Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Penquin sighting: wikipedia

Etymology of the word Penquin
according to Wikipedia

The word Penguin is thought by some to derive from the Welsh words pen (head) and gwyn (white),[10] applied to the Great Auk, which had white spots in front of its eyes (although its head was black), or from an island off Newfoundland known as Pengwyn, due to a large white rock. (In the latter case, the name may also have come from Breton.) This theory is supported by the fact that penguins look remarkably like Great Auks in general shape.

It is also possible that penguin comes from the Latin pinguis, “fat”. This is supported by the fact that the corresponding words in most other languages (e.g., French pingouin, German Pinguin) have i instead of e as the first vowel.[10] However, a Welsh 'i' is often sound-shifted to an 'e' in the English language.

Another theory states that the word is an alteration of “pen-wing”, with reference to the rudimentary wings of both Great Auks and penguins, but there is no evidence for this.[10]

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