MÁRĖSUEN GRIMÉ* / Risso’s dolphin

photo source: wikimedia

márėsuen grimé“, s.m., pronounced [märɐswɛ̃ grɪmɛ] 🔊, lit. scratched dolphin, is the Sarkese neology name for “Risso’s dolphin” (Grampus griseus), a cetacean mammal, who has only recently returned to the Sarkese waters with the “Big Return” of several marine species to the Channel Islands, in the past few years, after an almost half century long break, including dolphins in general, “márėsuên“, but also octopuses, “pyeuvre“.

origin: Sarlese neology / first recorded for Sarkese: 2023 (introduced) / current status in the 21st century: introduced

“márėsuen grimé” is a compound name, consisting of a variable countable masculine noun, “márėsuen“, meaning “dolphin, and a variable past participle of the verb “grimě“, grimé, meaning “scratched”, in masculine, so “scratched dolphin”. We say “un márėsuen grimé”, one Risso’s doplhin, in singular, and “dê márėsuên grimè”, in plural.

The pronunciation is regular, though it should be remembered, that both the final ‘-ên’ and ‘-è’ in plural have to be pronounced long, so [ɛ̃:] and [ɛ:] respectively. As indicated by the diacritics in the endings of the participle, ‘-é’ and ‘-è’, diphtongisation is not permitted.

On the origin

“márėsuen grimé” is a Sarkese neologism, which was introduced simply to provide a missing term for “Risso’s dolphin”, which may have had another name in the past, but none has been recorded, since Risso’s doplhins only recently returned to the local waters. If there indeed ever had been a name, it was simply forgotten.

photo source: wikimedia

Given that Risso’s doplhins fall under the marine mammals, that we call “márėsuên“, dolphins, in Sarkese, a distinctive attribute was added – “grimé“, “scratched”, which is the masculine singular past participle form of the verb “á grimě“, which gives us “márėsuen grimé”, literarly “scratched dolphin”.

The logic behind such naming is simple – the typical scars that commonly cover the body of a Risso’s dolphin. Though born grey, rival males scratch each other continously to show dominance and as Risso’s dolphins lack pigmentation, the resulting scars are unusually white, being even more visible in later age. An adult male thus becomes completely covered in white scars from being scratched, which is why “scratched dolphin”, “márėsuen grimé”.


Citation: NEUDÖRFL, Martin. márėsuen grimé/Risso’s dolphin. In: Sark Norman Dictionary Online [on-line]. https://www.bonjhur.net/sndo-vocab-fauna-maresuen-grime

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