African word for lion?

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Sep 21st, 2005, 05:55 AM
  #1
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African word for lion?

I have a pic from our recent trip to Botswana that I want to have framed, and want to put a brass plack on it but want to make sure I spell it correctly. I heard the guides talk about lions and they used the word 'tao' to describe them. I want to make sure that is the correct spelling. Thanks for any help.
Carol
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Sep 21st, 2005, 06:05 AM
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Carol: that should be spelled Tau
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Sep 21st, 2005, 07:09 AM
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Thanks so much!!! Glad I asked..
Carol
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Sep 21st, 2005, 07:15 AM
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There are of course many "African" languages. South Africa itself has 11 official ones, including English and Afrikaans! So although it is Tau in Setswana and Sesotho, it is different in (say) Zulu. (Not that I'm a linguist, I'm anything but!)
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Sep 21st, 2005, 07:21 AM
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As in Duma Tau.

In Shangaan (Sabi Sand) it is Ngonyama.
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Sep 21st, 2005, 08:29 AM
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We were only in Botswana and that's all I recall hearing the guides say, "Tau" .. I should have connected up Duma Tau, but didn't..
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Sep 21st, 2005, 08:30 AM
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Of course to the rest of the world, "simba" is probably the most familiar word for lion in an African language!
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Sep 21st, 2005, 09:11 AM
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I believe the Shangaan word for lion is 'Ngala' as in 'Ngala Camp.'

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Julian
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Sep 21st, 2005, 09:59 AM
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Julian

I believe there is more than one then, Ngonyama is used at Mala Mala, and is the first word in Gerald Hinde's excellent book about the reserve.
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Sep 21st, 2005, 10:03 AM
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Perhaps different dialects -- when I was at Londoz (and Ngala) the guides and trackers used 'ngala'. Or the difference may be in the anglicisation of the spelling, which may not be standard.

Interestingly, I've found 'ingwe' used for leopard in several different languages.

So many ways to name a cat...

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 21st, 2005, 12:16 PM
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Carol - Still glad you asked? ;-)
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Sep 21st, 2005, 01:11 PM
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This is why we standardize names in latin in the biology world -- too many common names for the same cat can be confusing, but Panthera leo is clearly the largest cat in Africa.

Even in the U.S. our largest resident cat (Felis concolor)reputedly has more names in the dictionary than any other animal including: mountain lion, cougar, puma, catamount, panther, Florida panther among others.
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Sep 21st, 2005, 01:27 PM
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Carol,

Maybe you'd be attracted to Papa Lima, from the phonetic alphabet (representing P.L., panthera leo) often used by guides to communicate over the radio if they're not using their native tongue.

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Sep 21st, 2005, 01:39 PM
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My contributions...

Afrikaans: Leeu
Shona: Shumba
Ndebele: Isilwane
Shangaan: Nghala or N'shumba
Yei: Undavu
Zulu: Ngonyama
Sotho, Tswana, Lozi: Tau

Since your lion is a Botswana lion, you may want to just use Tau.
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Sep 21st, 2005, 02:40 PM
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Madam
Presumably the photographical image which you are to label is not recognisable as the illustrious KING OF THE JUNGLE hence your need to attach a brass plaque to it (this is the correct English spelling of the word plack). To avoid any confusion on the identification of this beast, presuming of course that you were pointing your lense in the right direction, I humbly suggest that you label it Lion; spelt L I O N. This Madam is what we call it in Africa.
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Sep 21st, 2005, 02:47 PM
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Africantroublemaker,

Shouldn't that be 'King of the Savannah' or 'King of the Plains'?

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 21st, 2005, 02:55 PM
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Julian
With respect, the magnificent, ubiquitous beast I speak of, remains, for me at least, the King of the Jungle.
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Sep 21st, 2005, 02:57 PM
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If I am not mistaken, "spelt" is a grain, sometimes used instead of wheat in things like bread and pasta.
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Sep 21st, 2005, 03:00 PM
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OK, botanically it could be a grass. I'd have to look it up..;-)
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Sep 21st, 2005, 03:16 PM
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Gentlemen
It is late at night here in Africa and it was not my intention to enter into a foolish discourse on the English language. However spelt is one of two correct English spellings of the past or past part. of spell. I must emphazise though that here in Africa we speak English and not the abominable version of the language used in the Americas called American English.
On that note Gentlemen I shall now retire and await another splendid sunrise in Africa.
Your most humble servant,
The African Troublemaker
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