鳰: types

That looks as if it should mean λBIRD, but really it means dabchick, or grebe. In Japanese the dabchick is the species from which the entire order of grebes, カイツブリ科 (kaitsuburika), takes its name. This is odd, because it’s not a typical grebe. It’s tiny. I suppose there isn’t a typical grebe, though.

If you’re a speaker of English from the British Isles you probably have type species in mind for the crows, the herons and the thrushes (that last possibly ambiguous but probably the song thrust). In Japanese we have カラス属 (karasuzoku) “the crows”, サギ科 (sagika) “the herons”, and ツグミ科 (tsugumika) “the thrushes”. However, there doesn’t seem to be bird that’s just called a sagi, just as there isn’t a bird that’s just called a grebe in English.

As for duck typing, I think the story for カモ (kamo) is the same as the story for “duck” in English.

Bonus: Japanese thrush archetype.

To do: investigate whether the 鳰 in Haruki Murakami’s “Dabchick” really is a dabchick.

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