26 thoughts on “Why, English, Why?”

  1. I think it is obvious! Go ahead and pronounce the word in any other language. Then see if you think it sounds appetizing.

    Think about Canola oil. What the heck is a Canola? No such thing. Canola Oil is rapeweed oil. Canola is a marketing word created by the Canadian Rapeweed Oil industry because no one wants RAPEweed anything on their popcorn.

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    • Canola is an “invented” name, yes, but it’s NOT the same as “rapeseed” — rapeseed oil is very high in erucic acid, which has adverse health impacts. Canola is a cultivar of one type of rapeseed plant, genetically distinct. The actual name is a partial acronym: “CANadian Oil, Low Acid.”

      I’ve heard this claim that marketing types changed the name (and nothing else) before. An uncle with a Ph.D. in Plant Sciences was the first to set me straight.

      Here’s the Wikipedia article, in case anyone cares: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canola

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  2. I recently received a candy bar from Germany that read “ananas”, in my feeble attempt to translate without the help of the internet, I thought it meant bananas, boy was I wrong.

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  3. How in the heck did the Romans (Latin) have a word for a fruit that was not discovered until the sixteenth century explorers hit Brazil???

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    • They didn’t.
      But Latin has never really died, 100%. Still spoken by some in the Vatican, for example, and taught at schools and universities. And for more modern things, they usually borrow the word from a closely-related Romance language, often Italian.

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  4. And who is “they” and why didn’t they borrow from the Spanish? Inquiring minds want to know…Somehow I don’t see the Pope and the Cardinals needing to use the word in their conducting of Catholic rites…

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  5. From Wikipedia:

    The word pineapple in English was first recorded in 1398, when it was originally used to describe the reproductive organs of conifer trees (now termed pine cones). The term pine cone for the reproductive organ of conifer trees was first recorded in 1694. When European explorers discovered this tropical fruit, they called them pineapples (term first recorded in that sense in 1664 because of their resemblance to what is now known as the pine cone).

    In the scientific binomial Ananas comosus, ananas, the original name of the fruit, comes from the Tupi (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) word nanas, meaning “excellent fruit”,[5] as recorded by André Thevet in 1555, and comosus, “tufted”, refers to the stem of the fruit. Other members of the Ananas genus are often called pine as well by laymen.

    Many languages use the Tupian term ananas. In Spanish, pineapples are called piña “pine cone” in Spain and most Hispanic American countries, or ananá (ananás in Argentina) (see the piña colada drink). They have varying names in the languages of India: “Anaasa” (అనాస) in Telugu, “Sapuri-PaNasa” (ସପୁରି ପଣସ) in Odia language, annachi pazham (Tamil), anarosh (Bengali), and in Malayalam, kaitha chakka. In Malay, pineapples are known as “nanas” or “nenas”. In the Maldivian language of Dhivehi, pineapples are known as alanaasi. A large, sweet pineapple grown especially in Brazil is called abacaxi [abakaˈʃi]. Along the Swahili speaking coast of East Africa the fruit is known as “nanasi”.

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