Eskimo Loanshifting: Horses as ‘big dogs’

In 2008 PBS broadcasted a documentary called “Minik: The Lost Eskimo” which chronicles the journey of a few Eskimos from Greenland to New York City in 1897. The film describes the immense cultural difficulties that one of these immigrants, Minik, faced as he struggled to adapt to a new land.

Cutting to the chase, Minik the Eskimo did the same thing that many strangers in a new land have done (including the Nephites). He applied words he was familiar with to objects he was unfamiliar with. This phenomena has been documented very well. In the case of Minik, the unfamiliar object is the horse (link):

A New York Times reporter accompanied Minik on a tour of Central Park. “The sight of a bicycle man made him howl with glee,” he noted, “and he was amazed at the size of the ‘big dogs’ as he called the horses he saw in the driveways.”

Mormon apologists have been laughed at for suggesting that the Nephites may have dubbed the unfamiliar Mesoamerican tapir a “horse”.  I suppose they believe that Minik the Eskimo was a desperate Mormon apologist as well.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in ..

One comment on “Eskimo Loanshifting: Horses as ‘big dogs’

  1. wow…really helpful post, thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s