"lanechtskipt" < "langnekschip"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Nov 13 01:09:07 UTC 2013



On Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 6:22 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      "lanechtskipt" < "langnekschip"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> With compliments to Dan Goncharoff, who wrote:  "
> Thought from left field -- could "Lanecht--skipt" be "long-neck
> ship-(of-the-desert)" ".  (I discard his suggestion of "giraffe").
> I now hypothesize "langnekschip" as the origin
> for "lanechtskipt".  The scenario:
> A Dutch sea captain brought a camel to the
> entrepôt of Boston, and sold it to a Bostonian
> for exhibition.  The captain described it as a
> "langnek schip van de woestijn" ("long-necked
> ship of the desert"), employing the then-common
> metaphor.  Burlesson perhaps wanted in the 1730s
> to pretend what he then had was the first of its
> kind, and needing to choose a name other than
> "camel" simplified to "langnekschip" by omitting
> the prepositional phrase.  When he presented his
> petition orally to Bromfield, he slurred the
> pronunciation, and it got transcribed as
> "lanechtskipt" -- "langnek" pronounced "lannekt"
> ("ng-n" into "n-n") and "schip" pronounced
> "skipt" (both parts being pronounced with a hard C and a suffixed "-t"
> sound).
> -----
> Notes:
> My Dutch correspondent writes, with respect to
> perhaps the most problematic pronunciation
> question:  "The skip/schip change is more than
> plausible, as one of the Dutch dialects still
> does that -- as a matter of fact it is one of the
> fishing/sailing areas (around the island of Urk -- I didn't make that
> up!)."
> I assume that Burlesson used "lanechtskipt" only
> in the early 1730s.  In the 1721 and 1739
> advertisements, the only years before 1789 that
> camels were advertised, it was called a "camel".
> "Nek" is one word for "neck" in Dutch, although
> "hals" may be more common today.
> The transcriber, being more familiar with German
> than Dutch, took what he heard as "ekt" and spelled it "echt".
> The variety of camel exhibited was almost
> certainly the dromedary.  The 1721 camel "arrived
> from Africa", the 1739 camel came "from the
> Deserts of Arabia", both areas of
> dromedaries.  (The Bactrian is native to central
> Asia, and is much rarer.)  Dromedaries have long
> enough necks to be described as "long-necked".
> Finally, one does not have to suppose that
> "lanechtskipt" is a mistranscription from the
> manuscript; it could have been what was actually written.
> Joel
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