Indians speaking like Tarzan

Sep 2012
949
Tarkington, Texas
#21
Forget Karl May or even Zane Grey--the stereotype was created by J. Fennimore Cooper and perpetuated by Hollywood. In the silent era during interaction between Native Americans (and African tribesmen and South Sea Island cannibals and cavemen for that matter) and White people, actors were given exaggerated hand movements to support the brief subtitles--that never seem to go away and Indian sign language somehow crept into mythology (and ham acting).
Here's another trope--why does the Red Indian brave or the African chief always have a booming deep bass voice? Where are all the limp-wristed fairy Indians and Africans with their lisps and falsetto voices? "oooh White man speaks with forked tongue---bitch!"

Of course, as a native speaker of the language of the Angels (God only speaks English--watch any biblical film) it is well known that benighted and ignorant natives are always able to understand pidgin English shouted in a slow manner using their own accents--even if those ignorant natives are French, German or Italian.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zV1zK8zRCPo

Find the movie "Little Big Man" with Dustin Hoffman. Chief Dan George was great! Dustin even had a Gay Indian Brother.


Pruitt
 
Apr 2014
203
Earth
#24
I have heard Native Americans and Eskimos (especially eakimos and the colder Natives to me speak somewhat like they do in the movies. The fire water, fire stick, “Indian talk” is exaggerated. It is a slight Asian Accwnt since the Natives are Asiatic people and the further north into Alaska do the Natives speak English close as to say, Koreans or Mongolians. Some natives still speak or speak some of their original language and that most Natives have never had much of an education and separated from other races and peoples caused this.

An example would be Lawrence Welk, who was American, born in America but in an isolated community of German farmers in a rural village in North Dakota. His people were isolated and did not mix with others (because they were out in North Dakota somewhere in 1900), so Welk sounded European all of his life. Since the Ntice Americans have done this by choice and rejection, they still keep their original accent and inflection.

Does that make any sense? Been on the “Fire Sage” tonight.
 
Aug 2018
307
Southern Indiana
#25
I have heard Native Americans and Eskimos (especially eakimos and the colder Natives to me speak somewhat like they do in the movies. The fire water, fire stick, “Indian talk” is exaggerated. It is a slight Asian Accwnt since the Natives are Asiatic people and the further north into Alaska do the Natives speak English close as to say, Koreans or Mongolians. Some natives still speak or speak some of their original language and that most Natives have never had much of an education and separated from other races and peoples caused this.

An example would be Lawrence Welk, who was American, born in America but in an isolated community of German farmers in a rural village in North Dakota. His people were isolated and did not mix with others (because they were out in North Dakota somewhere in 1900), so Welk sounded European all of his life. Since the Ntice Americans have done this by choice and rejection, they still keep their original accent and inflection.

Does that make any sense? Been on the “Fire Sage” tonight.

I think it's somewhat natural. In Thai, for example the word for train translates to "fire car", the German word for raccoon is "washing bear"
 
Sep 2018
101
transitory
#26
But I doubt there is a need to call a rifle "fire stick" in English when they could simply ask a trader what's it called. There were no words for horses originally either because horses aren't native to America, so they must have made something up in their own language.
As someone of indigenous American descent, maybe I can offer something useful here. This is only from my ancestors nation, so I can't speak for how other groups handled words for foreign things. In Nimiipuutimpt we have a word for horse, it's "sikem". Horses didn't arrive to our ancestors until the early 18th century, but it was still before Euro-Americans, so at some point our ancestors were able to come up with a decent word. Also, an old word for a gun is "timuni", which is taken from the word for a bow (the kind you shoot with). Bullets were called "cep", the same word used for arrows. The word for white people (still used today) is "soyapo". I don't know if it's related, but in Chinook trade jargon "seapo" means hat (from French "chapeau"). So, maybe our ancestors took the word "soyapo" from the fact that Euro-Americans wore "seapos".

I hope that's of some use to how Native-Americans spoke back in the day.
 
Last edited:
Oct 2013
13,861
Europix
#27
In Thai, for example the word for train translates to "fire car", the German word for raccoon is "washing bear"
In German and Hungarian "refrigerator" is "cold/ice cupboard", for example. That kind of things are quite frequent in both languages (I'd say more frequent that inmany languages), but it's also caused by those languages' specificities.
 
Jul 2009
9,615
#28
In German and Hungarian "refrigerator" is "cold/ice cupboard", for example. That kind of things are quite frequent in both languages (I'd say more frequent that inmany languages), but it's also caused by those languages' specificities.
In English, the earlier 'refrigerator' was an 'ice box.' :)
That is not much different from calling a musket a 'fire stick.'
 
Oct 2013
13,861
Europix
#30
and BTW, the funnies thing is "speaking like Tarzan".

Tarzan would have been unable to speak any language: as he was without any contact with human language, he didn't had had the fiziological transformations of his throat for being able to reproduce the sounds necessary for articulating any language. ;)
 

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