GRÔSE TǍMINE* / bottlenose dolphin

photo source: wikimedia

grôse tǎmine“, s.f., pronounced [grɔʊ̯s t(ɔ̃/ʊ̃)mẽɪ̯̃n(:)] 🔊, lit. Big Thomine, is the Sarkese optional neologism for “bottlenose dolphin” (Tursiops truncatus), otherwise known in Sarkese simply as “márėsuen“, dolphin. The name is based on the Old Sarkese name for “beaked dolphin”, “tǎmine“, recorded and preserved thanks to John Hamon and Patrice Brasseur, and which is now used primarily for “common dolphin” (Delphinus delphis). The name “grôse tǎmine” was introduced not only to establish a specific name for “bottlenose dolphin”, the most common representative of the dolphin family in local waters (having surpassed common dolphins in number in the 21st century ), but mainly to eliminate the possibility that the intriguing word “tǎmine” was once used for bottlenose dolphins too as a generic term for any “beaked” dolphins.

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

“grôse tǎmine” is a compound name, consisting of the main noun “tǎmine“, which is a feminine countable invariable noun (a she-word that does not change in plural), and the feminine adjectival form “grôse“, which does not change in plural either. We therefore say simply “une grôse tǎmine” in singular, a/one bottlenose dolphin, “deù grôse tǎmine” in plural, two bottlenose dolphins, etc. with no difference in how we write or pronounce the name.

As for the pronunciation of the word “tǎmine”, it is regular, though complex. To learn more on the origin of the word and how to pronounce it properly, see the SNDO entry “tǎmine“.

grôse tǎmine VS márėsuen

Thanks to John Hamon, a local fisherman, and Patrice Brasseur, the Sark Norman name for “beaked dolphin”, “tǎmine“, was recorded in 1975. The last Sarkese speaking fisherman in the 21st century, Bas Adams, did not, however, recall this name and would call bottlenose dolphin, well any “beaked” dolphin, simply “márėsuen“, dolphin.

photo source: wikimedia

Unfortunately, it may never be possible to determine, whether the name “tǎmine” was meant for “common dolphin” only, or any “beaked dolphin”, within the wider “márėsuen” group, including “bottlenose dolphin”, which may not have such a prominent “garfish-like” beak, but still a visibly large one, as compared to, for example, pilot whale or Risso’s dolphin. It should be also noted that in the past, common dolphins were more frequent than bottlenose dolphins in the local waters, while today bottlenose dolphins are the most common dolphins to be seen around Sark.

For this reason, to prevent the loss of one of the possible meanings of the word “tǎmine”, an optional neologism apart from the standard “márėsuen“, was proposed – “grôse tǎmine”, which literally means “big tǎmine” or “Big Thomine”, based on the simple comparison of the larger and sturdier bottlenose dolphin and the smaller common dolphin, known as “tǎmine“.


Citation: NEUDÖRFL, Martin. grôse tǎmine/bottlenose dolphin. In: Sark Norman Dictionary Online [on-line].

Relevant SNDO Entries:

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