Thursday, December 5, 2013

Linguistics Are Fun

Here's your bizarre linguistic coincidence of the day:

Four years ago I was looking up root words in obscure languages to invent a name for a region in a fantasy book I was working on. I took a root found in the Igbo and Yoruba languages, "Amadi," which is the same word but with interestingly complicated disagreements on meaning; then I fashioned an ending for it, and had a place name: Amadahy. My interest with the area grew, and I realized the book I was working on was really about that place. Eventually, that became the working title.

(Note that the original meanings were inspirational for me as writer, an inside-joke with myself that also served as a reminder about the people I was writing, and had nothing to do with the region the name was affixed to.)

Today I was researching names and words in various Native American languages for a new project, and found the word I thought I'd invented four years ago--Amadahy--already exists in the Cherokee language--and that it means "forest water," which is the exact same thing as the region I was using the word to describe. (In the book, Amadahy is frequently called the waterwood and the forest of water.)

I love moments like this. It's just an odd coincidence, but it sure feels a bit like validation, too.

*Update: now that I've bothered to Google it, Amadahy appears on a lot of name lists.  It's also apparently the name of a very web-active dominatrix, who according to her website is currently touring.  I probably should start googling all the words I come up with before I get too attached to them...

No comments:

Post a Comment