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Posted: 13 October 2013 10:17 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Americans don’t seem to like their words originating in Spanish.  Yet the entire cowboy lexicon is full of Hispanismos like reata (larriat), chaparreras (chaps), rodeo (rodeo) etc.  Let’s try this one ---Canada - It is said that the early Spanish explorers marked this area on their maps as ‘Acá nada’, meaning ‘here is nothing’.  This is speculated to be the origin of the name.

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Posted: 13 October 2013 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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A couple of things.

First, I don’t think Canadians would take too kindly to be referred to as “Americans.” They’re happy to be called “North Americans,” but they bristle when they’re confused with their neighbors to the south. (Occasionally you’ll hear a Canadian say, “I’m an American too,” but that’s an expression of objection to the USA’s appropriation of the name, not a statement of solidarity.)

Second, Americans have no objection to acknowledging that many English words come from Spanish, especially “cowboy” terms like chaps and rodeo, which are widely hailed as coming from Spanish. You’re ascribing a distaste for Spanish etymologies to Americans that does not exist. What we do have a distaste for are unfounded Spanish etymologies.

Third, speculation is fine, but in many of these instances you’re bringing up the words where the origin is quite well established. And generally we don’t look kindly on speculation without at least some research. (Questions are one thing; stating speculation as if it were fact is quite another.)

As far as I know, there were no Spanish explorers in Quebec, the area that was first known as Canada. The word is first recorded by a European in 1535, when Jacques Cartier noted that as he approached the Ȋle d’Anticosti in the Gulf of St. Lawrence his native guides pointed out the “chemin de Canada” (route to the town). Cartier also noted that kanata was the Iroquis word for “town.” The specific town in question was a native village on the site of what is now Quebec City. But later mapmakers using Cartier’s notes erred and labeled the region Canada. Over time, the name came to encompass the entire country, from Newfoundland to British Columbia.

[ Edited: 13 October 2013 11:12 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 13 October 2013 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Also:

It is said that the early Spanish explorers marked this area on their maps as ‘Acá nada’, meaning ‘here is nothing’.

Who says this? Where? Point us to a reference.

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Posted: 13 October 2013 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Let me apologize for stepping on Canadian toes.  I was not aware that there was another origin for “Canada”.  What I wrote has been published, probably for amusement as I had also intended.  Thank you for the correction.  That is what dialogue is about.  For the record, in 1525, Esteban Gómez was sent to find a connection between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  He arrived at Newfoundland and sailed south along the coasts of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Cape Cod and putting in at what is now Maryland for repairs.  His maps of these areas were thereafter used extensively.  Needless to say, he did not find the Northern passage.

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Posted: 13 October 2013 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks. I was unaware of Gomez, a fairly important early European explorer of the Americas. But there doesn’t seem to be any record of him calling any location something like “Canada.”

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Posted: 14 October 2013 03:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Americans don’t seem to like their words originating in Spanish. 

Quintana, you need to stop and think just what an offensive way this is to respond to perfectly courteous and evidence-based disagreement with the derivation you proposed. It would have been offensive even if everyone who disagreed with you was in fact American - which (as you could have found out by clicking on their profiles) several of them are not. It is rude to everyone here, Americans and non-Americans alike. Please behave more politely.

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Posted: 14 October 2013 06:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Well, years ago a friend who grew up in New York was telling me about Los Folkloristas, a musical group. I said it was interesting that Spanish had adopted an English word, perhaps because no such word existed in Spanish or it just sounded neat. She said it was definitely a Spanish word. The group was from Mexico after all. So there’s at least one American who doesn’t like Spanish words coming from English. :-)

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Posted: 14 October 2013 07:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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While we’re on the subject of Canada, happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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