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Aardvarks

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grizzly
100237.  Fri Oct 06, 2006 5:47 pm Reply with quote

The word aardvark is often claimed to be the first noun in the English dictionary. However, there are 3 nouns that preceed aardvark in the OED. These are:

Quote:
aa = a stream

aal = a plant of India from which a dye is made

aam = a cask for Rhenish wine holding 37 gallons


(thanks to suze there for the access to the OED's info)

There are plenty of other interesting pieces of information about the aardvark.

The word aardvark originates from Afrikaans/Dutch from the words meaning Earth Pig. The aardvark is in not closely related to any pig, or for that matter any other animal. It now occupies its own genus and is unrelated to the South American anteater.

Quote:
The Aardbark is the only surviving member of the family Orycteropodidae and of the order Tubulidentata. The Aardvark was originally placed in the same genus as the South American anteaters because of superficial similarities which, it is now known, are the result of convergent evolution, not common ancestry. For the same reason, Aardvarks bear a striking first-glance resemblance to the marsupial bandicoots, bilbies, and numbats of Australasia, which are not placental mammals at all. The Aardvark is now placed in its own genus, Orycteropus.

The oldest known Tubulidentata fossils have been found in Kenya and date to the early Miocene. Although the relationships of Tubulidentata are unknown, they are probably ungulates. They spread to Europe and southern Asia during the later Miocene and early Pliocene periods. Two other genera of the family Orycteropodidae are known besides the extant one: Leptorycteropus and Myorycteropus. A genus from Madagascar may be related to them, called Plesiorycteropus.

In the past, several individual species of Aardvark were named, however current knowledge indicates that there is only one species, Orycteropus afer, with several subspecies; 18 have been listed but most are regarded as invalid.


(perhaps rather interesting is the regularity with which the person who wrote the wiki article on the aardvark spelt the word as aardbark)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aardvark

 
eggshaped
100542.  Sun Oct 08, 2006 4:38 am Reply with quote

The word aardvark, and indeed the similarly named animal aardwolf were almost dropped from the first edition of the OED.

James Murray's editors, after reading the first draft of "A", thought those words "too technical".

 
gerontius grumpus
108509.  Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:32 am Reply with quote

I have seen references to 'aardvark meaning earth pig or earth bear but I would have expected it to mean earth wolf as vark or varg means wolf in some Scandinavian languages and was used by Tolkien, warg.

 
Celebaelin
108520.  Sun Oct 29, 2006 8:32 am Reply with quote


Cerebus the Aardvark


Generic Aardvark

 
Ejob
108563.  Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:11 am Reply with quote

I've always found it QI that there are these animal names in English that sound (and probably are) really Dutch: aardvark, meerkat, wildebeest. Ofcourse they came into English through Afrikaans.

The origin of meerkat is interesting though. Because someone somewhere made a mistake. In Dutch, meerkat is the name for a genuon, a sort of monkey (according to Wikipedia, the word is probably derived from the Saskrit markata = monkey). A meerkat (English) is called stokstaartje (stick-tail) in Dutch.

 
BondiTram
108635.  Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:25 pm Reply with quote

How could anyone mistake Cerebus for an Anteater? Not even a pig. That is a donkey, or I'm a monkey's uncle.

 
gerontius grumpus
110119.  Tue Oct 31, 2006 5:51 pm Reply with quote

Arthur the Aardvark is not in the slightest Aardvarky.

 
grizzly
110156.  Tue Oct 31, 2006 6:23 pm Reply with quote

I always though that. The only thing that makes the moose kid a moose is his antlers, and they aren't even mooselike.

 
BobTheScientist
124557.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 3:18 am Reply with quote

Ejob wrote:
I've always found it QI that there are these animal names in English that sound (and probably are) really Dutch: aardvark, meerkat, wildebeest. Ofcourse they came into English through Afrikaans.


And the White Rhino which is wijd in Afrikaans on account of the shape of it's upper lip which is not pointy like its cousin...

TYFS

 
Ejob
124749.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:34 pm Reply with quote

BobTheScientist wrote:
Ejob wrote:
I've always found it QI that there are these animal names in English that sound (and probably are) really Dutch: aardvark, meerkat, wildebeest. Ofcourse they came into English through Afrikaans.


And the White Rhino which is wijd in Afrikaans on account of the shape of it's upper lip which is not pointy like its cousin...


If that's true then it's especially weird because in Dutch the animal is called witte neushoorn (i.e. also "white", not "wide").

 
Caradoc
125664.  Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:59 pm Reply with quote

About 12 years ago, when my son did not receive speech therapy as it had been allocated not by need but by alphabetical order, I contacted the director of education & threatened to change my name by deed pole to Aardvark & go to the press; the next day we were offered therapy for two days a week throughout the summer holidays.

 
AlmondFacialBar
130891.  Tue Jan 02, 2007 7:48 pm Reply with quote

Ejob wrote:
I've always found it QI that there are these animal names in English that sound (and probably are) really Dutch: aardvark, meerkat, wildebeest. Ofcourse they came into English through Afrikaans.

The origin of meerkat is interesting though. Because someone somewhere made a mistake. In Dutch, meerkat is the name for a genuon, a sort of monkey (according to Wikipedia, the word is probably derived from the Saskrit markata = monkey). A meerkat (English) is called stokstaartje (stick-tail) in Dutch.


whil you're at that - aardvark actually translates into earth piglet, presumably because they do vaguely look like piglets. the german name for the species is erdferkel, which means exactly the same.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
indigo fugit
140133.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:06 pm Reply with quote

It is an English proverb and I believe it to be true.

"aardvark never hurt anybody".

People who did not win first prize in the lottery of life, (are not English) may contact me for an explanation of this phrase.

 
Hans Mof
140134.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:13 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
People who did not win first prize in the lottery of life, (are not English) may contact me for an explanation of this phrase.


Ahem!

Zank ju, but I understoot kwite well.

Being English... first prize in the lottery of life... mutter... how dare he...

 
AlmondFacialBar
140139.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:32 pm Reply with quote

Hans Mof wrote:
Quote:
People who did not win first prize in the lottery of life, (are not English) may contact me for an explanation of this phrase.


Ahem!

Zank ju, but I understoot kwite well.

Being English... first prize in the lottery of life... mutter... how dare he...


it's more "ssank you", isn't it, with an unvoiced th. not that i've ever met a german actually saying that... btw - er ist eh nur neidisch... ;-)

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 

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