[Ads-l] [Non-DoD Source] "Niger" or "Niger"?

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 20 21:25:17 EDT 2017


"A tiger?!!  In Africa??!!"<https://youtu.be/oLdk2C25Z14?t=65>

________________________________
From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2017 6:10:42 PM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: [Non-DoD Source] "Niger" or "Niger"?

---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Re: [Non-DoD Source] "Niger" or "Niger"?
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And how could we forget...

There was a young lady from Niger,
Who went out to ride on a tiger.
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside,
And a smile on the face of the tiger.

(GB:1887)

PS: The only reason "Canadiens" doesn't look as weird in English as
"Nigeriens" is because it's so closely associated with "Montreal."

Anyway, I'm now opting for "Nye-ger" and "Nye-GEER-iun."

JL

On Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 8:18 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
wrote:

> > On Oct 20, 2017, at 7:30 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> wrote:
> >
> > You'll be pleased to know that whatever her ultimate DNA
>
> Armenian, I=E2=80=99m guessing
>
> > , Karoun Demirjian
> > is a 100% U.S. American and Harvard grad (cum laude), who has no trace =
of
> > any pesky foreign accent.
> >
> > JL
> >
> > On Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 6:29 PM, Salikoko S. Mufwene <mufw at uchicago.edu=
>
> > wrote:
> >
> >> Thanks to JL and WB (whose full name I've never seen) for their
> >> informative responses. I must point out that the connection (apparentl=
y
> >> accidental) between /Niger /and the N-word is only in the written
> modality,
> >> not in the spoken forms heard on TV or radio broadcasts. I found it a
> >> little bit bizarre that some connection was established at all between
> the
> >> two words. Of the etymologies I just googled, the Tuareg alternative
> >> (related to the perhaps indigenous name for the Niger River) sounds mo=
re
> >> plausible historically than that tracing it to Latin. (If this were th=
e
> >> case, the French could have named many of their African colonies
> likewise!)
> >> There's even one that goes to Greek, through Ptolomy's writing,
> although I
> >> wonder whether Ptolomy knew of the region. Well, curiosity can take us
> in
> >> all sorts of directions.
> >>
> >> Below is the etymology passage from Wikitionary:
> >> Commonly linked by folk etymology to Latin niger (=E2=80=9Cblack=E2=80=
=9D), which likely
> >> influenced the modern spelling. Some sources give the term to Tuareg
> roots,
> >> deriving it from a claimed gher n-gheren or egereou n-igereouen (=E2=
=80=9Criver
> of
> >> rivers=E2=80=9D).[1][2] Older sources derive Niger via a series of
> mistranslations
> >> and geographic misplacements by Greek, Roman and Arab geographers, fro=
m
> >> Ptolemy's descriptions of the valley Gir (a wadi in modern Algeria), a=
nd
> >> the "Lower Gir" (or "Ni-Gir") to the south.[3]
> >>
> >>
> >> On 10/20/2017 4:16 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> >>
> >>> Dear Sali,
> >>>
> >>> As soon as I recognized the phonetic near-identity of "Nee-jur" and
> >>> "knee-jerk" (which was immediately), I thought it would be trivially
> >>> amusing (and marginally clarifying) to point out the meaningless
> >>> similarity.
> >>>
> >>> I promise I had no ulterior motive except a spirit of fun. More
> seriously,
> >>> I find the surprisingly various attempts to pronounce "Niger"
> correctly in
> >>> English fascinating.  At one point I was aware of only one version.
> Then
> >>> there were two. Now there are several. Which one will have the most
> >>> staying
> >>> power?
> >>>
> >>> I can think of several likely pronunciations of "Nigerien" (which loo=
ks
> >>> very odd in English) but must admit I've heard only two (both in the
> last
> >>> 24 hrs.):
> >>>
> >>> Nee-ZHAIR-iun
> >>>
> >>> Nye-ZHEER-iun
> >>>
> >>> The latter differs by only one phoneme from "Nigerian."
> >>>
> >>> JL
> >>>
> >>> On Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 3:58 PM, Salikoko S. Mufwene <
> mufw at uchicago.edu>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Dear JL:
> >>>>
> >>>> I suspect that for a lot of Americans this is the year when Niger is
> >>>> discussed on TV for, let's say, the first time and when they can try
> to
> >>>> situate on the map. There's variation in perception and reproduction
> of
> >>>> unfamiliar names, isn't there? When you also add the comparison with
> >>>> "knee-jerk," I start wondering whether you are making fun of the
> >>>> French-based pronunciation or of  the speaker's pronunciation. At th=
e
> >>>> beginning of this thread, I had the impression that people were just
> >>>> interested in the non-Anglo pronunciation of the country name... and
> we
> >>>> have long come past that academic discussion!
> >>>>
> >>>> Sali.
> >>>>
> >>>> On 10/20/2017 12:12 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>> Pronunciation by WaPo journalist Karoun Demirjian on CNN:
> >>>>>
> >>>>> NEE-jur.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Cf. "knee-jerk."
> >>>>>
> >>>>> JL
> >>>>>
> >>>>> On Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 9:22 AM, Jonathan Lighter <
> >>>>> wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com
> >>>>> wrote:
> >>>>>
> >>>>> April Ryan, award-winning White House correspondent.
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> BTW, the given name "Ryan" is now unisex: (Ms.) Ryan Manion (b.
> >>>>>> ca.1977?):
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> <http://goog_153042178>
> >>>>>> https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.travismanion.org%2Four-story%2Ftmf-staff-and-board%2F&data=02%7C01%7Cbrowncg%40HOTMAIL.COM%7C4d545cfc4d3f41e94aa708d51820a0ba%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636441450767477160&sdata=zAZHLdGV2G%2FnSHs4dlwgyFKFZWqNGOYLBH%2BXqkgDEZk%3D&reserved=0
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> board-of-directors/ryan-manion-board/
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> JL
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> On Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 3:59 AM, Stanton McCandlish <
> >>>>>> smccandlish at gmail.com
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> wrote:
> >>>>>>> I've never encountered "Nigerian" for "a native of Niger", only
> for "a
> >>>>>>> native of Nigeria"; I would think trying to use it for both would
> be
> >>>>>>> fatally ambiguous, thus "Nigerien".
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> I've lately heard (in the US anyway) a lot of radio and TV people
> >>>>>>> taking
> >>>>>>> extra care to try (often farcically) to approximate French and
> Spanish
> >>>>>>> proper name pronunciations, starting in the 1990s (and probably
> >>>>>>> radiating
> >>>>>>> out from the American Southwest).  This has included
> pronunciations of
> >>>>>>> the
> >>>>>>> names of some other former French colonies, e.g. Montserrat witho=
ut
> >>>>>>> the
> >>>>>>> "t"
> >>>>>>> sounds and with a nasalized "n".  I would think that eagerness to
> >>>>>>> avoid
> >>>>>>> anything like the pronunciation of the N-word is behind rapid
> >>>>>>> re-adoption
> >>>>>>> of "knee-ZHAIR" in English, but it's actually part of a broader
> >>>>>>> pattern
> >>>>>>> (cf. someone else's comment about C=C3=B4te d'Ivoire).
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> See also ready Western adoption of Beijing, Mumbai, and other
> changes
> >>>>>>> to
> >>>>>>> some Asian placename transliterations to be more accurate, and
> >>>>>>> increased
> >>>>>>> appearance of the proper diacritics on many names in modern
> newspapers
> >>>>>>> which used to eschew them entirely or almost entirely (I remember
> one
> >>>>>>> journalism style guide permitted them for Spanish and French but =
no
> >>>>>>> others).  Also been seeing a lot of Dao De Jing (even Daodejing),
> Mao
> >>>>>>> Zedong, Laozi, etc., where once we had Tao Te Ching, Mao Tse Tung
> or
> >>>>>>> Mao
> >>>>>>> Tse-tung, and Lao Tzu or Lao Tze.
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> All of these proper-naming shifts seem to have happened over a
> single
> >>>>>>> generation, from the 1980s to 2000s, and are being pushed top-dow=
n
> by
> >>>>>>> publishers, not bottom-up by "the common folk". Most of the shift=
s
> I
> >>>>>>> notice
> >>>>>>> are bottom-up ones, like turning "e-mail" into "email", inverting
> the
> >>>>>>> meaning of "comprise", accepting "less" as applying to count noun=
s
> >>>>>>> ("15
> >>>>>>> items or less"), and treating "bad" and "good" as synonymous with
> >>>>>>> "poor"
> >>>>>>> and "well", respectively, in the performance senses ("She speaks
> >>>>>>> English
> >>>>>>> really good").
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> On the other hand, the British war against punctuation, especiall=
y
> the
> >>>>>>> period and comma, is a two-way affair, pushed aggressively by the
> UK
> >>>>>>> newspaper industry and also loved by youths, who hate all those
> fiddly
> >>>>>>> punctuation rules and were already ignoring them. It's resisted b=
y
> >>>>>>> British
> >>>>>>> academic publishers and by regular people over about 35.  But I
> >>>>>>> digress.
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> --
> >>>>>>> Stanton McCandlish
> >>>>>>> McCandlish Consulting
> >>>>>>> 4001 San Leandro St
> >>>>>>> Suite 28
> >>>>>>> Oakland  CA 94601-4055
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> +1 415 234 3992
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.linkedin.com%2Fin%2FSMcCandlish&data=02%7C01%7Cbrowncg%40HOTMAIL.COM%7C4d545cfc4d3f41e94aa708d51820a0ba%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636441450767477160&sdata=8Cqaa%2BEtsiYgTJPhFjx6buTmr5fueTLqnt6a7fWRkEs%3D&reserved=0
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >>>>>>> The American Dialect Society - https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.americandialect.org&data=02%7C01%7Cbrowncg%40HOTMAIL.COM%7C4d545cfc4d3f41e94aa708d51820a0ba%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636441450767477160&sdata=6xh0%2BhQe6NjRWqDm%2Fpu16sIb9vWQPGNYOkMnlwQRbNg%3D&reserved=0
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> --
> >>>>>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle th=
e
> >>>>>> truth."
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>> --
> >>>> **********************************************************
> >>>> Salikoko S. Mufwene                    s-mufwene at uchicago.edu
> >>>> The Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistic=
s
> and
> >>>> the College
> >>>> Professor, Committee on Evolutionary Biology
> >>>> Professor, Committee on the Conceptual & Historical Studies of Scien=
ce
> >>>> University of Chicago                  773-702-8531; FAX 773-834-092=
4
> >>>> Department of Linguistics
> >>>> 1115 East 58th Street
> >>>> Chicago, IL 60637, USA
> >>>> https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fmufwene.uchicago.edu%2F&data=02%7C01%7Cbrowncg%40HOTMAIL.COM%7C4d545cfc4d3f41e94aa708d51820a0ba%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636441450767477160&sdata=abfvpJw1ay6uJFtFfYlyMJvPRaMcQy4fe3MHkcyUIlk%3D&reserved=0
> >>>> **********************************************************
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >>>> The American Dialect Society - https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.americandialect.org&data=02%7C01%7Cbrowncg%40HOTMAIL.COM%7C4d545cfc4d3f41e94aa708d51820a0ba%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636441450767477160&sdata=6xh0%2BhQe6NjRWqDm%2Fpu16sIb9vWQPGNYOkMnlwQRbNg%3D&reserved=0
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >> --
> >> **********************************************************
> >> Salikoko S. Mufwene                    s-mufwene at uchicago.edu
> >> The Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics
> and
> >> the College
> >> Professor, Committee on Evolutionary Biology
> >> Professor, Committee on the Conceptual & Historical Studies of Science
> >> University of Chicago                  773-702-8531; FAX 773-834-0924
> >> Department of Linguistics
> >> 1115 East 58th Street
> >> Chicago, IL 60637, USA
> >> https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fmufwene.uchicago.edu%2F&data=02%7C01%7Cbrowncg%40HOTMAIL.COM%7C4d545cfc4d3f41e94aa708d51820a0ba%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636441450767477160&sdata=abfvpJw1ay6uJFtFfYlyMJvPRaMcQy4fe3MHkcyUIlk%3D&reserved=0
> >> **********************************************************
> >>
> >>
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >> The American Dialect Society - https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.americandialect.org&data=02%7C01%7Cbrowncg%40HOTMAIL.COM%7C4d545cfc4d3f41e94aa708d51820a0ba%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636441450767477160&sdata=6xh0%2BhQe6NjRWqDm%2Fpu16sIb9vWQPGNYOkMnlwQRbNg%3D&reserved=0
> >>
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
> truth."
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.americandialect.org&data=02%7C01%7Cbrowncg%40HOTMAIL.COM%7C4d545cfc4d3f41e94aa708d51820a0ba%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636441450767477160&sdata=6xh0%2BhQe6NjRWqDm%2Fpu16sIb9vWQPGNYOkMnlwQRbNg%3D&reserved=0
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.americandialect.org&data=02%7C01%7Cbrowncg%40HOTMAIL.COM%7C4d545cfc4d3f41e94aa708d51820a0ba%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636441450767477160&sdata=6xh0%2BhQe6NjRWqDm%2Fpu16sIb9vWQPGNYOkMnlwQRbNg%3D&reserved=0
>



--=20
"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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