Mumbai/Bombay article

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Jul 16 18:38:43 UTC 2006

>Portuguese is a language with grammatical gender. "Bom Bahía" is
>imposible. It would have to be "Bõa Bahía." So, forget that WAG. And
>is there an actual word "baim" in Portuguese?

Good points IMHO. Sometimes "Bombay" is said to be derived from Portuguese
"boa baia" ... but then why the "m"? In Portuguese it's "Bombaim", I think
... so why the two "m"s? [I omit the diacritics.]

Maybe there is some possible explanation: maybe Portuguese was pronounced
differently way back when, or there were different dialects, or something.

Leaving aside the origin and pronunciation of the Portuguese name of the
place, if the name was interpreted early ('correctly' or not) as "boa baia"
or equivalent, I think maybe the French equivalent "bonne baie" might could
give just about the right sound for English "Bombay"; I don't know enough
about conditions of the time to guess whether this is possibly relevant.

I don't know of an appropriate "baim" and I don't see one at a glance.
Which don't mean much.

-- Doug Wilson

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
Version: 7.1.394 / Virus Database: 268.10.1/389 - Release Date: 7/14/2006

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list