BL: armadillo
Posted: 10 June 2017 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The only surprise here is that Lila and I encountered our first one on this morning’s walk

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Posted: 10 June 2017 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Fortunate beings!  It hadn’t occurred to me that armadillos live in North America too.

I think I would prefer to translate “armadillo” as “little armoured one”, rather than “little armed one”.  The participle armado in Spanish can mean either “equipped with weapons” (armas) or “equipped with armour”.  I don’t think armadillos have, in fact, anything much in the way of aggressive weaponry (which is what “armed” suggests to me—though maybe I’m being over-idiosyncratic)

[ Edited: 10 June 2017 07:44 AM by lionello ]
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Posted: 10 June 2017 08:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I agree, lionello. The Spanish verb comes of course from Latin, which produces the same ambiguity in the celebrated English law called Statutum contra portandi arma passed in 1313. It causes much merriment in internet sites listing ‘dumb laws’ where it is always described as a law against MPs entering the House of Common dressed in armour, whereas it clearly was intended to forbid them to come bearing arms - still a perfectly reasonable prohibition, which is presumably why although the UK legal system has been spring-cleaned of a great many archaic laws in recent years, that one has been kept. You may not pack heat in Parliament, even if your ownership of the gun is impeccably legal and above board.

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Posted: 10 June 2017 11:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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"Armed” is certainly inappropriate; they can’t even deliver a decent bite, having (usually) no front teeth.  Their claws are powerful, but not sharp, being adapted for digging.  Probably the most dangerous thing about an armadillo is that they can carry leprosy.

Where I live, in the southern US, they are among the most common roadkill. I think I’d been living here for over 10 years before I saw a live one, by which time I must have seen hundreds of dead ones by the side of the road.

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Posted: 10 June 2017 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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lionello - 10 June 2017 07:41 AM

Fortunate beings!  It hadn’t occurred to me that armadillos live in North America too.


I think I would prefer to translate “armadillo” as “little armoured one”, rather than “little armed one”. 

The Royal Spanish Academy of the Language sustained your preference in 1726.

Diccionario de Autoridades - Tomo I (1726)

ARMADILLO. s. m. Animál pequeño en las Indias cubierto de conchas, que cierran, y abren à manéra de corázas, por cuya razón le dieron este nombre los Españoles.

Small animal of the Indies covered with shells, which open and close in the manner of breastplates, for which reason the Spaniards gave them this name

The entry makes clear that their name derives from their defensive characteristics.

“Son unos animaléjos pequeños que andan en montes, y por la defensa que tienen metiéndose entre sus conchas, y desplegándolas como quieren, los llaman armadillos”

..Small animals…for their defense enclose themselves among their shells…they are called armadillos

[ Edited: 10 June 2017 02:09 PM by cuchuflete ]
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Posted: 10 June 2017 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I went back and forth on this. I settled on armed because I wasn’t sure of the Spanish word’s range of meaning and because the OED went with armed. Also, armed can mean equipped with armor, although I see now the OED marks that sense as obsolete.

But I’ve changed it now.

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Posted: 10 June 2017 10:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Where I live, in the southern US, they are among the most common roadkill

Where I live, in the Eastern Mediterranean, the most common roadkill consists of human beings. Not, regrettably, the dangerous drivers themselves --- more usually, passengers, pedestrians, innocent bystanders, etc.  Cats and dogs here learn to be very wary, and the less nimble wild creatures (e.g. badgers, porcupines) have long since learned to stay off the roads if they value their lives.

[ Edited: 10 June 2017 10:10 PM by lionello ]
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