Sunday, June 30, 2013

What the heck is a pineapple? (or, "In which I have a random conversation")

So recently Steve and I stumbled upon a post - I want to say we found it on Reddit - about how the English is the only language that calls a pineapple a pineapple.

Of course, this is us we're talking about, so we couldn't just leave it at that - we had to know why basically every other language uses some version of the word "ananas" when referring to pineapples.


Yeah, I know, who cares, right? But these are the types of conversations we get into, what can I say ;)

Anyway, we had to know what came first - the pineapple, or the ananas. Of course, the scientific classification is ananas comosus, as we discovered by looking up the wiki page on pineapples...but noooo, I couldn't just take that for an answer. I had to read the history of the name to determine which name actually came first.

I scrolled down the wiki page and read that pinecones were originally called pineapples, and that word was first recorded in 1398. Columbus encountered the pineapple in 1493 on Guadalupe, but at the time he called it pina de Indes, or "pine of the Indians" - they weren't actually referenced as "pineapples" until 1664.

But still, I thought, couldn't it be a possibility that the classification name of ananas comosus was given to the pineapple after it had been named "pineapple", which would mean that technically they were first called pineapples?


This led me to read that ananas was chosen as the genus name for pineapple because the South American language Tupi word for pineapple is nanas.

And Tupi, along with Guarini, is one of the better-known languages in the area where the pineapple originates. Additionally, the word nanas - both its existence and its reference to the pineapple - was first recorded in 1555.

So I guess it's not hard to see - and I suppose, not all that surprising - that yes, our language is a bit silly for continuing to insist on calling the ananas a pineapple.

But at the same time...I think the word ananas is weird. A bit tongue-twisting, perhaps. So I think I'll just stick with pineapple anyway ;) Pin It

1 comment:

  1. Pineapple makes sense to me, it's kind of like an apple! Although I'll admit it's quite a peculiar word.