a type of button accordion with rich chromatics. Following up on a youtube link read gave here recently, I discovered a Mongolian bayan player performing the Messiaen organ piece Dieu parmi nous. I thought it was well done, but that may be mainly because I look with favor on anyone who plays Messiaen, even on a kazoo.

  85. SFReader says:

    Russian bayan comes from bayat’ – tell fairy tales, derived from
    Proto-IE: *bhā-
    Meaning: to say
    Old Indian: sa-bhā́ f. `assembly, congregation’
    Armenian: ban, gen. -i `Wort, Rede, Vernunft, Urteil, Sache’; bay, gen. bayi `Wort, Ausdruck’ (*bhǝti-s)
    Old Greek: phǟmí `sage’, pháskō, inf. att. phánai̯, hom. phámen, ipf. éphǟn, inf. phásthai̯, aor. phǟ̂sai̯, pf. m. péphatai̯, ipv. pephásthō, va. pható- `sagen, erklären, behaupten’; phǟ́mǟ f. `Ausspruch, Kundgebung, Gerücht, Ruf, Rede’; phǟ̂mi-s, -ios f. `Rede, Gerede’, pl. phḗmata = rhḗmata, phásmata Hsch., hüpo-phǟ́tǟ-s m. `Deuter, Ausleger’, hüpo-, pro-phǟ́tōr m. `id.’, pháti-s f. `Ausspruch, Gerücht, Kunde’, phási-s `id.’, phátǟ-s `pseústēs’ Hsch., phōnǟ́ f. `Laut von Menschen und Tieren, Ton, Stimme, Aussprache, Rede, Sprache, Äusserung’
    Slavic: *bā́jātī, *bā́jǭ; *bāsnь; *bālьjь
    Word: ба́ю,
    Near etymology: ба́ять, ба́ить “говорить”, укр. ба́яти “рассказывать”, русск.-цслав. баю, баяти “рассказывать, заговаривать, лечить”, болг. ба́я “колдую”, сербохорв. ба̏jати “колдовать”, словен. bájati “болтать, говорить, заклинать”, чеш. bájiti “говорить, болтать”, польск. bajać “болтать”, в.-луж. bać — то же, н.-луж. bajaś.
    Further etymology: Исконнородственно греч. φημί, дор. φαμί “говорю”, φήμη, дор. φά̄μᾱ “голос, молва”, φωνή “голос”, лат. fāri “говорить”, fābula “речь, рассказ”, др.-исл. bón, bǿn, арм. ban “слово, речь” и т. д.; см. Бернекер 1, 39; Хюбшман 428. Сюда не относится лит. bóju, bóti “обращать внимание” — переразложение лит. atbóti, dabóti “обращать внимание, заботиться”, которое заимств. из польск. dbać; см. Лескин, Bildung 457; Остен-Сакен, IF 33, 206 и сл. Дальнейшее см. выше, на ба́сня.
    Trubachev’s comments: [Ср. еще сев.-фризск. bālen "говорить"; см. Хольтхаузен, PBB 48, стр. 460. -- Т.]
    Pages: 1,140
    Germanic: *bō-n-ī(n-) f., *ba-nn-a- vb., *ba-nn-a- m., etc.
    Proto-Germanic: *bōnī-, *bannan-, *banna-z, etc.
    Meaning: curse, damn; prayer, request
    IE etymology: IE etymology
    Old Norse: bōn, bȫn f. `Bitte, Gebet’; banna wk. `verbieten; bannen’; bann n. `Verbot; Bann, Verbannung’
    Norwegian: bön; banna `fluchen’; bann
    Swedish: bön; banna `fluchen’; bann
    Danish: bön; bande; ban
    Old English: bȫn (bēn) `Bitte, Gebet, Forderung’, bōian `prahlen’; bannan red. V. `vorladen, befehlen’, gebann `Verbot, Bann’
    Old Frisian: bon; bonna vb.
    Old Saxon: ban; bannan
    Middle Dutch: ban `openbare afkondiging, oproeping, rechtspraak, straf, boete, banvloek, rechtgebied’; bannen `oproepen, verbannen, bekrachtigen’
    Dutch: ban m., bannen
    Old High German: bannen redupl. v. (10./11.Jh.) `unter Strafandrohung befehlen, verordnen, in Bann tun’, gibannan (9.Jh.); ban (9.Jh.), pl. banna `Gebot inter Strafandrohung’
    Middle High German: bannen red. v. ‘unter strafandrohung gebieten od. verbieten; in den bann tun’; ban (-nn-) st. m. ‘gebot unter strafandrohung; einberufung zum gericht, verbot bei strafe’
    German: Bann m.
    Latin: for (Gramm.), fārī, fātus sum `sprechen’, fācundus, -a `redegewandt’, fātum, -ī n. `Schicksalsspruch, Orakel, Weissagung; Schicksal, Geschick’, fāma f. `Sage, Gericht, Kunde; öffentliche Meinung (Gerede der Leute); Ruf, Leumund; guter und schlechter Ruf’, fābula f. `Rede, Gerücht; (erdichtete) Erzählung, Sage, Fabel; Theaterstück’; fateor, fatērī, fassus sum `zugestehen, einraumen; bekennen, kundtun’; fās n. (indecl.) `das göttliche Recht’; nefās `Unrec ht, Sünde’; fascinum n., fascinus, -ī m. `Behexung’; īnfāns, -antis `wer noch nicht sprechen kann’
    Other Italic: Osk faamat `ēdīcit’, faammant `ēdīcunt’, famatted `ēdīxīt, iussit’; fatíum `fārī’
    Russ. meaning: говорить
    References: WP II 123 f

  86. SFReader says:

    Mongolian bayan “rich” comes from
    Proto-Turkic: *bāj
    Altaic etymology: Altaic etymology
    Meaning: 1 rich, noble 2 many, numerous
    Russian meaning: 1 богатый, знатный 2 много, многочисленный
    Old Turkic: baj 1 (Orkh., Yen., OUygh.)
    Karakhanid: baj 1 (MK, KB)
    Turkish: baj 1
    Tatar: baj 1, bajtaq 2
    Middle Turkic: baj 1
    Uzbek: bɔj 1
    Uighur: baj 1
    Sary-Yughur: päj 1
    Azerbaidzhan: baj 1
    Turkmen: bāj 1
    Khakassian: paj 1
    Oyrat: baj 1, bajtaq 2
    Chuvash: pojan 1
    Yakut: bāj 1
    Dolgan: bāj, bājdak, bājdɨk 1
    Tuva: baj 1
    Kirghiz: baj 1
    Kazakh: baj 1
    Noghai: baj 1
    Bashkir: baj 1
    Balkar: baj 1
    Gagauz: baj 1
    Karaim: baj 1
    Karakalpak: baj 1
    Kumyk: baj 1
    Comments: EDT 384, VEWT 56, TMN 2, 259, ЭСТЯ 2, 27-29, 36, Лексика 304, 332, Федотов 1, 440, Stachowski 55, 56. Turk. > Mong. bajan ‘rich’ (KW 29, Щербак 1997, 103), whence Evk. bajan etc. (TMN ibid., Doerfer MT 37).

  87. Trond Engen says:

    Half my final paragraph got eaten, [...]. Can it be hattically rescued?
    It seems not. I’ll reconstruct it:
    ON had (and Icelandic still has) hreinn, continuing a presumed IE *kr-. Bjorvand & Lindeman says that it might be related to ‘horn’ and ultimately derived from IE *kr-oy-no-. Me, I have the idea that it could be the same word as hreinn “clean”, originally a participle or verbal adjective from PIE *kr-oy-n- “separate”. It would have denoted an animal singled out for sale or slaughter or from a wild herd for domestication. Or (as I forgot to say in the butchered reply) it could have been because the separation of each family’s animals from a merged herd was a spectacular show for the first Germanic speakers who encountered reindeer herding.

  88. SFReader: is it not possible to link to the reference works in question, instead of copying yards of them into your comments ? That’s one of the advantages of links.

  89. Half my final paragraph got eaten, [...]. Can it be hattically rescued?
    It seems not.
    Sorry about that! I had intended to do it when I read your comment, but then I read Hozo’s and got pissed off and forgot about it. It’s fixed now (better late than never).

  90. SFReader: I see that what I wrote about the long exceprts doesn’t sound very friendly. Of course it’s not my place here to pass judgement on how long people’s comments get. I would just find it easier, when scrolling, to review individual contributions when linkable content is linked instead of being imported.

  91. I agree with Grumbly about the utility of links. It’s fine to quote a long chunk of something if it’s all relevant (a long passage from a book explaining something of interest, say), but just reproducing an entire long entry consisting mostly of stuff like “Tuva: baj 1, Kirghiz: baj 1, Kazakh: baj 1, Noghai: baj 1, Bashkir: baj 1…” that nobody’s going to read and just makes people scroll down impatiently is kind of pointless. If I were you, I would have just said “Russian bayan comes from bayat’ ‘tell fairy tales,’ derived from Proto-IE *bhā- ‘to say’; Mongolian bayan ‘rich’ comes from Proto-Turkic *bāj ‘rich, noble; many, numerous,’” and linked to the appropriate webpages.

  92. Hozo, I was not thinking of extermination, I was thinking that indigenous people of small population (little people) that live by a subsistence economy can be ignored or bribed and the basis of their economy and society destroyed, which leaves them little choice but to be obsorbed by the destroyers. But I got hot under the collar (and elsewhere) and spat telegraphically. I also should have said passion rather than violence.

  93. SFReader: Iv’e read of people who were descended from the Prophet (PBUH) but never before have seen a list of the intervening generations. Would that my own family could see back that far!
    The royal family of Morocco call themselves sherrif. Would that indicate a different line of descent, perhaps through Fatima?
    And peace be upon all Muslims.

  94. Trond Engen says:

    It’s fixed now (better late than never).
    It is, thanks. Comparativists and philologers will have noted that not only is the second version emended but new errors were introduced into it.

  95. SFReader says:

    —The royal family of Morocco call themselves sherrif. Would that indicate a different line of descent, perhaps through Fatima?
    Sayyid, Sharif and Ashraf(plural of Sharif) can be used interchangably, I think.
    Though Wikipedia claims that some Sunnis make a distinction, reserving term sharif for descendants of Hasan ibn Ali while sayyid is used to refer to descendants of his younger brother Hussein ibn Ali

  96. John Emerson says:

    On the “100 names for X”: I think that livestock is the place to look, especially livestock of ritual importance or livestock of very high value (e.g. thoroughbred horses.) Besides a multitude of words for age, gender, and genital status, and besides the various distinct breeds, there are also names for nuances of coat color and pattern, type of tail and mane, etc.
    At one time after the Civil War ambitious Minnesotans made plans to ally themselves to the Metis and occupy Canada all the way to the Pacific. (These plans were not very concrete or practical.)
    Buddhist monks used exponentiation to dazzle people. “If for every grain of sand in the Ganges river there was another Ganges river, and if for every grain of sand in one of those Ganges rivers there was a universe full of gold and precious stones….”

  97. A humdrum modern counterpart is raising pie to the teeth. Or integrating it over the face of a politician.

  98. marie-lucie says:

    LH to SFReader: It’s fine to quote a long chunk of something if it’s all relevant (a long passage from a book explaining something of interest, say), but just reproducing an entire long entry consisting mostly of stuff like “Tuva: baj 1, Kirghiz: baj 1, Kazakh: baj 1, Noghai: baj 1, Bashkir: baj 1…” that nobody’s going to read and just makes people scroll down impatiently is kind of pointless.
    I entirely agree. This sort of thing is overkill in the context of a blog like this one. LH’s suggestion is a good one: mention the essentials here, refer to the link for people who do want to see all the details.

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