◆Horse or Hippo?

Horse or Hippo?

  Last Sunday, I took a Spanish exam. Before the exam, I had to pound a lot of Spanish words into my head1. Since I don’t have a good memory now, unless2 the new words have something in common3 with English or French, it’s hard work.
  However, I bumped into a funny word which quickly got stuck4 in my brain — caballo [pronounced kabajo]. It means "horse", but as you can tell, it sounds like "hippo", which is [kaba] in Japanese. It struck me so funny5 that now it’s way deep in my memory!
  When I mentioned this to my French teacher, he said in a relaxed way (as if that’s a matter of course),  "Oh, ya! We have a word "cavallier*" which means a soldier who rides a horse."(I know, I know. French and Spanish are romance language s!)
  And later, when I mentioned about this to Will, he said, "Oh, that’s interesting! There was a time when the ancient6 europeans thought that hippos were horses, and the name stuck7." What??? WHY ENGLISH SPEAKING PEOPLE!? (Excuse me. Atsugiri Jason suddenly appeared!)
  HOWEVER, even more to my surprise8, I just remembered and now I checked it, oh no, …. even in Japanese, we write hippo as river horse!! Excuse me, Atsugiri Jason, but WHY JAPANESE PEOPLE!?   
*Often there are cases when "b" and "v" are used kind of in the same place when they are derived from Latin, like "f" and "v".
1 pound A into B : AをBに叩き込む
2 unless = if + not
3 have ~ in common : ~を共通に持つ
4 get stuck : 留まる
5 strike 人 ~ : 人に~という印象を与える
6 ancient = very old
◆7 stick : くっ付く・留まる
8 to one’s surprise : 驚いたことに













 ところが、そんな時、一回でスパッと記憶に入る面白~い言葉に出会いました。— caballo(カバジョ)という言葉。「馬」という言葉なのですが、お気付きのように、何故か「カバ」と呼ぶ。それがあまりに面白くて、記憶にしっかり定着しました。








 しばらくして、この一連の話をウィルにしたら、「それは面白いね!昔、ヨーロッパではカバのことを馬だと思っていて、名前がそのまま残っちゃったんだよね。」ですって。えー???WHY ENGLISH SPEAKING PEOPLE!? (失礼、厚切りジェイソン、突然現る!)






 でも、もっと驚いたことに、思い出しちゃいました…。日本語でも、カバを「河馬」と書くではないですか!!厚切りジェイソン、パクッてゴメンなさい。でも、WHY JAPANESE PEOPLE!?















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