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

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 20 21:30:33 EDT 2017


What makes you think it happened in Africa?

The lady was only *from* Niger.

JL



On Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 9:25 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:

> "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"?
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> -------------------
>
> 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%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaa
> aaaa%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%
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> 8Cqaa%2BEtsiYgTJPhFjx6buTmr5fueTLqnt6a7fWRkEs%3D&reserved=0
> > >>>>>>>
> > >>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> > >>>>>>> The American Dialect Society - https://nam01.safelinks.
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> > >>>>>>>
> > >>>>>>>
> > >>>>>>> --
> > >>>>>> "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=
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> > >>>> **********************************************************
> > >>>>
> > >>>>
> > >>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
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> > >>>>
> > >>>>
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >> --
> > >> **********************************************************
> > >> 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%
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> 4fe3MHkcyUIlk%3D&reserved=0
> > >> **********************************************************
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> ------------------------------------------------------------
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> > >>
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > --
> > > "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
> > truth."
> > >
> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
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-- 
"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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