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Why is the American bird called Turkey?

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Topic: Why is the American bird called Turkey?
Posted By: Beylerbeyi
Subject: Why is the American bird called Turkey?
Date Posted: 30-Sep-2004 at 05:18
Someone forwarded me this;

Talking Turkey: The Story of How the Unofficial Bird of the United States Got Named After a Middle Eastern Country
(by Giancarlo Casale)

>         How did the turkey get its name? This seemingly harmless
>  question popped into my head one morning as I realized that the
>  holidays were once again upon us. After all, I thought, there's
>  nothing more American than a turkey. Their meat saved the pilgrims
>  from starvation during their first winter in New England. Out of
>  gratitude, if you can call it that, we eat them for Thanksgiving
>  dinner, and again at Christmas, and gobble them up in sandwiches all
>  year long. Every fourth grader can tell you that Benjamin Franklin
>  was particularly fond of the wild turkey, and even campaigned to
>  make it, and not the bald eagle, the national symbol. So how did
>  such a creature end up taking its name from a medium sized country
>  in the Middle East? Was it just a coincidence? I wondered.
>
>        The next day I mentioned my musings to my landlord, whose wife
>  is from Brazil. "That's funny," he said, "In Portuguese the word for
> turkey is 'peru.' Same bird, different country." Hmm.
>
>        With my curiosity piqued, I decided to go straight to the
>  source. That very afternoon I found myself a Turk and asked him how
>  to say turkey in Turkish. "Turkey?" he said. "Well, we call
>  turkeys 'hindi,' which means, you know, from India." India? This was
>  getting weird.
>
>        I spent the next few days finding out the word for turkey in
>  as many languages as I could think of, and the more I found out, the
>  weirder things got. In Arabic, for instance, the word for turkey
>  is "Ethiopian bird," while in Greek it is "gallapoula" or "French
>  girl." The Persians, meanwhile, call them "buchalamun" which means,
>  appropriately enough, "chameleon."
>
>        In Italian, on the other hand, the word for turkey
>  is "tacchino" which, my Italian relatives assured me, means nothing
>  but the bird. "But," they added, "it reminds us of something else.
>  In Italy we call corn, which as everybody knows comes from
>  America, 'grano turco,' or 'Turkish grain.'" So here we were back to
> Turkey again! And as if things weren't already confusing enough, a
> further consultation with my Turkish informant revealed that the
>  Turks call corn "misir" which is also their word for Egypt!
>
>        By this point, things were clearly getting out of hand. But I
>  persevered nonetheless, and just as I was about to give up hope, a
>  pattern finally seemed to emerge from this bewildering labyrinth. In
>  French, it turns out, the word for turkey is "dinde," meaning "from
>  India," just like in Turkish. The words in both German and Russian
>  had similar meanings, so I was clearly on to something. The key, I
>  reasoned, was to find out what turkeys are called in India, so I
>  called up my high school friend's wife, who is from an old Bengali
>  family, and popped her the question.
>
>        "Oh," she said, "We don't have turkeys in India. They come
>  from America. Everybody knows that."
>
>        "Yes," I insisted, "but what do you call them?"
>        "Well, we don't have them!" she said. She wasn't being very
> helpful. Still, I persisted:
>
>        "Look, you must have a word for them. Say you were watching an
> American movie translated from English and the actors were all
>  talking about turkeys. What would they say?"
>
>        "Well...I suppose in that case they would just say the
>  American word, 'turkey.' Like I said, we don't have them."
>        So there I was, at a dead end. I began to realize only too
> late that I had unwittingly stumbled upon a problem whose solution
>  lay far beyond the capacity of my own limited resources. Obviously I
>  needed serious professional assistance. So the next morning I
>  scheduled an appointment with Prof. Şinasi Tekin of Harvard
>  University, a world-renowned philologist and expert on Turkic
>  languages. If anyone could help me, I figured it would be Professor
>  Tekin.
>
>        As I walked into his office on the following Tuesday, I knew I
>  would not be disappointed. Prof. Tekin had a wizened, grandfatherly
>  face, a white, bushy, knowledgeable beard, and was surrounded by
>  stack upon stack of just the sort of hefty, authoritative books
>  which were sure to contain a solution to my vexing Turkish mystery.
>  I introduced myself, sat down, and eagerly awaited a dose of Prof.
>  Tekin's erudition.
>
>        "You see," he said, "In the Turkish countryside there is a
>  kind of bird, which is called a çulluk. It looks like a turkey but
>  it is much smaller, and its meat is very delicious. Long before the
>  discovery of America, English merchants had already discovered the
>  delicious çulluk, and began exporting it back to England, where it
> became very popular, and was known as a 'Turkey bird' or simply
>  a 'turkey.' Then, when the English came to America, they mistook the
>  birds here for çulluks, and so they began calling them 'turkey"
>  also. But other peoples weren't so easily fooled. They knew that
> these new birds came from America, and so they called them things
>  like 'India birds,' 'Peruvian birds,' or 'Ethiopian birds.' You
>  see, 'India,' 'Peru' and 'Ethiopia' were all common names for the
>  New World in the early centuries, both because people had a hazier
>  understanding of geography, and because it took a while for the
>  name 'America' to catch on.
>
>        "Anyway, since that time Americans have begun exporting their
>  birds everywhere, and even in Turkey people have started eating
>  them, and have forgotten all about their delicious çulluk. This is a
>  shame, because çulluk meat is really much, much tastier."
>
>        Prof. Tekin seemed genuinely sad as he explained all this to
>  me. I did my best to comfort him, and tried to express my regret at
>  hearing of the unfairly cruel fate of the delicious çulluk. Deep
>  down, however, I was ecstatic. I finally had a solution to this
>  holiday problem, and knew I would be able once again to enjoy the
> main course of my traditional Thanksgiving dinner without
> reservation.
>
>        Now if I could just figure out why they call those little
>  teeny dogs Chihuahuas....



Replies:
Posted By: Cywr
Date Posted: 30-Sep-2004 at 09:14
Intresting, but isn't Arabic 'Deek Romi' - Romainian bird or something?

And why do the Dutch call it a Kalkoen?


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Arrrgh!!"


Posted By: Styrbiorn
Date Posted: 30-Sep-2004 at 16:00
Originally posted by Cywr



And why do the Dutch call it a Kalkoen?



We call it that too (but don't have the notoriously weird Dutch spelling - in Swedish it's kalkon). The etymology is quite intresting, the reason is about the same as why the American natives are called 'Indians'. The bird came from this continent, which we all know was believed to be India in the very beginning, and what was the Indian port most known in Europe? Exactly. Thus, the bird was called "Calicut-bird".

The Germans have the same name as the English - Turkey (Türkei).


Posted By: Cywr
Date Posted: 30-Sep-2004 at 16:13
AH, the mystery is solved (i've always wondered where the name came from)

And now i really want to taste a çulluk, to think that Britian used to import them, and now make do with the overfed and tasteless American varient.

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Arrrgh!!"


Posted By: ihsan
Date Posted: 30-Sep-2004 at 17:13
Oh, that Prof. Tekin died some two weeks ago

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Posted By: cattus
Date Posted: 30-Sep-2004 at 17:43
How is çulluk pronounced.. it is extinct?

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Posted By: Jalisco Lancer
Date Posted: 30-Sep-2004 at 17:49

 

 

  Cut the discussion 

  The turkey bird is in reality the Mexican Guaxolotl ( Guajolote ).

  Imported from Mexico to Europe and brought back from Europe North America by the pilgrims.



Posted By: Cywr
Date Posted: 30-Sep-2004 at 18:03
Hmm didn't the Spanish first bring it to Europe very early? (early 1500s)


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Arrrgh!!"


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 30-Sep-2004 at 18:06
Originally posted by Cywr

Hmm didn't the Spanish first bring it to Europe very early? (early 1500s)

The first European to eat a Turkey was Obelix


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Posted By: ihsan
Date Posted: 07-Oct-2004 at 14:46

Originally posted by Catt

How is çulluk pronounced..

Tchoullouck



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Qaghan of the Vast Steppes

http://steppes.proboards23.com - Steppes History Forum


Posted By: cattus
Date Posted: 07-Oct-2004 at 15:16
oooh, nothing as i thought.Thank you.

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Posted By: Cywr
Date Posted: 07-Oct-2004 at 15:58
How did Demon's post wind up in here?

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Arrrgh!!"


Posted By: Evildoer
Date Posted: 07-Oct-2004 at 17:40
It's that accursed date-mess up. I deleted some of my posts because of that.


Posted By: Hellinas
Date Posted: 21-Dec-2004 at 18:41
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=turkey - turkey Look up turkey at Dictionary.com
1541, "guinea fowl" (Numida meleagris), imported from Madagascar via Turkey, by Near East traders known as turkey merchants. The larger North American bird (Meleagris gallopavo) was domesticated by the Aztecs, introduced to Spain by conquistadors (1523) and thence to wider Europe, by way of North Africa (then under Ottoman rule) and Turkey (Indian corn was originally turkey corn or turkey wheat in Eng. for the same reason). The word turkey was first applied to it in Eng. 1555 because it was identified with or treated as a species of the guinea fowl. The Turkish name for it is hindi, lit. "Indian," probably via Fr. dinde "turkey hen," based on the common misconception that the New World was eastern Asia. The New World bird itself reputedly reached England by 1524 (when Henry VIII dined on it at court). Turkeys raised by the Pilgrims were probably stock brought from England. By 1575, turkey was becoming the usual main course at an English Christmas. Meaning "inferior show, failure," is 1927 in show business slang, probably from the image of the turkey as a stupid bird.

http://www.etymonline.com



Posted By: Fizzil
Date Posted: 24-Dec-2004 at 14:24
Deek Rumi - Roman bird or something... also Deek Habashi (abyssinian bird). I don't know the reasoning behind calling them these names, but most probably they came from italy or somalia/ethiopia via trade.


Posted By: Jagatai Khan
Date Posted: 25-Dec-2004 at 01:58

I heard that Turkey's name changed into Turkei in formal correspondances,is it true?



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Posted By: Infidel
Date Posted: 25-Dec-2004 at 07:02
I think that Türkei is the german word. Turkey in english, and Türkiye (correct me if I'm wrong) in turkish...

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An nescite quantilla sapientia mundus regatur?


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 25-Dec-2004 at 09:18
Originally posted by Jagatai Khan

I heard that Turkey's name changed into Turkei in formal correspondances,is it true?


Indeed Türkei is the German word for Turkey. German is the most widely spoken language in the EU union. So it's possible that the German names of countries are used in formal EU conferences.


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Posted By: Cywr
Date Posted: 25-Dec-2004 at 11:15
Would be cooler if they used the Latin Turchia IMHO.

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Arrrgh!!"


Posted By: Infidel
Date Posted: 25-Dec-2004 at 19:45
Or just plain simple Turkey. English is the lingua franca of our times.

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An nescite quantilla sapientia mundus regatur?


Posted By: Jalisco Lancer
Date Posted: 25-Dec-2004 at 20:01
Originally posted by Hellinas

<DT =highlight> http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=turkey - [COLOR=#800020 - turkey[/COLOR - <A class=dictionary title="Look up turkey at Dictionary.com" href="http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=turkey">[IMG]title="Look up turkey at Dictionary.com" height=16 alt="Look up turkey at Dictionary.com" src="http://www.etymonline.com/graphics/dictionary.gif" width=16/A>
<DD =highlight>1541, "guinea fowl" (<SPAN =foreign>Numida meleagris</SPAN>, imported from Madagascar via Turkey, by Near East traders known as <SPAN =foreign>turkey merchants</SPAN>. The larger North American bird (<SPAN =foreign>Meleagris gallopavo</SPAN> was domesticated by the Aztecs, introduced to Spain by conquistadors (1523) and thence to wider Europe, by way of North Africa (then under Ottoman rule) and Turkey (Indian corn was originally <SPAN =foreign>turkey corn</SPAN> or <SPAN =foreign>turkey wheat</SPAN> in Eng. for the same reason). The word <SPAN =foreign>turkey</SPAN> was first applied to it in Eng. 1555 because it was identified with or treated as a species of the guinea fowl. The Turkish name for it is <SPAN =foreign>hindi</SPAN>, lit. "Indian," probably via Fr. <SPAN =foreign>dinde</SPAN> "turkey hen," based on the common misconception that the New World was eastern Asia. The New World bird itself reputedly reached England by 1524 (when Henry VIII dined on it at court). Turkeys raised by the Pilgrims were probably stock brought from England. By 1575, turkey was becoming the usual main course at an English Christmas. Meaning "inferior show, failure," is 1927 in show business slang, probably from the image of the turkey as a stupid bird. </DD>
<P =highlight>http://www.etymonline.com



The Turkey was imported from Mexico to Europe by the spaniards and it´s called Guaxolotl in nahuatl.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domesticated_turkey

The domesticated turkey is descended from the North American Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo. The Aztecs domesticated the southern Mexican form, M. g. gallopavo, one of six subspecies.

Suggestions have been made that the Mexican Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata) might also be involved, but the plumage of domestic turkeys does not support this theory; in particular, the chest tuft of domestic turkeys is a clear indicator of descent from the Wild Turkey (the Ocellated Turkey does not have this tuft).

The turkey is reared throughout temperate parts of the World, and is a popular form of poultry because industrialised farming has made it very cheap for the amount of meat, and it is considered healthier and less fattening than red meat.

Eating turkey was once mainly restricted to special occasions like Christmas in Europe, and Thanksgiving in North America, in both cases having displaced the traditional goose, but it is now available year-round in supermarkets.

In the USA, the female domesticated turkey is referred to as a hen, a male as a tom, a chick as a poult and a castrated turkey as a hokie. In Europe, the male is a stag.

Modern breeds of turkey are too large to breed naturally, so they are usually bred using artificial insemination. However, turkey hens are often able to produce young from unfertilized eggs in a process called parthenogenesis.

The great majority of domesticated turkeys have white feathers, although brown or bronze-feathered varieties are also raised.



Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 05-Jan-2005 at 15:02

Why is the American bird called Turkey?

When Europeans first encountered the turkey in the Americas, they incorrectly identified it with the African Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris), also known as the turkey-cock from its importation to Europe through Turkey, and the name stuck. It remains also in the scientific name: meleagris is Greek for guinea-fowl.

source: Wikipedia




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