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THE PHILOLOGY OF "AUK", AND RELATED MATTERS
W. B. Lockwood
Vol. 79, No. 4 (1978), pp. 391-397
Published by: Modern Language Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43343225
Page Count: 7
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Birds, Hawks, Terminology, Philology, Ornithology, Attestations, Species, Herring, Birds of prey, Proverbs
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The present uses of the term auk are shown to derive from Pennant's Zoology, 1768, which in turn is heavily indebted to Linnaeus' Systema Naturae, 1758. Previously auk had only been used in its traditional (West Norse) sense 'razorbill', going back to Ray-Willughby, Ornithology, 1678. The only other independent attestation of auk occurs in the northern proverb 'drunk as an auk', the motivation of which is considered. Other attestations are spurious, being based on Gaelic or Norn forms. It is, however, possible to identify auk disguised as hawk in certain local (north-western) sea-bird names, as herring hawk 'shearwater', also as a secondary corruption in Arran hawk 'diver' and its derivatives presupposing onomatopoeic Sc.Gael. *aranag, diminutive of *arana, cf. synonymous carara. Welsh gwalch y penwaig 'razorbill' lit. 'herring hawk' can now be understood as a loan translation from English. English influence is further detected in synonymous carfil which must represent a lost Eng. *carvebill.
Neuphilologische Mitteilungen © 1978 Modern Language Society