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Re: Corn vs. Maize



>True, I was raised in Indiana and I never heard the word.  We would have
>thought someone was daft if they used that word.  But the word corn was used
>from ancient English times to mean any grain.  All the Biblical references
>to corn means that it was some type of grain but never the corn (maize) that
>was only native to Americas.  That is why finding sculptures of corn on the
>cob at  Rosslyn which was built in 1446 is so significant if one believes
>that Columbus was the first European to North America.  When the Europeans
>began to encounter corn, I suppose they didn't have a name for it right away
>but recognized it as a type of seed as in any grain so continued to call it
>Corn.  But at some place someone  began to distinguish it by calling it
>maize.  Perhaps it was an name used by a certain Indian tribe.

The English word maize comes from the Spanish word maz,
which comes from the Taino word mahiz.
The earliest citation in English is from 1555.

Here is more than you ever wanted to know about maize:
 http://www.ag.iastate.edu/departments/agronomy/cornpage.html

The use of the word in Spanish probably dates from Columbus's arrival
on the island of Hispaniola in 1492, where he met the Taino Indians,
who lived in what is now Haiti:

http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/haiti/history/precolumbian/tainover.htm

>   Probably by
>the 2nd and 3rd generations this became standardized and the former broader
>meaning of the word was lost.

Probably.

>   Perhaps when one of these Yankees began discussing their crops with their
>English friends they discovered the problem with the word corn and this
>Yankee remembered vaguely that the Indians called it maize so the word was
>adopted by the English.   Now this last paragraph is pure speculation.

I believe the word "Yankee", like all English settlements in the Americas,
postdates 1555.  Not to mention there are certain problems with referring
to the residents of the first continuing English American settlement,
at Jamestown in Virginia, as Yankees.

>Laurel

John
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