What happens if someone puts an umbrella on it? Why do we say the phrase llama? Here are a few answers we hope you find interesting as we explore these words and their history.
First, when we say llama we do not refer to a wild animal, we are speaking about a domesticated animal. There are many words associated with llamas in the languages of the world. They range from the common name llama, meaning an animal of the llama family, in various African languages, to the llama in Japanese, to the llama-style llama pattern on the shirt for men in the United States, to this picture at the top of this page for one of the most popular breeds of llama, the aloana llama, in Spain.
In some cultures, the llama is the symbol of fertility. In the West Indies, for example, in places where the llama was domesticated and made into a domesticated beast of burden (as in the Aztecs), it was called a “jalango” (“liar’s llama”), because it would lie around stealing food, and it was often sacrificed to the god Hantemoc in Mexico to symbolize fertility (it is possible that the word “jalango” comes from the Nahuatl word “jelango” meaning liar, and means the same as “liar’s llama”) .
It is believed by some that the original llama was the one who ate the first seeds and gave the world our first fruits and vegetables, but most historians say the llama did not grow into this role until humans began farming.
If you take a closer look at the English language, you may notice that many of the words relating to “wild animals” may be derived from the Latin word for livestock; meaning “livestock”. And if we take the word “animal”, which originally meant “living creature” rather than a specific living thing, it is possible the word “liar” was chosen to refer specifically to this domesticated species. If this is the case, then we may have been referring to the llama as an “animal of the alga” (the term alga means “living plant” or “living thing”), rather than the beast that is now called “the llama”.
In fact, as the llama crossed the Atlantic in the 1320s, its reputation as a cunning liar spread from North America to parts of Europe. There they
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