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ICOS 2008 Conference Abstract

Zwartje, Flight of Delight and Chikai: Borrowed Names for Domestic Animals in Sweden

Author(s):
K Leibring
Institute for language and folklore, Sweden

This paper deals, from a Swedish point of view, with names for domestic animals that have been borrowed from other language areas and other cultures during the last two or three centuries. There are several different reasons for animals having or being given foreign names. They include imported animals being allowed to keep their original names; a desire to reflect an animal’s origins or descent; a wish to praise the animal (or enhance its status) by giving it a name from a high-status language; a taste for the exotic; and a concern to give an animal a unique name. Similiarites and differences between the naming of agricultural livestock and household pets is discussed, and an attempt is made to explain why certain of these naming practices have become common in today’s society.

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