Barbagianni

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Le parent italien

New Member
Italiano
Hi.Does someone know Barbagianni's (barn owl) etymology ? I found two sources.

The first claims it is a composition of the word barba ("beard" with the meaning of uncle) and Gianni (John). It seems the word barba , with the meaning of uncle, it was diffused in north Italy,mainly, Piedmont.It was a pun to indicate the old men.It has a parallel in French , Barbajan, from "Barbe à Jean" the root should be the same.There is also an appetizer , in that area (eastern part of French Riviera, north Italy and Monaco), the Barbajuan (also spelled Barbagiuan) ,the root should be the same also in this case.

The other source seems to go more in depth affirming it comes from the words composition barba (beard) and ,probabily,gena (jowl) both from Latin.

Many thanks in advance.
 
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  • Necsus

    Senior Member
    Italian (Italy)
    Hello, LPI. Frankly, the second one seems more plausible to me.
    CLIC: " Il suo nome nasce dal latino bàrba = barba e géna= guancia e deriva dalla presenza di un disco facciale nel quale si evidenziano piumini piccoli e flessibili dall’aspetto quasi setoloso."
     

    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    In Greek "barbagianni" commonly means "old john" or "uncle john", and there are some surnames (one is well-known as a brand of ouzo). But there is something relevant to birds: We call "Γκιώνη" (Gjioni, similar to the Albanian for "John") a kind of small owl, after onomatopoieia. It cries during the night something like "giooon". There is also a folk tale about that: Someone killed his brother called Gion, and when he regreted it, he asked Good to tranform him to a bird. So, every night calls his killed brother.
    If Barbagianni is a dialectal word in south Italy, everything is explained.
     

    Olaszinhok

    Senior Member
    Standard Italian
    We call "Γκιώνη" (Gjioni, similar to the Albanian for "John") a kind of small owl, after onomatopoieia. It cries during the night something like "giooon".
    I'm particularly fond of nocturnal birds and we do have that little bird in Italy as well. In Italian, it is called assiolo or chiù, the latter name is due to its typical call during summer nights
     

    Le parent italien

    New Member
    Italiano
    If Barbagianni is a dialectal word in south Italy, everything is explained.
    It seems to be the area corresponding, roughly, to the former Duchy of Savoy.

    Another important source confirms, again, the first hypothesis: adding, due to the frequent passage from human names to animal names (attested before 1336). The divergent source is dated 1993, the others are dated 2014 and 2011.
     

    Rocko!

    Senior Member
    Español - México
    This bird has not a beard... but it's a carnivore...
    1675:
    barba1.PNG

    Museo Cospiano annesso a quello del famoso Ulisse Aldrovandi e donato alla sua patria dall'illustrissimo signor Ferdinando Cospi patrizio di Bologna e senatore cavaliere commendatore di S. Stefano, Balì d'Arezzo, e march. di Petriolo, fra' gli Accademici Gelati il fedele, e principe al presente de' medisimi. (1675).

    And they don't seem very sure about the word "barba"
    1645:
    barba2.PNG

    Vocabulario italiano, e spagnuolo, vltimamente con la correzione, ed aggiunta del suo vero Autore mandato in luce nel quale con ageuolezza, e copia di molti vocaboli, nella prima stampa tralasciati, si dichiarano, e con proprieta conuertono tutte le voci Toscane in Castigliano, e le Castigliane in Toscano.

    Could it be possible that the word 'barba' had developed from the word 'bubu'?
    1801:
    barba5.PNG

    Lexicon latino-italico-illyricum
     

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