tortoise and turtle

Urashima陸亀が tortoise で海亀が turtle、というふうに明確に二分されているなら、浦島太郎が助けた亀は turtle であって、tortoise と書けば、その答案は×になるだろう。

ところが、お雇い外国人チェンバレンが訳した浦島太郎では、tortoise となっている。長谷川武次郎による挿絵も海亀には見えないが、これはとりあえず英語と関係がない。

Well, one day he went out in his boat to fish. But instead of catching any fish, what do you think he caught? Why! a great big tortoise, with a hard shell and such a funny wrinkled old face and a tiny tail. Now I must tell you something which very likely you don’t know; and that is that tortoises always live a thousand years, at least Japanese tortoises do.

The Fisher-Boy Urashima, translated by B. H. Chamberlain, 1886


tortoise Animal covered with a hard shell : there are tortoises both of land and water.
turtle It is used among sailors and gluttons for a tortoise.

Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language, 1755

サミュエル・ジョンソン(1709-1784)とチェンバレン(1850 – 1935)は、どちらもイギリス人だった。

privateer and buccaneer

privateer n
an armed ship in the past that was not in the navy but attacked and robbed enemy ships carrying goods [LDCE]

buccaneer n
a pirate, esp one who preyed on the Spanish colonies and shipping in America and the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th centuries [CED]

“What’s a privateer?” Steve asked, puzzled. “Some kind of buccaneer?”

“Sort of.” Rita laughed. “The line was always blurry. Basically, a government that was at war would commission pirates to fight for them against the enemy. In peace, pirates might attack any ship they wanted. The trouble is, the term turns on a legal technicality. They were basically the same people, doing the same things.”

William F. Wu, Isaac Asimov’s Robots in Time 2: Marauder, 1993

From 1660 until 1720, the so-called golden age of piracy, pirates again operated as privateers. This period saw some sailing under the famous “Jolly Roger” flag, with attacks by English pirates on both Spanish and French ships. There were also English attacks on the Dutch; the island of Saint Eustatius, a Dutch sugar island, was attacked by pirates and British soldiers on many occasions, changing hands 10 times during the 1660s and early 1670s. French pirates also started operating freely from their ports on the island of Hispaniola (modern-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Sir Henry Morgan, a Welsh buccaneer, sacked the Spanish town of Portobelo in Panama, which had been well garrisoned.

Justin Corfield, “Piracy in the Atlantic World”, in Encyclopedia of World History, vol. 3, Facts On Files, p. 309

Cartesian diver

オックスフォードの「生化学・分子生物学辞典」で、軟骨 cartilage の項を見たときに、そのひとつ前にあった単語が、コレ。”Cartesian diver” or “Cartesian devil”。「デカルトの潜水夫」または「デカルトの悪魔」。

Cartesian diver or Cartesian devil a device, devised as a toy, adapted as an ultramicrorespirometer, consisting of a small piece of capillary glass tubing open at one end and closed and slightly expanded at the other.

Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, revised edition, Oxford University Press, 2000

元々は「おもちゃ」の「ウルトラマイクロ呼吸計」? 「ウルトラマイクロ呼吸計」よりは「おもちゃ」に惹かれて調べてみると、どこかで見たことがあるような、ないような。日本語では「浮沈子」(ふちんし) というらしい。理科の実験にも使われたりしているようだ。

A Cartesian diver or Cartesian devil is a classic science experiment, named for René Descartes, which demonstrates the principle of buoyancy (Archimedes’ principle) and the ideal gas law.

The Cartesian diver demonstrates not only buoyancy, but the implications of the ideal gas law and Pascal’s principle as well.

Cartesian devilなんでも「アルキメデスの原理」のみならず「理想気体の法則」や「パスカルの原理」まで証明してくれるすぐれもののおもちゃであるらしい。すばらしい。画像は、Wikipedia から。ドイツのガラス工芸で有名なラウシャという町のお土産のようだ。これには悪魔というより「おばけ」という言葉がぴったりだ。かわいい「デカルトのおばけ」。ちなみに、ドイツ語でもデカルトの潜水夫 Cartesischer Taucher というらしい。