Date: Wed, 22 Nov 1995 09:19:15 -0800


Subject: Re: Turkish Language - Melungeon question (fwd)

Both words sound particularly un-Turkish to me, especially "melungeon".

No native Turkish phrase, (or Arabic or Persian phrase borrowed into

Turkish) meaning approximately "Abandoned by God" remotely approaches

the sound of "melungeon". Neither can I find any Turkish word that would

yield the pronounciation "gaumy" since there is no "au" diphthong in Turkish

nor can I find anything approaching that meaning in Ottoman Turkish,

which would assumedly have been spoken when these words were borrowed. Modern

Turkish has replaced many common Ottoman words with reconstructed words

based on

native Turkish roots, so modern reference works will be of little or no use.

Webster's 3rd Int. Dict. lists the origin of melungeon as unknown, and

speculates that gaum and its relatives as deriving from a dialectical

pronounciation of "gum". Both of these suggestions seem much more plausible

than a Turkish origin of these words.

Also, Mathews' Dictionary of Americanisms gives several interesting

quotes on melungeons: 1889 "Boston Trav" 13 Apr. "They resented the

appellation Melungeon ... and proudly called themselves Portuguese."

1891 "Arena" III, p. 240 "The Melungeons believe themselves to be of

Cherokee and Portuguese extraction."

1940 "American Speech" XV, p. 46 suggests the word derives from the

French melange.

On gaum, etc., DARE v. 2 p. 642-4



On Tue, 21 Nov 1995, Daniel S Goodman wrote:

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Date: Tue, 21 Nov 1995 00:03:49 -0500 (EST)

From: William Albert Davis wmadavis[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

To: Stumper-list stumpers-list[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CRF.CUIS.EDU

Subject: Turkish Language - Melungeon question

In a November 12th edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal there is an

article on the Melungeons (a people of dark complexion and uncertain orgin

from the Tennesee-Kentucky-Virginia border) and it quotes Dr. Brent

Kennedy, author of THE MELUNGEONS, as saying that the word Melungeon "is

Turkish, meaning "Abandoned by God." "

Is there such an expression in Turkish, and how close is it to sounding

like "Melungeon?"

He also says that "gaumy" meand "messed up" in Turkish, and that "guamed

up" is an old expression in areas where the Melungeons live.

Thanks for any insight,

Bill Davis wmadavis[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]


* William A. Davis * 1424 Arcade Avenue * Louisville * KY * 40215 *

* P.O.Box 337 * Ghent * KY * 41045 * (502) 363-4521 *