Harmless Drudge: Last Speaker of Bo Dies
Posted: 05 February 2010 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Another language down. I think there is some reportorial hype going on the article as well.

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Posted: 05 February 2010 12:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yes, Reuters has a similar report.  The name Andaman fascinated me.  It seems to be from

the name of the monkey god of Hindu mythology, Hanuman: The name Nicobar probably derives from the Tamil word nakkavaram (“land of the naked”)


Wikipedia article:

The name “Andaman” first appears in the work of Arab geographers of the ninth century,[citation needed] though it is uncertain whether ancient geographers like Ptolemy also knew of the Andamans but referred to them by a different name.

Does anyone have anything more to add about the name Andaman?

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Posted: 05 February 2010 01:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi Eliza!  Good to see you again.

On JSTOR I found an old (1898) article in a journal called T’oung Pao* (v. 9, n. 3); the article is “Geographical Notes: I. The Nicobar and Andaman Islands” by G. Schlegel.  The author mentions the following possible etymologies (I can’t copy and paste from these page images, so I will have to summarize)

1) “Andaja mana” (I omit some diacriticals) can mean “egg-laying barbarians” in Sanskrit, but the name probably is not Sanskrit.

2) from Hanuman, the monkey god, but Schlegel considers the interpolation of the d problematic.

At first I thought he had mentioned a third, but on rereading it appears he was just discussing a Chinese name that may or may not refer to the same islands, and if it does, probably derives from “Andaman” rather than the other way around.

*Apparently a major Sinological journal, but not familiar to me (no Sinologist).

[ Edited: 05 February 2010 01:46 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 06 February 2010 01:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks for the welcome, Dr Techie, and for the information. I tend to take names for granted, but often, as now, their etymologies (or speculations about) are very interesting.

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