oa Botswana Notes & Records - Old Tswana and new Latin

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0525-5090



The well-known phenomenon of the adoption into English of vocabulary from other languages is discussed and illustrated briefly, with particular reference to southern African languages. Such adoptives include many names of animals and plants, and Tswana proves to be the single most important source language for these. However, little attention has been paid to the use of names of African linguistic origin in the formation of neo-Latin taxonomic epithets in the botanical and zoological fields. These are surveyed and illustrated, and here too Tswana proves to be the most significant source language, with some 50 items clearly identifiable and another dozen suspected. Many of these are attributable to the zoological explorations and descriptionptions of Dr Andrew Smith, during the years 1834�36, in the areas later known as the northern Cape and western Transvaal.

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