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Avian misnomers (1 Viewer)

alanc

Just an earthbound misfit
England
hi Guys

I make that 18 species so far

#19 Moorhen. Should be Waterhen - not a moorland bird

cheers alan
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
hi Guys

I make that 18 species so far

#19 Moorhen. Should be Waterhen - not a moorland bird

cheers alan
Reputed to be a distortion of mot-hen (moat hen, basically) - completely accurate.

Turtle Dove - onomatopoeic - tur-tur - completely accurate.

Stygian is a synonym for dark or blackish, as is the owl - completely accurate.

This thread says more about modern education than bird names.

Bohemian for Waxwing is a scandal however. Fortunately, as for Robin and Blackbird, a prefix is unnecessary.

John
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Reputed to be a distortion of mot-hen (moat hen, basically) - completely accurate.

Turtle Dove - onomatopoeic - tur-tur - completely accurate.

Stygian is a synonym for dark or blackish, as is the owl - completely accurate.

This thread says more about modern education than bird names.

Bohemian for Waxwing is a scandal however. Fortunately, as for Robin and Blackbird, a prefix is unnecessary.

John
Yes, there are reasons for common names, which with a bit of exploring, can turn out completely appropriate.

Colours - Purple Sandpiper is fine in my opinion, even if 'Beautifully Subtle Browny-grey Sandpiper' were to be more accurate, it would be a bit of a mouthful. No-one is expecting it to look like a Purple M and M.
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
Reputed to be a distortion of mot-hen (moat hen, basically) - completely accurate.

Turtle Dove - onomatopoeic - tur-tur - completely accurate.

Stygian is a synonym for dark or blackish, as is the owl - completely accurate.

This thread says more about modern education than bird names.

Bohemian for Waxwing is a scandal however. Fortunately, as for Robin and Blackbird, a prefix is unnecessary.

John

How is a prefix unnecessary? There are multiple species of Waxwings, Robins and Blackbirds around the world. Some of them can even plausibly occur in the UK as vagrants, you need to have different names for them.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
How is a prefix unnecessary? There are multiple species of Waxwings, Robins and Blackbirds around the world. Some of them can even plausibly occur in the UK as vagrants, you need to have different names for them.
They have different names. Waxwing, Cedar Waxwing, Japanese Waxwing. You may wish to discuss which is the least accurate, but they are all different names. English usage for what foreigners are pleased to misname European Robin is Robin. You will not find any other name in English poetry, literature or across a robin-stroker's breakfast table.* It's a Robin. Every other copy/imitation/analogue/subsequent discovery requires a qualifier.

John

* Or Christmas card.
 
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opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
They have different names. Waxwing, Cedar Waxwing, Japanese Waxwing. You may wish to discuss which is the least accurate, but they are all different names. English usage for what foreigners are pleased to misname European Robin is Robin. You will not find any other name in English poetry, literature or across a robin-stroker's breakfast table. It's a Robin. Every other copy/imitation/analogue/subsequent discovery requires a qualifier.

John

That's a terrible approach to language and would make it completely unnecessarily complicated. If you call the bird in question "Bohemian Waxwing", then you can use "a waxwing" in the sense of "any of the waxwings" and so on for the others. I am aware that the English nomenclature does not actively follow the systematic genus-species system, but when it does to at least some extent, why actively sabotage it?
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
That's a terrible approach to language and would make it completely unnecessarily complicated. If you call the bird in question "Bohemian Waxwing", then you can use "a waxwing" in the sense of "any of the waxwings" and so on for the others. I am aware that the English nomenclature does not actively follow the systematic genus-species system, but when it does to at least some extent, why actively sabotage it?
I'm not sabotaging it and it's not "an approach to language" - it is language. That's normal English usage. Everywhere in Britain a Robin is a Robin and is totally understood (because Joe Public doesn't know about Black Bush-robin, Rufous-tailed Robin, American Robin or any other bird with a qualifier and wouldn't care if they did).

The scientific establishment correctly identifies these as English vernacular names but then tries to impose something different. They've no business to, that's what scientific names are for. It's a good example of how to be utterly ineffective.

And you can still write "a waxwing" as a noun for one of the group rather than the proper noun of Waxwing for - well, Waxwing. :ROFLMAO: That is also normal English usage. Call them what you like in Czech or Polish. We don't talk about Deutschland, either: it's Germany in English usage (and we're not the only ones, the French talk about Allemagne).

John
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Hi john
its only a bit of fun - don't take it too seriously

cheers alan
This is only me having my bit of fun, don't spoil it.

A moment's seriousness: what makes any names work is stability and changing something's name for any reason at all is fundamentally unhelpful to the creation of understanding between individuals and across communities.

John
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
re - use of Bohemian in waxwings - wouldn't dream of using it in real life! As an exercise in international bird lists not such a problem.

There is a certain amount of somethingness about all this. Using Grey Heron = good. Using Heron as a bird name = really bad ;-) But not wishing to continue the digression too much.
 

Lerxst

Well-known member
I have always been amused by the names of Northern (and Southern) Beardless Tyrannulet. As if there are "Bearded Tyrannulets" out there that they stand in constrast to.
 

aeshna5

Well-known member
Is a wetland in a forest still "marsh" in English or not? Here in Poland we have a lot this kind of habitat where you have deep mud, peat and small water bodies in a forest and Marsh tits love that.
I'd probably call that wet woodland as marshes tend to be more open, but over here they are more birds of drier deciduous woods- though there may be some wet patches. Always associate Willow Tits more with the type of habitat you describe, though they've long gone from my corner (south-east) of England.
 

birdmeister

Well-known member
United States
Common Nighthawk is commonly touted a misnomer. Although they will migrate at night, they feed mainly in late afternoon/dusk. I guess they used to be more common than now, but the "hawk" part is just plain error!
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
I'd probably call that wet woodland as marshes tend to be more open, but over here they are more birds of drier deciduous woods- though there may be some wet patches. Always associate Willow Tits more with the type of habitat you describe, though they've long gone from my corner (south-east) of England.

Interestingly in the Czech Republic, Willow tit is more connected with coniferous forest, often in mountains and Marsh tit is more of a lowland swamp bird. Here in Poland, I see (hear) both in any natural site around usualy.
 

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