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Hindoo
Posted: 17 January 2013 06:55 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve seen this in old texts. Wikipedia says that spelling is now considered derogatory but it clearly wasn’t in the days of John Company

Charles Stuart (East India Company officer), an officer in the British Army in India, known as “Hindoo Stuart” due to his adoption of aspects of Hindu and Indian culture

Why was the spelling changed to Hindu when we are perfectly happy with voodoo and taboo (though I have very occasionally seen this as tabu in serious texts)? Perhaps Hindus themselves were instrumental.

Any ideas about this:

Hindu (also, Hindoo) is a former settlement in Plumas County, California.[1] Hindu is located on the Western Pacific Railroad, 7 miles (11.3 km) west of Chilcoot.[1] It still appeared on maps as of 1934.[1]

from the link above.

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Posted: 17 January 2013 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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From OED:

1655 E. Terry Voy. E.-India 127 The Inhabitants in generall of Indostan were all antiently Gentiles, called in generall Hindoes.

1662 J. Davies tr. J. A. de Mandelslo Trav. 74 The King of Cambaya, who was a Hindou, or Indian, that is, a Pagan.

1698 J. Fryer New Acct. E.-India & Persia 113 At the House of an Hindu.

1804 W. Tennant Indian Recreat. (ed. 2) I. p. xviii, Intelligent natives of India, both Mussulmans and Hindoos.

The first citation (1662) shows that the spelling is Hindoe, in 1698 Hindu, and in 1804 Hindoo, so the spelling has varied over the years but the -u ending precedes the -oo ending.  The first citation of voodoo is voudou (1880), and the first citation of taboo is tabu (1777). Many variations of the spelling of both of these words are listed in OED.

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Posted: 17 January 2013 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Why was the spelling changed to Hindu when we are perfectly happy with voodoo and taboo (though I have very occasionally seen this as tabu in serious texts)?

It’s perfectly natural to change those old spellings to more modern ones; it’s much like changing Mahomet to Muhammad or Nova Zembla to Novaya Zemlya.

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Posted: 17 January 2013 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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In my childhood (the early 1960s) we had a children’s illustrated history of England. I can’t remember the author or exact title, but I know it was bought new for my brothers and me - it might well have been a reprint but it wasn’t itself an antique. And one of the line drawings in it, I clearly remember, was captioned ‘A Hindoo Prince’. So that spelling, though becoming rarer, was still perfectly acceptable in Britain around 1960.

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Posted: 17 January 2013 03:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Still, I was unaware that it might be derogatory. I thought it merely old fashioned.

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Posted: 17 January 2013 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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OP Tipping - 17 January 2013 03:45 PM

Still, I was unaware that it might be derogatory. I thought it merely old fashioned.

I think that old fashioned might well be the reality of derogatory.Those of us who’ve lived through the “nigra>colored>negro>black” migration and the “retarded>tard>developmentally disabled” migration would know something of this.

It’s like, it seems to me, the issues surrounding the name of God. YHWH (the tetragrammaton for “4 letters") to “adonai” which can not be said to “ha shem” (the name) which also cannot be said.

The used term (perhaps overused term) becomes the unusable term.

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Posted: 17 January 2013 09:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Nova Zembla’s been changed? Who, as they say, ordered that? And why? It seems a perfectly harmless Anglicization on the lines of a host pf other English versions of foreign place names.

[ Edited: 18 January 2013 02:36 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 18 January 2013 01:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Npva Zembla’s been changed?

Yeah, they changed the p to an o.

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Posted: 18 January 2013 02:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Thanks for that, OP. Corrected now. (Typing without my reading glasses again. I’ve only recently started to need them and it’s taking me a while to adjust, ie admit to myself that I do need to use them).

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Posted: 18 January 2013 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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At my primary school (so this must have been between 1961 and 1967), in a geography lesson the teacher wrote the word for a native of Australia carefully on the blackboard for us to copy into our exercise books, thus: aboriginee. That’s a spelling I haven’t seen used anywhere else in my lifetime, and all the OED citations for it are from the late 19th century.

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Posted: 18 January 2013 05:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The first citation of voodoo is voudou (1880)

Which figures, as presumably it reached English via French. In modern French it’s vaudou.

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Posted: 18 January 2013 06:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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That aboriginee form, which I hadn’t seen before, reminds me of Chinee, the term Bret Harte uses in his poem Plain Language from Truthful James, the first verse of which is below.

Which I wish to remark,
And my language is plain,
That for ways that are dark
And for tricks that are vain,
The heathen Chinee is peculiar,
Which the same I would rise to explain.

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Posted: 18 January 2013 09:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I remember a song in a Thornton Wilder novel which went “No gottee tickee, no gettee shirtee, at the Chinee laundryman”. Having looked in wikipedia it must have been Heaven’s My Destination (1935) which had a message of tolerance with a journalist writing columns like “Our Korean Neighbors” for his local paper as I recall.
From the above comments the oo sound seems pretty arbitrary in our spelling: muumuu, Hutu, etc.

[ Edited: 18 January 2013 09:58 AM by venomousbede ]
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Posted: 18 January 2013 05:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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It’s not arbitrary at all, it’s the normal (native) English way to spell the sound; that’s why it was used.  Due to the increasing use of “scientific” transliterations, it looks increasingly out of date and is often perceived as insulting.  (Unfortunately, the clash between the two systems leads to silliness like people pronouncing “Punjab,” a spelling created under the old system where -u- has the normal English mid-vowel sound as in “pun,” as if it were a scientific transliteration and saying “Poon-jab,” which makes me twitch whenever I hear it.)

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Posted: 18 January 2013 06:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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There have been some changes to the Roman renderings of Indian place names over the past 20 years, mainly (with some exceptions) making them closer to the local pronunciations. e.g. Calcutta -> Kolkata.

Punjab -> Panjab must be on the to-do list. :-)

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Posted: 18 January 2013 09:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Back in the 80’s I worked with a man from the Punjab who told me the proper way to pronounce Sikh isn’t “seek” but “sik”.  The final consonant is clipped (not sure quite how to say it) so it’s not quite the same as our pronunication of “sick” but it’s so close that I knew it would never catch on, and so far it hasn’t.

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