"Kangaroo" does NOT derive from the aboriginal for "I don't understand". Captain James Cook's expedition learned the word from an aboriginal tribe that subsequently couldn't be identified. Since there were a *large* number of Australian aboriginal languages, and it has taken some time to record and catalogue the surviving ones, for many years the story that it meant "I don't understand" was plausible. The search was further complicated by the fact that many aboriginal languages imported the word *from* English. But if you consult an up-to-date English dictionary, such as RHUD2, you will see that "kangaroo" is derived from the Guugu-Yimidhirr (a language spoken near Cooktown, North Queensland) word _ga
-urru_ "a large black or grey species of kangaroo". Similar stories are told about "llama" (a Quechua word, not from the Spanish _Como se llama?_ = "What's it called?"); "indri" (this one DOES derive from the Malagasy word for "Look!"); and several place names, among them Canada (_kanata_ was the Huron- Iroquois word for "village, settlement"; Jacques Cartier is supposed to have mistaken this for the name of the country); Istanbul (said to come from a Turkish mishearing of Greek _eis ten poli_ "to the city"); Luzon (supposedly Tagalog for "What did you say?"); Nome (supposedly a printer's misreading of a cartographer's query, "Name?"); Senegal (supposedly from Wolof _senyu gal_ "our boats"); and Yucatan (supposedly = "I don't understand you").
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