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

Chris Waigl chris at LASCRIBE.NET
Sat Oct 21 20:52:12 EDT 2017


In my English book in school, where I first encountered this limerick,
the young lady was from Riga. I understand that in the original it was
Niger, right? Anyway, I don't know if the substitution was to repair the
rhyme or to be less racist, or for zoological proximity, but I think
it's better.

Chris


On 10/20/17 9:38 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>  > "A tiger?!!  In Africa??!!"
>
> In 1887, yes.
>
>
>
> 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%
>> 7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636441450767477160&sdata=
>> 8Cqaa%2BEtsiYgTJPhFjx6buTmr5fueTLqnt6a7fWRkEs%3D&reserved=0
>>>>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>>>> The American Dialect Society - https://nam01.safelinks.
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>> 7C01%7Cbrowncg%40HOTMAIL.COM%7C4d545cfc4d3f41e94aa708d51820a0ba%
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>> 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%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaa
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>> 4fe3MHkcyUIlk%3D&reserved=0
>>>>>>> **********************************************************
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>> The American Dialect Society - https://nam01.safelinks.
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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."
>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> The American Dialect Society - https://nam01.safelinks.
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>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
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>>
>> --=20
>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>>
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>
>

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