Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Slip of the Tongue

Phillip Ochieng, in his own inimitable style, avers in this week's East African:
When we say that the Abaluhya were the autochthons of Lake Victoria’s northern shores, we are saying merely that, as far as our memory goes, they were the first to live there. We are admitting that we do not know the identity of those who may have lived there earlier.
But the point is that the term Nyanza, by which we know that greater area, reveals that a Luhya-speaking people — not the Luo — were its “most recent autochthons.” By the same token, the term Nile must have been coined by the “most recent autochthons” of that valley. 
Only to this extent — only to the extent that the word is theirs — can we call them “Nilotes” (as opposed to the rest of humanity). . . . 

In his book, THE KALENJIN EGYPT ORIGIN LEGEND REVISITED, [Kipkoech arap] Sambu retorts that there is “…one important piece of evidence that should disturb this long-held theory. The ancient [Nilo-Coptic] word for ‘canals’, ‘rivers’... NAIEERU ... appears to be a more convincing origin of the name ‘Nile’…” 

He explains that, among the ancient Nilotes — as among today’s Chinese, Japanese, Mount Kenya Bantus and even some Kalenjin dialects (such as Arror, Sabaoot and Terik) — the liquid consonants l and r were always interchangeable. Thus NAIERO was always apt to come out of the mouth as NAIELO, and vice versa. 

It was the African Danaans (also called Pelasgians, Cadmeians and Libyo-Ethiopians) who took NAIELO to Greece in the fourth millennium BC. Known, too, as Graikoi, “people of Graiai” — the Grey Goddess — they were the autochthons of Greece, the first and only real GREEKS. 
It was the Indo-European Hellenes — invading their country during the second millennium BC — who distorted Naielo into NEILOS or NILOS, which soon passed into Latin as NILUS and into later Western European languages, including French and English, as NILE.
The short version? Some Kaleo shrubbed and we ended up with the River Nile!

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