Sami again

Kenneth Whistler
Thu, 21 Feb 2002 12:11:05 -0800 (PST)


> >And in addition to the easy (and correct) pronunciation
> >analog in "swami", there is a very widely known language name
> >which also provides a correct analog: "Yahi".
> I have no strong feelings on this topic, but I do think you it's
> important to realize that what linguists think is "very widely
> known" doesn't always match what the rest of us regular folks 
> think. I've never heard of "Yahi," but it apparently is a language
> from a Northern California Native American tribe (that's what I
> gleaned after a quick Google search). I doubt anyone except a
> linguist would think this name is widely known.

O.k., I was making wrong assumptions, I guess.

I assumed nearly everyone had heard of the famous Ishi:

  Ishi in Two Worlds, by Theodora Kroeber
  Ishi: Last of His Tribe, by Theodora Kroeber

both of which pop up easily on an Amazon search for "Ishi".

What many people apparently don't remember is that Ishi's
language and tribe was Yahi. But see also:

  The Last Yahi: A Novel About Ishi, by Lawrence Holcomb

But then maybe as a Californian, the fame of Ishi can be overestimated
for those from the East Coast or other distant lands. ;-)

> Context is important, as are assumptions about what is widely known.

No quarrel there. I was assuming a context where we were talking
about language identity, and then arguing in *that* context,
whether "Sami" or "Saami" was the better English name for the
particular language in question.

Of course, nearly any four-letter word in English, by this time,
can be confused witha four-letter acronym for *something* or other.


> 		-- Sandra