19 May 2003
As some of you may know, I'm very fond of the song Garça perdida by Dulce Pontes (track 7 of O primeiro canto. I must have looked up the word a few times, but I could never remember what it meant, because nome vulgar extensivo a umas pernaltas da família dos Ardeídeos didn't mean much to me. I didn't know the English word heron either, which was in the translation in the cd booklet. OK, so now I know, we call them reigers. I often see one (they're solitary animals), they learned how to live in city parks, and even in Amsterdam canals (grachten) or so I heard.
The Portuguese word garça, says the Porto Editora is from Latin ardea (ardĕa, if you can see an e breve). Now this is a rather unusual difference, usually Portuguese word are much closer to their Latin ancestors. Are any intermediate stages known, to see the development from ardea to garça?
Probably while looking up garça,
I can't exactly remember, I came across the rather strange
looking word gaibéu. It means:
Jornaleiro da província portuguesa do Ribatejo ou da Beira Baixa que vai trabalhar nas lezírias durante as mondas.
A jornaleiro is someone who is employed by the day, trabalhador a quem se paga um salário diário.
The word mondas means weeding, and is connected with Latin mundare = clean, purify. Cf. imundícia = dirtiness.
Lezíria is one of those many Iberic words of Arabic origin. It means tract of marshy land alongside a river (source: Michaelis pt-en), but also (Porto Editora) ínsula no meio de um rio, formada de lodos e detritos.
The Arabic word it derives from is al-jazi:ra
in Arabic script).
Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic,
by J Milton Cowan and Hans Wehr,
it means island, but also: "(NorthWest) Mesopotamia".
This name of course is well known for the satellite television station of the same name, which gained world fame for its video-taped addresses by Usama Bin-Ladin during the 2001/2002 war in Afghanistan, and also for its coverage of the 2003 war in Iraq.
The same Arabic root gave a name, Islands, to the country Algeria, in Arabic al-jaza:'ir ( الجزائر ). The Portuguese, known for sometimes mixing up r and l, call this country Argélia.
The Spanish city Algeciras also got its name from this word: al-jazi:ra al-kha.dra:', or the Green Island. ( الجزيرة الخضراء ).