Le Pingouin is probably not what you think it is.

Discovered over the weekend that le pingouin is not a penguin, but a type of auk known as a Razorbill.
The French translation for penguin is manchot.

Apparently, this is a common error. Not surprising since many languages clearly have some sort of agreement on penguin: pingüinos (Spanish), pinguine (German), pikkewyn (Afrikaans), pinguino (Italian), pingwiny (Polish), pingvinfélék (Hungarian), pingüim (Portugese).

Images nabbed from here and here.

Comments

Barbara said…
I love the bottom picture. They look like such regal birds. I would love to see them in their natural environment.
Sweetiepie said…
I thought french call it pingu.
Richard said…
barbara: penguins are indigenously found in quite a wide variety of Southern hemisphere locations - including Peru. I Also think there are holiday packages to Antarctica (well cruises in the area, anyway).

sweetiepie: no, that is the name of a character in a Swiss made children's television show.
b said…
Oh, penguins are so adorable. Despite the confusion, I do like the word manchot for penguin. It just seems to suit the penguin and it rolls off the tongue!
carra said…
My favourite bird... the bird that lives on top of it's sky... I am fascinated with them... BTW in Lithuanian it's PINGVINAS
Richard said…
breal: really? To be honest, I don't think it suits the penguin at all. Maybe I am just a fuddy-duddy.

carra: nice to see you back after your long absence. I see you have changed your avatar. Thanks for letting me know the word in Lithuanian, of course, it makes sense (unlike the French manchot)
carra said…
I must admit, it seems like the French messed up once again. I like names that makes sense, I tend to disagree with B's statement, but let's remember that she loves all things French (even if they don't make sense) and let her get away with it!
Richard said…
carra: the French can be silly on insisting in creating uniquely French words for things, but I am sure it is mostly about national pride. Mind you, most people don't realize that L'Académie française exists to ensure a uniform, standard French because there are so many dialects in France.

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