A week ago Kongo asked for help in naming the newest member of the monkey troop. Many gentle readers provided some outstanding monkey name suggestions and the decision was difficult. As Kongo scampered about the country this week between San Diego, Washington, Tampa, and Omaha he pondered all the nominations before settling on Kede (kay-day), suggested by Patrick, Kongo’s youngest who is finishing his doctorate in linguistics at MIT and has become somewhat of an authority on Kinande, one of the Bantu languages of Central Africa where there are indeed a lot of monkeys. (I’m not making this up). Read on for a short dissertation on monkey words in Kinande and all the suggested names.
Excerpt from Patrick’s winning name nomination:
“There seem to be three words that generally mean monkey [in Kinande], and three that mean “a kind of monkey.”
1. Erikede (eh-rih-kay-day) which means “a monkey.”
2. Engima (en-gee-muh) which means “a monkey.”
3. Eritsakwa (eh-rih-tsah-kwah) meaning “monkey.”
4. Embumbi (em-boom-bee) meaning “a kind of monkey with black and white skin.”
5. Engotsi (en-goat-see) ” a kind of monkey”
(Above, I’ve bolded the syllables that are stressed.)
You’ll notice that the beginnings of the words are very similar. That’s because they all begin with the same prefixes. All nouns in Kinande fall into one of 20 classes, and they have different prefixes depending on what class they are. Most animal nouns fall into two classes, beginning with e-ri- or e-n. So if you take the prefixes away, and just focus on the part of the nouns that mean “monkey”, you’ll get:
1. Kede (kay-day)
2. Kima (Kee-muh)
3. Tsakwa (tsah-kwah)
4. Bumbi (Boom–bee)
5. Gotsi (goat-see)
So my vote would be to name the monkey either Kede or Kima.”
Thank you, Patrick! Kongo never knew monkey names could be complicated but it is fitting that we’ve settled upon a name from the Congo, no?
Other nominations included:
- Kravel, from Betty…a take off on travel and Betty is, after all, Kongo’s travel agent.
- Curious George from Pam, and this guy does indeed seem pretty curious.
- King Kong from Cindy and this is ONE BIG MONKEY and LaVagabonde also liked this name.
- BEAR from Joanne who ought to know a bear when she sees one.
- Jumbolaya or Jumbo from Toni who likes spicy entrees.
- Sir Simian from wordswithannaprawn who felt this guy embodied all things ape-ish with a whiff of Victorian grandeur
- Sweet Eyes came from completelydisappear who fell in love with his eyes
- Big Guy from restless Jo and he is that
- Cranbrook came from edebock when apparently the nameless monkey evoked memories from a similar primate gift in British Colombia twenty years ago
- King-Kongo or Big-Bongo from maggie who has a thing for dashes
- And finally, sunburstkissesrowena suggested Silas since he has soft eyes and a laid back look and Silas seemed close to Simian to her.
Whew! A lot of great suggestions an thanks so much to everyone who participated.
Travel safe. Have fun.
- Kongo Needs Help (travel-monkey.me)