Today’s comic is Family Circus.
“I know there’s a country called “Turkey”…I wonder if there’s one called ‘chicken?” – Billy
What does Turkey and Chicken have to do with geography?
The country Turkey and the bird turkey are homonyms. Homonyms are words that are spelled the same and sound the same but have different meanings.
This is turkey the food. It is a bird.
This is Turkey the country. Turkey is located in the Middle East. Geographically the country is in both Europe and Asia.
Where does the name Turkey come from?
The modern day country of Turkey (official name is the Republic of Turkey) was called the Ottoman Empire before the 1920s. However, the name Turkey itself comes from Old French, Turquie. Old French got the name Turquie from Latin, Turchia. The Ottoman Empire was already known unofficially as Turkey (written as Turkye in Middle English) or the Turkish Empire by the Europeans since the Middle Ages.
Why does the bird, turkey, share a name with the country Turkey?
Most people are familiar with turkey as a North American holiday food. It is most commonly eaten at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. The turkey is a bird native to North America. When Europeans first came to the Americas they identified the turkey incorrectly as a guineafowl bird. Another name for guineafowl is turkey fowl. The turkey fowl bird came from Turkey which is where the name turkey comes from.
The official scientific name of the bird, turkey, is Meleagris gallopavo. In other languages, the turkey bird goes by different names that are completely different from the country name.
Turkey the country: Turquie Turkey the bird: Dindon
Turkey the country: Turquía Turkey the bird: Pavo
Turkey the country: Türkei Turkey the bird: Truthühner
In conclusion, this comic is funny because it shows how many people including native English speakers, children and those unfamiliar with geography, become confused when they learn that there is a place called Turkey because most people think turkey is a bird you eat.
This is why the character of Billy thinks that if turkey is the name of both a country and bird than there might also be a place named Chicken.