Author Topic: The robin bird  (Read 716 times)

Offline giselberga

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The robin bird
« on: May 23, 2018, 01:25:38 AM »
Spices of The European and American robin are different
Spices of The European robin is Erithacus rubecula
But Spices of The American robin is Turdus migratorius
Why do Erithacus rubecula and Turdus migratorius use “robin bird” word

Offline Daniel

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Re: The robin bird
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2018, 09:05:33 AM »
When people go somewhere new, they still use their familiar words for things that seem familiar.

A peacock in Spanish (as in Latin, etc.) was once called "pavo", but once Spanish speakers reached the new world and discovered turkeys they started calling them the same thing. So after that they started to refer to a peacock as a "pavo real", a 'royal turkey'. Or calling potatoes "earth apples" in French (and some other languages). The other option is borrowing, or making up a new word.

There are many examples like that. Even where there is no common distinction made later (like adding an adjective to one). In terms of human experience, "robins" in both places are basically the same. But it does cause some confusion for a biologist or bird watcher.

For a comparison, imagine traveling to an alien world with life biologically unrelated to any on Earth. You still probably would use some Earth-life words like "tree" or "plant" or "bird" or "fish" or "animal" or "worm", etc., if your observations were of things that felt familiar. It's also possible that in some cases the comparison is deliberate, by people who feel homesick and want to imagine their new environment as similar to the old. (Or just unaware enough to assume or even proclaim that it is the same.)
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