"lanechtskipt" =? "landish-ship"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Nov 12 20:54:40 UTC 2013

At 11/12/2013 12:34 PM, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
>Thought from left field -- could "Lanecht--skipt" be "long-neck
>ship-(of-the-desert)" = giraffe?

Not so left field, I think.

"Nek" is one Dutch word for "neck" ("hals" is another).  If the
speaker slurred or the listener misheard and the transcriber
miswrote, then "lange nek schip van de woestijn" (originally spoken
by the Dutch ship captain when he sold the camel to the Boston
exhibitor) might have been simplified (omitting the prepositional
phrase) for use by the exhibitor as the name for the animal, and
become "lanechtskipt".

This is more straightforward than "Land-echt-schip" = "true ship of
the sand/desert", avoiding the complication of dragging in "echt" and
the problematic equaion of "Land" with "desert".  I now prefer
"langnekschip" as the origin for our "lanechtskipt".

However, the animal cannot have been a giraffe.  If it had, it would
have been a sensation, and written about (and advertised) in
contemporary newspapers and books and by later historians.  Wikipedia
says that a giraffe was presented to Lorenzo de' Medici in 1486, yet
still "Another famous giraffe was brought from Egypt to Paris in the
early 19th century. A sensation, the giraffe was the subject of
numerous memorabilia or "giraffanalia".  Rather, the neck of a camel
seems long enough to merit "langnek".


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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