Rome, Guinea,Turkey,and India


The "Romans" or "Rom" or "Rum" have variously been Romans, Italians, Goths, Greeks, Turks, Crusaders, Romanians, and Gypsies over the centuries, and as the capital of the Empire or as the center of Christendom, "Rome" has minimally been sited at Ravenna, Constantinople / Istanbul, Aachen / Aix, Salerno, Avignon, Moscow, Paris, and Vienna.

During the modern colonial period "India" was also found everywhere: in India, Ethiopia, the Caribbean Americas ("West Indies"), Indonesia ("East Indies") and Southeast Asia.

Guinea / Ghana / Guiana is another wandering colonial place name.

The bird we call the "turkey" is often given a foreign geographical designation, being called "dinde" (or some equivalent meaning "bird of India") in many languages (including Turkish); "peru" in Portuguese (and in parts of India); "bird of  Egypt" in Macedonian; "Dutch bird" in Malaysia; some derivative of "bird from Calicut" (India) in Dutch and the Scandinavian languages; "French chicken" in Scottish Gaelic; and "bird of India", "bird of Ethiopia" "bird of Greece" or "bird of Rum" in Arabic dialects .  (Note that Rome shows up again: "Rum" = "Rome" = "Turkey").

Update from Online etymology:
The turkey reached Europe via Spain and was called "turkey" in imitation of the guinea fowl, which originally was called a turkey-bird because it had reached the West through Turkey (though originally from Africa).

According to this theory, the attributions to "India" really meant "The Indies" (= America). This would not explain the attributions to Calicut, however, and one wonders whether the Ottomans, who had direct contact with India, would confuse America with India. (In Turkish the turkey is Indian). I don't think that Spanish transmission from Mexico and Peru, via India first and then the Ottoman Empire, can be excluded.

The online etymology does verify that the turkey was well established as an English holiday meal by 1575, 45 years earlier than the founding of first English settlement in North America.


"Rome" in Romanian:

The list of words in the modern Romanian language derived from the word  “Rome” is quite a motley one. (Note that “Rumanian” and “Romanian” have entirely different meanings):

"Rom": Gypsy; rum.

"Roman": Roman; novel , novellette, serialized story.

"Romanşă": Romansch (Swiss dialect).

"Român": Romanian (n, adj) .

"Română": Romanian (language).

"Rumân": Serf, villein, peasant.

"Rumânie": Serfdom, villeinage, peasant dependency.


(Andrei Bantaş. Dicţionar Român-Englez, Teora, Bucareşti, 1995.)


Turkey wiki
Online etymology of English "turkey"
Linguist List on the names of the turkey



All original material copyright John J. Emerson 

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