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Renaming all North American Birds

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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 15:18   #101
Sangahyando
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The Dutch name for White-rumped Swift was changed recently. Look at the scientific name and you may guess why. I was attacked by some for suggesting this name needed changing at first, partly because many Dutch birders were not aware that this name was offensive.
In other languages, the word "Kaffer" doesn't necessarily have such strong negative connotations as in Dutch/Afrikaans (or in Arabic, where it probably originated from).


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One could try to get BirdLife to rename Coal Tit into Carbon-neutral Tit.
Only if they also rechristen "Great Tit" to "Garden Shrike".


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Not forgetting that the English language has absorbed and appropriated most (all?) of its words from elsewhere.
It has certainly absorbed an unusual amount of "foreign" words (IIRC more than 50%, mostly Old French and Latin), however it's not "all", not by a long stretch.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 15:25   #102
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One could try to get BirdLife to rename Coal Tit into Carbon-neutral Tit.
While you're at it, please also suggest to change the generic name of all Paridae to Chickadee. A Tufted Titmouse isn't a big-breasted little mammal at all.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 16:53   #103
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It has certainly absorbed an unusual amount of "foreign" words (IIRC more than 50%, mostly Old French and Latin), however it's not "all", not by a long stretch.
The 'all' was a bit tongue-in-cheek, as well, what was used, by whom, before the Anglo-Saxons came along ...?

As far as I understand the language has continued to be very adept at adding new words from other cultures/areas ... India/Polynesia etc. Maybe less so nowadays but then abbreviation, slang and techno-speak have taken over?


In the old Collins (Heinzel, Fitter and Parslow) I still fondly recall Waldrapp and Sprosser ...
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 17:04   #104
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Not forgetting that the English language has absorbed and appropriated most (all?) of its words from elsewhere.



+1 for Fan-tailed Warbler! I'd resisted posting on that one so far.

I think there's a balance between things that need to be changed (not many), and unnecessary changes. I still want to use Dabchick sometimes.
You're point?
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 17:16   #105
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You're point?
Language (and grammar and spelling) change? The English language contains lots of 'foreign' words already?
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 17:27   #106
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Language (and grammar and spelling) change? The English language contains lots of 'foreign' words already?
Many bird names are descrptive to one degree or another whether it be colour, shape, habit or the sound they make, what do you learn of the birds habits or appearance if the name is in a native tongue?

It's just another patronising, liberal act of appeasement in many cases.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 17:36   #107
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I like a lot of these names, as they are unique and memorable.

Also, I doubt anyone my age or younger would consider Harlequin obscure nowadays, thanks to DC comics.
I like a lot of those names as well. Additionally, something being heritage or obscure shouldn't be a reason for further obscuring it. Perhaps instead we should require some of the ignorant whose ignorance is being touted as the reason for updates to educate themselves instead of us knuckling under while they are knuckling along in ignorance.

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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 17:40   #108
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Many bird names are descrptive to one degree or another whether it be colour, shape, habit or the sound they make, what do you learn of the birds habits or appearance if the name is in a native tongue?

It's just another patronising, liberal act of appeasement in many cases.
Just to be clear (there's several topics going on at once here) - what is it that you are talking about here - the renaming of some birds in N America, possibly, the renaming of all Hawaian birds, or something else? If these birds aren't native in England/UK does that not matter as much? (Living in the UK I'm not really entitled to have a huge say in what goes on elsewhere?)

I'd agree that just changing names for PC reasons willy-nilly wrong.

Anyone mentioned Oldsquaw yet?
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 17:46   #109
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You people call Zitting Cisticola "Fan-tailed Warbler"? There seems to be a completely different New World Warbler of that name, isn't it confusing?
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 18:01   #110
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Originally Posted by dantheman View Post
Just to be clear (there's several topics going on at once here) - what is it that you are talking about here - the renaming of some birds in N America, possibly, the renaming of all Hawaian birds, or something else? If these birds aren't native in England/UK does that not matter as much? (Living in the UK I'm not really entitled to have a huge say in what goes on elsewhere?)

I'd agree that just changing names for PC reasons willy-nilly wrong.

Anyone mentioned Oldsquaw yet?
Isn't that a perfect example of what I suggested? I assume that this is a name which has been translated from a Native, North American language, anyone know the original form?

It would probably fail on grounds of both ageism and sexism these days.

For the record, I'm speaking of all, non English names (with a very few, long established exceptions) on a list which is supposed to be in the English language.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 18:04   #111
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You people call Zitting Cisticola "Fan-tailed Warbler"? There seems to be a completely different New World Warbler of that name, isn't it confusing?
Back when it was always a warbler - it's in Europe. It's true that it's actually a cisticola and there is a bird with the same name. So it got officially 'changed' a decade or two back ... but old habits die hard!

(Zitting as in the sound of the song, but a 'zit' is also an ugly white puss filled spot (aka whitehead), commonly occurring as a blemish on the face of a teenager.)
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 18:08   #112
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Isn't that a perfect example of what I suggested? I assume that this is a name which has been translated from a Native, North American language, anyone know the original form?

It would probably fail on grounds of both ageism and sexism these days.

For the record, I'm speaking of all, non English names (with a very few, long established exceptions) on a list which is supposed to be in the English language.
Oldsquaw was deemed derogatory, yes, so changed to the relatively boring European 'Long-tailed Duck'. For good reason though apparently - see eg https://ourfinefeatheredfriends.com/tag/oldsquaw/

To be honest, I doubt many on that list are going to change real soon - there may be one or two in time.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 18:08   #113
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You people call Zitting Cisticola "Fan-tailed Warbler"? There seems to be a completely different New World Warbler of that name, isn't it confusing?
Not really, that's what the scientific name is there for is it not and don't forget, not everyone 'birds' around the World. It's a lot more confusing when one bird has three names, even some recent splits, have two names already.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 18:16   #114
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Originally Posted by dantheman View Post
Back when it was always a warbler - it's in Europe. It's true that it's actually a cisticola and there is a bird with the same name. So it got officially 'changed' a decade or two back ... but old habits die hard!

(Zitting as in the sound of the song, but a 'zit' is also an ugly white puss filled spot (aka whitehead), commonly occurring as a blemish on the face of a teenager.)
Not only a teenager, I am 38 this year and there is no sign of slowdown in the zitting :)
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 18:20   #115
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(Zitting as in the sound of the song, but a 'zit' is also an ugly white puss filled spot (aka whitehead), commonly occurring as a blemish on the face of a teenager.)
No English dictionary contains the word 'zitting'. There is only fitting, sitting, hitting, pitting and zing. Zitting could be a loanword from Dutch, where it means 'meeting/sitting'. Does Zitting Cisticola visit meetings a lot? A case to change the word.

https://www.lexico.com/search?utf8=%...&query=zitting

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While you're at it, please also suggest to change the generic name of all Paridae to Chickadee. A Tufted Titmouse isn't a big-breasted little mammal at all.
I thought ornithologists oppose changing bird names just because the language changed. Tit used to be a generic world for something little.

If you oppose tit, what about Willie Wagtail?

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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 18:57   #116
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No English dictionary contains the word 'zitting'. There is only fitting, sitting, hitting, pitting and zing. Zitting could be a loanword from Dutch, where it means 'meeting/sitting'. Does Zitting Cisticola visit meetings a lot? A case to change the word.
I doubt that you'll find many of the terms which are used in ornithological parlance or literature to describe bird calls, in a dictionary. Zitting, does as far as I've always known, refer to the sound the bird makes.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 19:52   #117
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Well, a zit is a term for a blackhead (are we still allowed to say that?) so is a Zitting Cisticola an aviating mass of pustules? No, of course not. It's simple onomatopoeia. But it's a Fan-tailed Warbler, anyway.

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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 20:37   #118
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One could try to get BirdLife to rename Coal Tit into Carbon-neutral Tit.
Except that originally, it was named after the ancient eye cosmetic kohl, a black eye-liner; the word originally comes from Arabic, However, the homonym 'coal' was substituted in written English. It does survive in German as Kohlmeise, but that is a Great Tit... Coal Tit is Tannenmeise...

Kohl was obtained by grinding down the mineral stibnite, which is mostly antimony sulphide. In UK, charcoal was used for the same purpose - well, it was cheaper...!
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 20:53   #119
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If you oppose tit, what about Willie Wagtail?
Jurek, my proposal was just as serious as your Carbon-neutral Tit.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 20:56   #120
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While you're at it, please also suggest to change the generic name of all Paridae to Chickadee. A Tufted Titmouse isn't a big-breasted little mammal at all.
I suspect that one will go tits-up
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 21:01   #121
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Seriously, I think we can all agree that some of the old names were better than their replacements, but some of the new names are also good, and sometimes better than the old ones.

Ideally a name should be concise, descriptive and mellifluous. Rosy Starling scores over Rose-coloured on two counts and draws on the other. I would hold that e.g. Rosy Gull would also score over Ross’s Gull on two counts.

Edit: I was of course mainly talking in a UK context here.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 21:05   #122
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Jurek, my proposal was just as serious as your Carbon-neutral Tit.


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It does survive in German as Kohlmeise, but that is a Great Tit...
It should be renamed in German in honor of the late Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Kohlmeise is bossy in behaviour, well known, well liked and also the heaviest of all native Paridae.

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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 21:08   #123
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Seriously, I think we can all agree that some of the old names were better than their replacements, but some of the new names are also good, and sometimes better than the old ones.

Ideally a name should be concise, descriptive and mellifluous. Rosy Starling scores over Rose-coloured on two counts and draws on the other. I would hold that e.g. Rosy Gull would also score over Ross’s Gull on two counts.

Edit: I was of course mainly talking in a UK context here.
Well, in a UK context you could have the best (or worst) of both worlds by calling it a Wossy Gull.

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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 21:19   #124
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It should be renamed in German in honor of the late Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Kohlmeise is bossy in behaviour, well known, well liked and also the heaviest of all native Paridae.
Some might argue that the biggest tit is currently in office in another country altogether ...
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 21:20   #125
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Well, in a UK context you could have the best (or worst) of both worlds by calling it a Wossy Gull.

John
Surely you mean Wussy Gull.

(Which is probably what they look like when encountering Ivory Gulls )

Edit: New question - what size of skua can stand up to an Ivory Gull?

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