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June 15, 2013 Featured article candidate Promoted
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According to HANZAB, "large terns with erectile crests (e.g. S. bergii, S. bengalensis) sometimes placed in Thalasseus." HANZAB lists them under Sterna. Tannin 07:37 4 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Lynx HBW accepts Thalasseus; I've added that and the other segregate genera they accept in brackets. - MPF

Duplicate Article?[edit]

Is this article about the same bird?

no - this article is about the tern family, River Tern is a particular species, jimfbleak 15:17, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
ah, fair enough, just wondering :)


Merriam-Webster, American Heritage, and the OED all say "tern" is from Scandinavian words related to modern Danish terne, etc., and etymonline agrees and adds that Old English stearn meant "starling". Is there some reason these etymologies aren't in the article—maybe a refutation in Hume or something? —JerryFriedman (Talk) 02:26, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

OED says Of Norse origin: compare Danish terne, Swedish tärna, Norwegian and Faroese terna < Old Norse þerna, the tern or sea swallow... Some consider tern to be related to stearn, stern, which occurs in Old English as a bird-name, and, in the form starn, is a name in E. Anglia of the Common and the Black Tern; it is mentioned by W. Turner Avium præcipuarum historia, 1544, as ‘nostrati lingua sterna appellata’, whence Linnæus took Sterna as a generic name. I'm going out shortly, I'll look tomorrow Jimfbleak - talk to me? 06:21, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Jerry, does this work? Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:33, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Jim! I changed it a bit to make it clear from the start that there's controversy and to add a probably source for Linnaeus's Sterna. —JerryFriedman (Talk) 05:34, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
Hi Jerry, I've tweaked slightly. "According to some authorities" was repeated in consecutive sentences, which shouldn't really happen in FA prose. The first two sentences, regarding the facts of the usage in English, aren't a matter of controversy AFAIK (for example, you can download the text of The Seafarer and its translation to check that the word is used in that context). I don't know if the claimed derivation from Norse is controversial or not, I'll take your word for that, but since it's an opinion rather than a fact I've left the reference to the "authorities" there. Hope that makes sense. Your Linnaeus bit clarifies too Jimfbleak - talk to me? 06:50, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for fixing my mistake. I misplaced the part saying what's controversial (having changed what I was going to say in midstream). There is a controversy, since "tern" can't be both from Anglo-Saxon stearn and from Norse words without an "s". I hope it's clearer now. I added Merriam-Webster to go with plural "authorities". I got the statement that Turner's "sterna" was a Latinization of "stern" by asking at the Reference Desk here. I thought it was interesting enough that Linnaeus's Sterna was probably Turner's Latinization that I added a quote with a sourced translation, but you may think that makes the etymology too complicated in a article that about a bird, not a word, so maybe something simpler would be better. (For further complication, Turner seems to have seen the Black Tern at Reedham, which goes nicely with "stern" in Norfolk dialect.) —JerryFriedman (Talk) 19:04, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Looks good to me, Jerry. If you want to see the outcome of a really convoluted etymology, try |this, the outcome of days of discussion between me and Snowman. Jimfbleak - talk to me? 19:19, 11 January 2014 (UTC) Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4