Oh, I absolutely CHORTLED as I was proofreading this great story about the Plains trickster Ictinike (Iktomi, Unktomi): Judson is reporting some old field report where the anthropologist uses a LATIN word, mingam, in order to avoid having to say... pee (urinate, piss, whatever). HILARIOUS. This is something that happened a lot in 19th-century books, and even into the 20th-century: Ben Perry, in his monumental Loeb edition of the Aesopic fables of Babrius and Phaedrus published in 1965, used Latin in the appendix to replace the scandalous sexual items in medieval Aesopic fables. There are probably even more recent examples, although that Perry one is the most recent one I am familiar with.
Of course I just replaced Latin "mingam" with "I've got to pee" in the version my students are reading, and included a note to that effect. Too funny. Now that Latin is not common knowledge among academics (as it once was), I wonder how many people might be stumped by that word "mingam" in the book, thinking it is some kind of Omaha word, and not just realizing it is a Latin euphemism, ha ha ha.
mingo: http://athirdway.com/glossa/?s=mingo
+Justin Schwamm and +Peter Sipes you will love this!
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