The Little Orange


I’m going fructivorous one or more days a week to try to halt an incipient middle-aged spread. I figured it was easier than fasting, but not much heavier on the kilojoules. It makes me feel surprisingly energetic considering how hungry I feel after a day of nothing but fruit. Psychosomatic? Hunger is energising? I don’t know.

But it got me thinking about naartjies, our South African word for a tangerine. It’s pronounced “nahr-tchee.” That pronunciation comes specifically from the population of “coloured” people in Cape Town, an ethnically diverse group, some of whom have Malaysian ancestors. The tjie part is diminutive. So I thought, “What’s a ‘naar’ then?” Then I remembered the common Indo-European words for orange, as in the Hindi naarangee, and the Spanish naranja. Could that be the origin of the word? A ‘little orange?’

Edit: A friend with an Afrikaans etymological dictionary says that it’s an adaptation of the Arabic word ‘naranj.’ I had the approximate origin, but it only looks like a diminutive.


Author: singemonkey

A South African interested in public health, travel, making music, and photography

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s