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Journal Cover Arquivos de Zoologia
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   ISSN (Online) 2176-7793
   Published by Universidade de São Paulo Homepage  [22 journals]
  • Tracking the ancestral Portuguese name of the osprey across the Atlantic:
           hints from language, literature, history and geography

    • Authors: Luís Manuel Palma
      Pages: 115 - 130
      Abstract: Guincho, the traditional Portuguese name of the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is unique and ancestral. It is found in several sorts of fictional literature from the 16th up to the early 20th centuries in the form of a metaphor born from an old popular proverb. The first time the name appears as the vernacular designation of the osprey is in a 17th falconry treatise, and then in old dictionaries and early ornithological monographs and catalogues throughout the 18th to early 20th centuries. In Portugal, however, the name barely survives, partly due to the species demise in the country during the 20th century, but mainly because it was gradually replaced by an erudite term in ornithological literature since the middle 19th century. However, given the conspicuousness of the species and its nests, the name and its composites are retained in a number of places along the coast. And, following the Portuguese diaspora of the 16th-18th centuries, the term spread to the archipelagos of Madeira, Cape Verde and the Canaries where it impregnated the local vocabulary and again gave the name to many coastal places. Then, it moved from the Canaries to the Spanish speaking areas of the Caribbean riding the mass migration of Canary Islanders to the new colonies. In consequence, the traditional Portuguese name of the osprey is still fully used in several island countries across the Atlantic. The remarkable presence of the ancestral Portuguese name of the osprey in language, literature and geography allows its rehabilitation as the proper popular name of the species and sanctions its legitimacy as a tool for reconstructing the ancient historical ranges of the osprey. Ultimately, revaluing the name is also a matter of cultural preservation, which compliments and enriches the current efforts for the species recovery in Portugal.
      PubDate: 2017-12-20
      Issue No: Vol. 48, No. 4 (2017)
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