Sunday, May 11, 2014

Oh, Canada: What Do You Call a Group of Canadians?

An apology of Canadians riots in Vancouver after the Canucks
win the Stanley Cup in 2011 (see why that doesn't work?)
(courtesy of Creative Commons licensor Elopde)
In English Classifier Constructions, linguist Adrienne Lehrer takes on phrases such as "herd of cattle," "head of lettuce" and "flock of geese." Lehrer explains that though English is not generally considered a "classifier" language, such as Japanese or Chinese, it often works as such a language albeit with more fluid constraints. That is, "flock of lettuce" and "head of geese" do not sound right, though speakers might say a "herd of mice" in jest. 

The way in which English most differs from Japanese and Chinese, however, is how English-speakers create new ways of counting and measuring for both practical and facetious purposes. Lehrer thus interprets a Mayflower of Americans (coined by New Zealand-born British lexicographer Eric Partridge in 1942) as a measure classifier. She notes that Mayflower refers to a ship, and a ship is a species of container. Presumably Lehrer means to say that phrase is the semantic equivalent of a "shipful" of Americans. A pound of Englishmen and a pint of Irishmen (both going back to at least 1969) are also measure classifiers. Lehrer similarly calls the pun "a column of journalists" an arrangement classifier constructed in the same way as a row of beans. 

By contrast, she qualifies phrases such as "a bear of a man" (that is "a man who is in some sense like a bear") as metaphorical comparisons, and suggests that their use as collective nouns might be confusing. That is, a fraud of Freudians or a rejection of editors (or even a disworship of Scotsthe only national collective noun in the Book of St. Albans) could easily be interpreted as a "fraud by Freudians" or "rejection by editors." This may or may not be the case, but all the same this observation allows these sorts of classifiers to be easily identified.

Collective terms for Canadians go back neither to the 15th century books on the medieval hunt nor even to mid-20th century lexicographies. They are of much more recent coinage, and of questionable utility:

1. An uncertainty of Canadians. One is apt to call this a measure classifier by analogy with the uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics; that is, the limit beyond which we cannot determine any definitive about a subatomic particle's physical properties. Why this term, which dates from no later than 2010, refers to Canadians is not immediately apparent, but perhaps only makes sense by comparison to their southern (and western) neighbors. Americans, the stereotype goes and making no assessment of its accuracy, are assured of the moral superiority of their country, its history and motives; Canadians are by turns cautious, polite and wish to avoid confrontation. Number of internet occurrences: One.

2. A divergence of Canadians. This goes back to at least 2004. Divergence, as a term in vector calculus, might best be described as an arrangement classifier. With no obvious meaning, a number of possibilities suggest themselves: the divide between English and French Canada, between the resource-rich Western provinces and the always-struggling Maritimes, between the populated south and the empty north; perhaps it refers to Canadian multicultralism generally, or to all of these. Number of internet occurrences: 36. 

3. A mediocrity of Canadians. This phrase from 2007 is constructed along the lines of a disworship of Scots and is thus best qualified as a metaphorical comparison. The term does not admit an obvious meaning. Depending on one's politics, it might refer to Canada's environmental policies, its healthcare system, its sports teams or Nickelback, leaving aside the accuracy of those claims. Number of internet occurrences: One (albeit misspelled).

4. A puck of Canadians. This term from no later than 2012 does not fit nicely within Lehrer's typology; presumably the creator of this neologism wants us to think of hockey and thus of Canadians. One could interpret puck as a synecdoche for hockey (or as a 
metonymy for hockey player) which would put this in the realm of a metaphorical comparison. The association between hockey and Canadians is too obvious to explore in detail. Number of internet occurrences: One.

5. An apology of Canadians. To the extent this could be confused with an "apology by Canadians," this is that Lehrer would term a metaphorical comparison. Though heard on the CBC and read in the pages of the New York Times, the first instance in the media appears to go back to the Toronto Globe and Mail in 2003. Former NPR ombudsman and Alberta native Jeffrey Dvorkin has performed yeoman's work in disseminating the term, starting in the Globe and Mail in 2003, again in 2008, and most recently in the Times. In a 2013 letter to the Times, Dvorkin defended Canadians' hono[u]r against the English, asserting the latter had no right to the title of the "sorriest" people on earth in light of the collective noun "an apology of Canadians." That said, Dvorkin has called this name of assembly a "joke." Perhaps so. Perhaps not.

Dvorkin's argument for the noun of assembly "apology" seems to be based on behavior of Canadians; specifically, their use of the term "sorry" in daily life and the connection of this linguistic tic to Canada's general reputation as a polite and civil country. Others suggest Dvorkin is wrong, arguing that Canadians say "sorry" frequently but rarely apologize. It remains possible that "apology" resonates at a less personal and more societal level: legislation in several provinces protects individuals who apologize after accidents from having these "expressions of sorrow or regret" used against them in latter civil suits. Similarly, the decades' long controversy regarding abuses in Canada's residential schools for First Nations children likewise prompted institutional apologies over many years starting with the Anglican Church of Canada in 1993, followed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 2004, then Primer Minister Stephen Harper on behalf of the sitting cabinet in 2008; the process included establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a 1998 Statement of Reconciliation and, in 2005, a $1.9 billion compensation package. Individual students at these schools were awarded a "Common Experience Payment" of $10,000 for their first year residing at such a school, and $3,000 for each year thereafter, though individuals could opt out of this process and proceed individually on their claims. 

By contrast, the Federal Government refused to apologize for the forced relocation of Inuit families from northern Quebec to the High Arctic; specifically, to Ellesmere Island in Northwest Territories (among the coldest inhabited places on the planet). The Canadian Human Rights Commission found that the motivating factor was merely the assertion of Canadian sovereignty in the High Arctic by establishing permanent communities there and not the well-being of these Inuit families. Though the House of Commons standing committee on Aboriginal Affairs in 1991 requested an apology from the Government of Canada, none was forthcoming. However, in 1996, a $10 million trust fund was created on behalf of the forcibly relocated people and a "Reconciliation Agreement" was signed. 

Finally, in 1996, the Government of Canada apologized to Japanese-Canadians detained in internment camps during World War II. One month after a similar program was initiated in the United States, survivors of the camps in Canada were granted compensation in the amount of $23,000 per person. Number of internet occurrences: 1,090.

6. An eh of Canadians. Occasionally this is styled an "eh?" of Canadians. Again this falls into the category of a metonymy, of Canadians generally, and of rural "hoser" Canadians, particularly within Canada. The term is used more in imitation of Canadians than by them, as terms that are its semantic equivalent (right, huh, you know, etc.) are in fact used more often (at least in studies of Toronto English). As such it constitutes a metaphorical comparison, first appearing no later than 2002. Number of internet occurrences: 234.

None of these terms is particularly appealing. Those with only one occurrence require no prolonged dismissal. An eh of Canadians appears more inspired by Americans watching SCTV or South Park than anything native to Canada; divergence and apology both are based on extended jokes. Let us turn to some alternatives:

7-11. By analogy with Mayflower, we might look at crucial moments in Canada's history for collective terms: a patriation for the return of the Constitution in 1982, a Don de Dieu for the lead ship that brought the first settlers from France to what is now Quebec City in 1608, a loyalty (or perhaps, a troth) for the United Empire Loyalists who were evacuated in 1783 from the thirteen colonies to British North America after the American Revolution. Most promising, however, might be a confederation of Canadians harkening back to the confederation of Upper Canada (Ontario), Lower Canada (Quebec), New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as the Dominion of Canada in 1867. Confederation benefits by alliteration, but also constitutes an arrangement classifier (it describes how the provinces relate to one another) and a metaphorical comparison by means of synecdoche (describing Canadians as confederates-- veritable brothers and sisters-- within a larger body). It could be styled "a/une confédération of/de Canadiæns" were anyone ever so inclined.

12-13. Less political terms might also serve-- a poutine of Canadians, a KD of Canadians. The former is better known outside of Canada, the latter-- short for Kraft Dinner or what elsewhere is known as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese-- might be even more important within Canada where it has been called the "national dish." Both could be said to be measure classifiers to the extent they are elliptical for "a[n order of] poutine" and "a [serving of] macaroni and cheese" respectively. Poutine has the benefit of being the same word in Canada's two official languages, English and French

14-16. Poutine, though a dish that is consumed throughout Canada, originated in Quebec, and thus is worthy of consideration as a collective name for that region: A poutine of French Canadians. Recalling the ship that brought the first permanent French settlers to Quebec City, translation to English would give us a God's gift of French Canadians, which enjoys an undeniable je ne sais quoi placing it above other possibilities (and which like Mayflower is ultimately a measure classifier). Some may enjoy other terms that could be used equally in English and French: a bloc of Québécois, a habitation of French Canadians, though these could be obscure outside Canada. 

Readers are invited to leave their opinions and observations, identify terms they like and why, and suggest their own if they are so inclined. Readers should of course identify from where they hail.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Cast and Let Fly: A Kettle of Hawks

A kettle of red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis)
over San Francisco (photo courtesy of Jessica Weinberg,
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, NPS
Hawks are birds of prey who every year migrate long distances north and south. Many gain ten to 20 percent of their body weight before undertaking the trip. The weight is stored as fat, a high-density fuel. As migration exacts a high energy cost, the birds need this extra fuel to complete their travels over thousands of miles. Hawks along with other birds of prey save as much energy as they can, much as cyclists will put their bikes in low gear when going up hill or refrain from pedaling at all on the way down. When a hawk finds a wind deflecting over a hill, the bird will ride it up-- this is called a slope soar. When a hawk finds a pocket of warm air rising from the ground (called a thermal), the bird will circle skyward, as high as 3000 feet (915 m), and then glide gently on its way. This is called a thermal soar.

As they travel, hawks may form a flock with other birds of prey-- falcons, goshawks, eagles. Birdwatchers seek out these low-energy thermal glides, watching as majestic wings rise slowly and then drift on. A sky full of gliding hawks and raptors is widely known in birding as a kettle. The terms boil and cauldron are also heard. In each case the term envisions hawks spinning up to their destination by the power of the warming earth. The terms kettle and cauldron are also used metaphorically for "hawks" on matters of public policy: CNBC reports on a "cauldron of hawks" that has emerged on the Federal Reserve's inflation policy; The Guardian reports on a so-called "kettle of hawks" on national security matters. Total online references to kettle outnumber references to both cauldron and boil by about 20 to one.

Orinthologist Donald Heintzelman has done more than anyone to popularize the term kettle. He used the term in print over the course of four decades beginning at least as early as 1970 in his book Hawks of New Jersey. "Kettle" in Heintzelman's many books occurs at a minimum in 1972, 1975, 1976, twice in 1979, 1983, 1986 and twice in 2004. Heintzelman should be credited with an early and instrumental interest in the effects of DDT on birds of prey, specifically the effects of the chemical on the size and health of bird populations. He encouraged "civilian" hawkwatching and birdcounts for purposes of monitoring the fallout of DDT starting in 1961. He worked with birdwatching groups to monitor hawks, setting up yearly bird counts in different part of the mid-Atlantic states, and continued these efforts even after the DDT ban went into effect in the United States in 1972. The 1988 membership directory of the Raptor Research Foundation, which lists him as a member, is memorably entitled The Kettle. His research into bird behavior, his efforts to organize hawkwatching that brought ten of thousands to monitor these birds year after year, and his extensive writing career led the term "kettle" catching on as it has.
David Gessner in Soaring With Fidel: An Osprey Odyssey From Cape Cod to Cuba and Beyond (2007) alleges an entirely different kettle of hawks (as an aside, some will smile upon learning that Gessner's book, which contains the words "Cuba" and "Cape Cod" in its very title, is published by Beacon Press). Gessner observes that an area noted for its flocks of hawks rising on thermals from lowlands called der Kessel (the kettle in Pennsylvania Dutch) near Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania serves as the source of the term for birdwatchers. Gessner's explanation would be on more solid ground if the researchers and scientists at the Hawk Mountain reserve gave at least passing support to this theory on their own website. They do not. Regardless, the existence of the terms boil and cauldron indicate that these names of assembly are based more on the behavior of these birds of prey and not on the name of any particular local landmark.
Dame Berners in The Book of St. Albans (1468) tells us that two individual "hawks of the tower" are called a cast and three such birds should be called a leash. Randle Holme in the Academy of Armory and Blazon (1688) gives us eyrie (now generally spelled aerie) as an additional term of venery for two hawks of the tower and staff for three of the same. Aerie maintains currency as a term for a nest of hawks or other birds of prey, "built high on a cliff or on the top of a mountain." Neither Berners nor Holme specifically discusses what to do for larger groups, though flock always remains a generic possibility. It should be noted that even as early as 1702, A New English Dictionary leaves open the possibility that "cast" might be used for any number of hawks though the dictionary also defines it more narrowly as a "couple" of hawks. Modern sources suggest it is any group of hawks used in falconry

Hawks of the tower were for the exclusive use of the upper classes, each species for a different stratum of society: the gyrfalcon for the king, the falcon-gentle for the prince, the saker falcon for knight, and so on. Each of these hawks of the tower, despite that name, is in fact a falcon, a bird in the genus Falco. No one every claimed The Book of St. Albans made any sense, recollecting the word play Dame Berners invites her readers to pursue. By contrast, the lower classes are confined to the goshawk and the sparrow, so-called "hawks of the fist," which are in fact true hawk species in the genus Accipiter and not falcons. These true hawks one properly "lets fly." Thus flight is the proper term of venery here; Dame Berners tells us not to use "cast" either as a name for hawks of the fist or as a verb when these birds are put to flight. 

The irony deepens as these species are in a genus different from those described by Heintzelman's kettles. These latter birds are in a different genus, Buteo, yet are all the same called hawks in North America (Buteo species in the Old World are by contrast called buzzards). Thus in a very real sense, the kettles of hawks in the genus Buteo that Heintzelman has studied and counted are not the St. Albans hawks of the fist which belong to the genus Accipiter. These kettles are likewise not the hawks of the tower (which are really falcons in the genus Falco) about which Juliana Berners attempts to teach the medieval gentleman. Heintzelman's and Berners' terms are in a strict sense not overlapping and apply to different birds in different places.
So many terms to choose from, whether casting or letting fly, by commoners or noblemen or gentlemen, whether gliding on thermals, whether in groups of thousands or groups of two or three, or in nests on a mountain top, whether birds of prey in the Old World and New World, or birds used in falconry that strictly speaking are hawks or not. There are terms of venery as precise or vague or lyrical or poetic as anyone might possibly want to be. Let the game of the hunt begin or let all join the game already in progress. 

As of May 1, 2014 ("name" + "of hawks" per Google):

* cast, 235,000
* flight, 178,000
* kettle, 36,400

* flock, 32,600

* aerie, 9,890

* boil, 1,320

* cauldron, 1,270

* staff, 384

* leash, 224

Subfamily Buteoninae (buteonine hawks)
* hawk or buzzard {en} 
* aligot {ca} 
* gavilán, busardo or ratonero {es}
* buse {fr}
Species in the genus Buteo and others in the New World are called hawks in English, in the Old World they are called buzzards. Buteo species resident in Spain (B. buteo, B. rufinus and B. lagopus) are called busardo; ratonero is also heard particularly for Buteo buteo. Buteo species in the Americas are referred to as gavilán. Oddly, RAE does not record "busardo" nor "ratonero" except in the form "águila ratonera" for B. buteo.

Subfamily Accipitrinae (goshawks, sparrowhawks and hawk relatives)

Species named "hawk" in English: 
* astor {ca} 
* azor {es}
* autor {fr}

Species named "goshawk" in English: 
* astor {ca} 
* azor {es}
* autor {fr}
Species named "sparrowhawk" in English: 
* esparver {ca}
* gavilán {es}
* épervier {fr}
Subfamily Melieraxinae (chanting goshawks)
Genus Melierax (Micronisus)

* goshawk {en} 
* astor {ca} 
* azor {es} 
* autor {fr}
"Hawks of the tower" that are in fact falcons and that belong to the genus Falco will be addressed in a future post.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

What Is a Hawk: Common names used in the Family Accipitridae in English, Catalan, Spanish & French

These are not translations per se; these are the terms used as part of the common names of the species for each language in each genus. For individual species names, follow the links to the English Wikipedia entry, and follow to the language in question.

Subfamily Elaninae (elanid kites)
Genera ElanusChelictiniaGampsonyx and Elanoides
{en} kite, {ca} esparver, {es} elanio, {fr} élanion
Subfamily Perninae (honey buzzards)
Genus Aviceda (bazas) 
{en} baza, {ca} unk, {es} unk, {fr} baza
Genera Henicopernis and Pernis (honey buzzards)
{en} buzzard, {ca} aligot, {es} abejero, {fr} bondrée
Genus Leptodon (grey-headed and white-collared kites)
{en} kite, {ca} milà, {es} milano, {fr} milan
Genus Chondrohierax (hook-billed and Cuban kites)
{en} kite, {ca} milà, {es} gavilán, {fr} milan
Subfamily Aegypiinae (Old World vultures)
Genera SarcogypsAegypiusTorgosTrigonoceps and Gyps
{en} vulture, {ca} voltor, {es} buitre, {fr} vautour
Genus Necrosyrtes (hooded vulture)
{en} vulture, {ca} aufrany, {es} alimoche, {fr} vautor
Subfamily Gypaetinae (Old World vultures)
Genus Neophron (Egyptian vulture)
{en} vulture, {ca} aufrany, àguila, voltor  {es} alimoche, abanto, guirre o buitre, {fr} percnoptère, vautour
Genus Gypohierax (Palm-nut vulture)
{en} vulture, {ca} voltor, {es} buitre, {fr} palmiste, vautour
Genus Gypaetus (bearded vulture)
{en} vulture, lammergeyer, lammergeier {ca} trencalòs, {es} quebrantahuesos, {fr} gypaète
Genus Eutriorchis (Madagascan serpent eagle)
{en} serpent eagle, {ca} serpentari, {es} culebrera azor, {fr} serpentaire
Subfamily Buteoninae (buteonine hawks)
Genus Geranoaetus
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} gavilán or aguilucho, {fr} buse

Genus Buteo
Buteo species in the New World are called "hawks" in English, in the Old World they are called "buzzards:"

{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} busardo or gavilán, {fr} buse
Species B. swainsoni (Swainson's hawk) 
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} busardo, gavilán or aguilucho, {fr} buse
 Species B. ventralis (rufous-tailed hawk) 
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} aguilucho, busardo, gavilán or peuco, {fr} buse
Species B. galapagoensis (Galápagos hawk) 
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} ratonero, cernícalo, gavilán or busardo {fr} buse 
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} busardo or aguilucho, {fr} buse
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} gavilán, {fr} buse
Species B. regalis (ferruginous hawk) 
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} gavilán, águila o halcón, {fr} buse
Species B. ridgwayi (Ridgway's hawk)
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} gavilán or guaraguaito, {fr} buse, {fr} buse 
Species B. platypterus (broad-winged hawk)
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} águila or gavilán {fr} buse
Species B. albonotatus (zone-tailed hawk)
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} gavilán, aguilucho, {fr} buse 
Species B. polysoma (variable hawk)
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} gavilán, aguilucho, águila, ñanco or pihuel, {fr} buse
Species B. buteo (common buzzard)
{en} buzzard, {ca} aligot, {es} ratonero, busardo, águila, {fr} buse
Species B. rufinus (long-legged buzzard
{en} buzzard, {ca} aligot, {es} ratonero or busardo, {fr} buse 
{en} buzzard, {ca} aligot, {es} ratonero, busardo or aguililla, {fr} buse
{en} buzzard, {ca} aligot, {es} unk, {fr} buse 
Species B. oreophilus (mountain buzzard), B. archeri (Archer's buzzard)(B. auguralis) red-necked buzzard
{en} buzzard, {ca} aligot, {es} busardo, {fr} buse 
Species (B. brachypterus) Madagascar buzzard
{en} buzzard, {ca} aligot, {es} busardo, gavilán {fr} buse
Species B. hemilasius (upland buzzard)B. rufofuscus (jackal buzzard), B. augur (Augur buzzard)
 {en} buzzard, {ca} aligot, {es} busardo or ratonero {fr} buse

Genus Parabuteo (Harris's hawk, white-rumped hawk)
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} busardo, peuco, halcón, aguililla, gavilán, {fr} buse
Genus Rupornis  (roadside hawk)
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} gavilán, aguilucho, taguato {fr} buse
Genus Pseudastur
{en} hawk, {ca} unk, {es} busardo, aguilucho, gavilán, {fr} buse
Genus Morphnarchus (barred hawk)
{en} hawk, {ca} unk, {es} busardo, gavilán, {fr} buse
Genus Buteogallus
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} busardo or gavilán, {fr} buse
Genus Busarellus
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} busardo, águila, aguilucho or aguililla, {fr} busarelle
Genus Leucopternis
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} busardo or gavilán, {fr} buse
Genus Cryptoleucopteryx (plumbeous hawk)
{en} hawk, {ca} aligot, {es} busardo or gavilán, {fr} buse
Genus Kaupifalco (lizzard hawk)
{en} hawk, {ca} unk, {es} "busardo gavilán," {fr} autor or buse
Genus Butastur
{en} buzzard, {ca} aligot, {es} unk, {fr} busautor
Genus Harpyhaliaetus (solitary eagles)
{en} eagle, {ca} àguila, {es} águila, {fr} buse
Genus Geranospiza (crane hawk)
{en} hawk, {ca} unk, {es} azor or gavilán, {fr} buse
Subfamily Aquilinae
Genera Spizaetus and Nisaetus
{en} hawk-eagle, {ca} àguila astor, {es} águila azor, {fr} aigle
Genus Hieraaetus
{en} hawk-eagle, {ca} àguila, {es} águila, {fr} aigle
Genera LophaetusLophotriorchisAquila, IctinaetusStephanoaeteus and Polemaetus
{en} eagle, {ca} àguila, {es} águila, {fr} aigle

Subfamily Circinae (harriers)
Genus Circus
{en} harrier, {ca} arpella, {es} aguilucho, gavilán, aguilucho, vari {fr} busard
Subfamily Polyboroidinae (harrier-hawks)
Genus Polyboroides
{en} harrier-hawk or gymnogene {ca} arpella esperverenca, {es} aguilucho, {fr} gymnogène
Subfamily Milvinae (milvine kites)
Genera HarpagusIctiniaRostrhamusHelicolestesHaliasturMilvusLophoictinia and Hamirostra
{en} kite, {ca} milà, {es} milano, {fr} milan
Subfamily Accipitrinae (goshawks, sparrowhawks and hawk relatives)
Genera AccipiterUrotriorchisErythrotriorchisMegatriorchis
Species named "hawk" in English: {ca} astor, {es} azor, {fr} autor
Species named "goshawk" in English: {ca} astor, {es} azor, {fr} autor
Species named "sparrowhawk"in English: {ca} esparver, {es} gavilán, {fr} épervier
Subfamily Circaetinae (snake eagles)
Genus Terathopius 
{en} bateleur, {ca} àguila, {es} águila, {fr} bateleur
Genus Circaetus
{en} snake eagle, {ca} àguila serpentera, {es} culebrera, {fr} circaète
Genus Spilornis
{en} serpent eagle, {ca} serpentari, {es} culebrera, {fr} serpentaire
Genus Pithecophaga (Philippine eagle)
{en} eagle, {ca} àguila, {es} águila, {fr} aigle
Subfamily Haliaeetinae (sea eagles)
Genus Haliaeetus
{en} sea eagle or fish eagle, {ca} pigarg or àguila marina, {es} pigargo or águila marina, {fr} pygargue
Species H. leucocephalus (bald eagle)
{ca} àguila marina de cap blanc o pigarg americà, {es} águila americana, águila de cabeza blanca, pigargo de cabeza blanca or pigargo americano, {fr} pygargue à tête blanche
Genus Ichthyophaga
{en} fish eagle, {ca} pigarg, {es} pigarguillo, {fr} pygargue
Subfamily Harpiinae
Genera Morphnus (crested eagle) and Harpia (harpy eagle)
{en} eagle, {ca} harpia, {es} arpía or águila, {fr} harpie
Genus Harpyopsis (Papuan eagle)
{en} eagle, {ca} àguila, {es} arpía, {fr} aigle
Subfamily Melieraxinae (chanting goshawks)
Genus Melierax (Micronisus)
{en} goshawk, {ca} astor, {es} azor, {fr} autor

Per Wikipedia:

Hawk is a common name for some birds of prey, widely distributted and varying greatly in size.

The large and widespread Accipiter genus includes goshawkssparrowhawks, the Sharp shinned Hawk and others. These are mainly woodland birds with long tails and high visual acuity, hunting by sudden dashes from a concealed perch.
  In Australia and Africa hawks include some of the species in the subfamily Accipitrinae, which comprises the genera AccipiterMicronisusMelierax, Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis.

In the Americas (and other areas) the term includes small to medium-sized members of the Accipitridae—the family which includes the "true hawks" as well as eagleskitesharriers and buzzards. 

Owls are members of the order Strigiformes and are not hawks.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Suburban Pests & Biblical Plagues: An Army of Caterpillars

An Army of Caterpillars (work of Creative Commons Attribution-
Share Alike 3.0 Unported licensor Gladson Machado
The Hebrew prophet Joel, three or four centuries before the common era, attributes these words to God, and reckons the cankerworm and the palmerworm, caterpillars all, a veritable army of the Lord:

And I will restore to you 
the years that the locust hath eaten,
the cankerworm, the caterpillar, and the palmerworm,
my great army which I sent among you. 

Joel 2:25 (KJV). The Hebrew for "caterpillar" in the original text, chasil (חָסִיל), from a root meaning to devour or consume, is obscure and might variously refer to the locust, grasshopper or caterpillar.  Regards, Joel sees these "creeping things" as a manifestation of God's judgment and a call to repentance. When the same fate befalls the Puritans in the Old Bay Colony, their own preachers too allege insufficient piety and argue for repentance:

Also the Lord was pleased to awaken us
(to our sinful neglect of the Sabbath)
with an army of caterpillars that,
had He not suddenly rebuked them,
they had surely destroyed the husbandman's hope.

Edward Johnson's The Wonder-working Providence of Sion's Savior in New England (1654). There is nothing like seeing the Day of Judgment right around the corner to suffuse every moment, and every caterpillar, with meaning.

Johnson, with the King James Version in hand, uses the term "caterpillar" in the modern sense; that is, the larval forms of the order Lepidoptera (better known as moths and butterflies, who in their later stages have their own terms of venery). The word "caterpillar" is first recorded in 1440, though no term of venery is recorded in the The Book of St. Albans (1486). In fact, only three collective terms for insects (for bees, lice and flies) are recorded in any of the classic English treatises on hunting and hawking up through Sports and Pastimes of the People of England (1801). 

Yet Lapham's Quarterly (2013) claims a St. Albans source for the term of venery "army of caterpillars." This is incorrect, as not only is "caterpillar" lacking, but there is nothing in any of the treatises that identifies a noun of assembly as an "army." One does, however, find in The Book of St. Albans "a host of sparrows," which according to James Hodgkin writing for the Philological Society (1908) denotes "an army or hostile force, and not without cause, from their destructive habits." Similar logic and the precedence of the biblical tradition surely apply to caterpillars.

There are nearly one-quater million on-line instances of "army of caterpillars" since Edward Johnson to settle the ubiquity of the term. Homeowners are instructed in The American City, Town & Country Edition (1919) how to prevent "an army of caterpillars" from invading their premises. Issac P. Trimble, M.D., New Jersey state entomologist writing in his diaries in 1865, records how an "army of caterpillars ... made such sad havoc with the foliage of our fruit trees." In 1885, geologist and cartographer Clarence Dutton uses the image for the unusual topography of the Colorado Plateau, describing "many short abrupt ranges, or ridges, looking upon the map like an army of caterpillars crawling northward." These caterpillars invite reverence much more than they do repentance.

In 2011, the Dictionary of Entomology labeled "army of caterpillars" the official term of venery in the unlikely case there continues to be doubt.

* oruga {es}
* eruga {ca}
* chenille {fr} 
carpéleuse {nrm}
The Old Norman French "catepelose" (cate, cat + pelose, hairy) is the source of the English word. 
* 毛虫 (kemushi) {jp} 
毛虫 (máochóng) {zh}
Amusingly, in Japanese and Chinese, caterpillar is , hairy + , insect.
κάμπια (kámpia) {el}
Given the Greek "kámpia" for caterpillar, the so far unattested adjectival form should naturally be "kampian."