Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Watch Your Language: Today's Barbecue Has Changed Over Time

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A Circle of Elders meeting will be held at 11 a.m. this morning and followed by a barbecue.

The word "barbecue" comes down from the Carib Indian word "barbricot." The Caribs were said to once be cannibals however today's barbecue at the Elder Housing Complex will not include the preferred meat of the Carib Indians.

Other common words believed to come from the Carib language are "hurricane (huracan)" and "maiz (mahiz)."

The Carib Indians occupied parts of the Caribbean coastlines of Central and South America as well as islands in the Caribbean. They expanded their territory through warfare and after defeating the neighboring Arawaks, it was said that their custom was to marry the Arawak women and eat the men. The Arawaks referred to the Caribs as "canibas," which became the word "cannibal."

"Maize" could also have come from the Arawak language.

Mohegan language instructor Stephanie Fielding states that "Mohegan has contributed several words to the English lexicon. For example: Wiqám = wigwam; máhkusunsh = moccasins; skôks = skunk; mos = moose; piwi = peewee; and the heeby-jeebies most likely came from cipay = spirit."