This post isn’t really going to be about linguistics, but I’ve noticed a trend with my blog visitors and want to discuss it a bit. You see, about 1 in 10 hits to my blog for the past three months have been people looking for the word tikaani ‘wolf’. Apparently it’s a very popular dog name and people want to know how to pronounce it. Also, most people think it’s an Eskimo word, but it isn’t. Sorry to burst your bubble.
One more time for emphasis: tikaani is not an Eskimo word. It’s from Ahtna, one of the Native American languages of Alaska. If it were (Central Alaskan) Yup’ik Eskimo, for example, it would be kegluneq. If it were Iñupiaq Eskimo, it would be amaġuq.
Putting tikaani aside, a lot of hits to this blog come from people searching for dog names. What is it that makes people want Alaskan and/or Eskimo names for their dogs? (Judging from this page at the Alaska Native Language Center, they get asked about dog names a lot, too.) Sure, they might be huskies, but so what? I don’t see people naming their German Shepherds Helmut or Fritz just because the breed is German.