A large number of birds received their names through the imitation of their cries. The cuckoo is an obvious example of such an onomatopoeic naming, and so are the owl, the cockatiel, and many more. Some bird names, however, have a more intriguing linguistic history.
许多禽鸟的英文名都是通过模拟叫声得来,布谷鸟就是一个很明显的例子,猫头鹰、澳洲鹦鹉等等也是如此。但是,有一些禽鸟的名字背后则有着十分有趣的故事。

Magpie喜鹊

The magpie was earlier known as themaggoty-pieormaggot-the-pie, of whichmagpieis probably a shortening. Here,maggot, or latermag, is an obsolete pet-form of the female forenamesMargeryandMargaret. The second element,pie, derives from Latinpica, itself meaning ‘magpie’. It is also related topicus, which is the Latin name for the green woodpecker.
喜鹊早前被叫做maggoty-pie和maggot-the-pie,因此magpie很有可能只是它们的缩写。这里的maggot和后来的mag都是旧时的动物名,相当于女性名字Margery以及Margaret。第二部分pie来自于拉丁词语pica,这个词本意就是“喜鹊”。Pie还与picus有关,这个词是绿啄木鸟的拉丁名。

It is possible thatpicusalso gave us the otherpie, as in the baked pastry dish, perhaps alluding to the magpie’s habit of collecting random objects in comparison to a pie’s various ingredients.
很有可能picus这个词衍生出了另一个pie的含义,即我们所说的烘烤类面点“派”。也许这是暗指喜鹊有收集东西的习惯,就像派上有各类的食材。

Albatross信天翁

The albatross received its name from thealcatras, a frigate bird of similar appearance with which the oceanic bird was confused.
信天翁得名于alcatras,这是一种军舰鸟,有着与信天翁这种海鸟相似的外形,因此常常被弄混。

According to theOxford English Dictionary(OED), the alteration of the first syllablealca occurred by folk-etymological association with classical Latinalbus‘white’ in reference to the predominant colour of the plumage of many species of albatross.
根据牛津词典,第一个音节alca的改变与词源有关,拉丁语中albus表示白色,而多种信天翁体表大部分的羽毛都是白色。

Penguin企鹅

The origin of the wordpenguinis still a matter of debate among etymologists. It is probably derived from a Welsh phrasepen gwyn, meaning ‘white head’.
词源学学者对peguin一词的来源仍争论不休。有一种说法是它来源于威尔士语pen gwyn,意思是白色的头部。

Apparently, the name was first given to a different bird, the now extinct Great Auk, which closely resembled the penguin in its appearance. It is assumed that the British sailors who first discovered the penguins mistook them for Great Auks and applied their name to the unfamiliar birds.
显然,这个名字最早属于别的鸟类——我们现在所说的大海雀,它和企鹅的外形十分相似。据说,最早发现企鹅的英国船员将其误认为大海雀并把这种他们并不认识的鸟类称作大海雀。

Turkey火鸡

Keeping with the theme of people confusing one bird for another, the American turkey doesn’t actually originate from Turkey, but from Mexico. It was, however, first confused withthe Guinea-fowl, a bird native to Africa, which was imported to England through Turkey in the 16thcentury.
人们总是会把一种禽鸟认作另一种禽鸟。美国火鸡其实并非来自于土耳其,而来自墨西哥。但是,它最早被误认为珍珠鸡,这种禽类来自于非洲,与16世纪通过土耳其传入英国。

Gull鸥

Gulls are admittedly not everyone’s favourite type of bird, and they have certainlycaused their fair share of controversyin the past. But how did those seabirds get their name?
不得不承认,鸥是每个人最不喜欢的鸟类,在过去它也引起了很多争议。但是这种海鸟到底是如何得名的?

Gullappears to be a word of Celtic origin, related to Welshgylan, Bretongouelan, and also Irishfaoileán, all meaning ‘gull’.
Gull这个词来自凯尔特与,与威尔士语中的gylan、布里多尼语中的gouelan以及爱尔兰语中的faoileán有关,这些词都有gull的含义。

声明:本双语文章的中文系沪江英语原创内容,转载请注明出处。中文仅代表译者个人观点,仅供参考。如有不妥之处,欢迎指正。