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Re: The Papers That Ate Cincinnati

Quoting "T. Michael Keesey" <keesey@gmail.com>:

On 5/4/07, John Conway <john.a.conway@gmail.com> wrote:
Seems to me that the best solution would to not use Aves at all. It's a
common name in some languages,

Which ones? I welcome correction from a native speaker, but I think none of the common words for "bird" in the extant Romance languages are cognate with Latin "avis". Examples: - French: oiseau - Italian: uccello - Portuguese: pássaro - Romanian: pas?re - Spanish: pájaro

*Oiseau* and *uccello* actually are, though not transparently so. They're derived from a diminutive form, something like *avicillum*. Vulgar Latin loved diminutives; that's where we get words like French *soleil* 'sun', from *soliculum* 'little sun' (cf. Latin *sol* 'sun') and Spanish *oveja* 'sheep', from *ovicula* 'little sheep' (cf. Latin *ovis* 'sheep').

The Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish words above are actually derived from *passer(um)* 'sparrow'. Spanish does have the word *ave* (plural *aves*), but it's used, IIRC, for your bigger, less songbirdy types of birds.

Nick Pharris
Department of Linguistics
University of Michigan

"Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity."
    --Edwin H. Land