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Etymology of Some Common Names for New Zealand Freshwater Fishes

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Title:Etymology of Some Common Names for New Zealand Freshwater Fishes
Authors:McDowall, R.M.
Date Issued:Jan 1996
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:McDowall RM. 1996. Etymology of some common names for New Zealand freshwater fishes. Pac Sci 50(1): 117-121.
Abstract:Three vernacular names for New Zealand freshwater fishes have
phonetic similarities that might suggest related etymologies: "kokopu" (family
Galaxiidae), "cockabully" (family Tripterygiidae), and "bully" (family Eleotridae).
That "k6kopu" has authentic roots in New Zealand Maori can be shown
by its use in traditional Maori myth and legend, and also by the use of the same
or similar words for fish elsewhere in Polynesia (e.g., "kokopu" in the Cook
Islands and "o'o'pu" in Hawai'i). The etymology of "cockabully" can be traced
back through "cockabulla" to an origin in "k6kopu," though the name "cockabully"
is now applied to a group of fish that no evidence suggests were ever
known to Maori as "kokopu." "Bully," although appealing as a contraction of
"cockabully," and thus with origins in "k6kopu," almost certainly had its origins
in the English "bullhead," even though the Maori "k6kopu" was probably
sometimes used for fish now known as "bully."
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 50, Number 1, 1996

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