- This map shows European languages grouped by their etymology for "platypus".
- This particular map shows several trends. The United Kingdom was
the first European nation to discover the platypus, around 1800.
As zoologists across the continent became more aware of this curious animal,
an interesting combination of political and linguistic factors began to affect its nomencalature.
- As expected, Romance languages tended to use the Latinized Greek term
Ornithorhynchus, meaning "bird snout". The English language, meanwhile, retained the older name
"platypus," meaning "flat-footed" in Greek. Countries with Germanic presence, including nations
under the Austrian Emipre, used an etymology akin to "beak-animal". The
native word for "beak" was combined with the suffix "-ar," -"ak," "tier," etc.,
meaning "animal" or "thing". In Russia, "utkonos" literally means "duck-nose" or "duck-beak"
and started as a calque (direct translation) of Ornithorhynchus.
This etymlogy was spread throughout the Russian Empire, imitated by other regional languages.
- Here is a map of European emipres in 1900 for comparison.
- Some variations exist within these groups; for example Hungarian ("duck-billed mammal") or Finnish ("water beak animal").
An interesting exception is Icelandic. The purist language policies of the Icelandic government try to avoid loanwords, leading to "Breiðnefur". This means something like "Broad-noser".
- "Ludener" is in the Mari language.
- "Dzhkzhnyr" is in Udmurt and means "sturgeon,"
but apparently is also used to describe the platypus.
- "Urdekborin" is in Tatar.
- "Babyzvyndz" is in Ossetic.
- "Bedazjok" is in Chechen.
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