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French translation help needed

Posted by Van King  
Van King November 18, 2011 06:12PM
I was reading a passage that listed mineral specimens in a collection. The passage was written in 1836 and says: "... enfin de l'or de Virginie, de la Caroline et de la Georgie; et des rutiles et des gergons des Etats du Sud." What does "gergons" mean?

Best Wishes, Van King

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/2011 11:28AM by Rock Currier.
Jean-Marc Johannet November 18, 2011 09:45PM
"Gergons" is not any more present in a common French dictionary.
As David thought it would be an old synonym for "jargon" but by the way that doesn't light us about the meaning of Van citation.
Maybe a wrong reading of a hand writing paper.
Van King November 18, 2011 10:08PM
This is not handwriting, but it is in a printed book. The reference is:

Anonymous, 1836, De l'étude des sciences naturelles aux États-Unis et de ceux qui les cultivent, Revue Britannique ou Choix D'Articles Traduit des Meilleurs Écrits Périodiques, v. 22, p. 78-79.

Yes, the reason that I asked is that the word is not currently in any French dictionary I could find. Yes, it could be a strange typographical error. The word appears in the last sentence of the first paragraph on page 79. Book is available at Google Books

Best Wishes, Van King
Vik Vanrusselt November 18, 2011 10:19PM
Hello Van (and everyone else),

There is an order of corals called the "Gorgonacea" or "Gorgonians" ("Gorgones" in French).

The English name of these animals is "Sea Whips" or "Sea Fans".

In Dutch that order of corals is called "Hoornkoralen", which translated into English means "Horn Corals".

Would that make any sense in this context?

I found the exact passage in another book on Google Books (not the one Van cites): "Cinq Mois aux Etats-Unis de l'Amérique du Nord, depuis le 29 avril jusqu'au 23 septembre 1835. Journal de voyage de M. Ramon de la Sagra" dated 1837.

Translated: "Five months in the United States of North America, from 29 April until 23 September 1835. Travel Journal of M. Ramon de la Sagra."

This is apparently a book translated from Spanish into French, and gergones (with E as the second letter instead of an A) is most likely just a typo.

If any of you have any more translation questions (for Dutch, English, French or German), you can always send me a PM.


P.S.: a few lines above the 'gargones' is the word "sparraguines", does anyone have any idea what that means?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/18/2011 11:38PM by Vik Vanrusselt.
Matt Neuzil November 18, 2011 11:58PM
havent looked at the context tried a very short time trying to find translation in spanish and french found nothing.. reminded me much of asparagine, the amino acid found in asparagus,

A buena hambre no hay pan duro
Matt Neuzil November 19, 2011 12:06AM
i dont know if was the intentions on google. but you notice that the word is kind of an ugly color green? so maybe it does refer to asparagus but as a color? it is referring to magnificent amphiboles of new york. for that i think we know. it must be modifying that

A buena hambre no hay pan duro
Van King November 19, 2011 03:02PM
Thank you! The idea that gergons was jargon had crossed my mind, but I had not seen it in print! My interest was that this passage is the only description I had found of von Lederer's mineral collection. I a writing a biography of him for Journal of the Geoliterary Society. My next challenge is for someone to find a picture of him, probably in an old Austrian book of famous people or political figures. There is an engraving of the Baron by Leopold, but I do not where it might have been published. I am also wishing to know of the Baron's interests in minerals and botany in Austria and any European mineral collectors he interacted with. I have 30 pages of his US activities. My grade school French and college German classes are far enough behind me that I admit to using "Giggle" Translator. This is the first paragraph of the biography, so far:
"Alois Joseph Xavar von Lederer was the fifth child of August <1723 Grossenhain, Saxony – 1795> and Sabrina (von Erientl) <†1796> von Lederer. August Gottlob von Lederer, who was the first in the family line of the barony of Lederer, was bestowed with that title in 1778 and he, himself, was descended though a line of important political figures and important civil servants. Alois' grandfather was at one time the Domain Administrator of Kur-Saxony and who later negotiated the peace treaty ending the Seven Years War on March 15, 1763. In 1750, August Gottlob Lederer was an official in the supreme council of Wien (Vienna) and in 1758 was the Secretary in the Supreme Council. August was also one time head of the Belgian department of the Holy Roman Empire. Alois' siblings were well-known in their own right, particularly his very successful older brother, Ignaz Ludwig Paul Freiherr von Lederer, who eventually rose to the rank of Field Marshall in the Austrian army. Alois' son, Carl, was a career diplomat and eventually Austrian ambassador to the United States in 1868. Alois lived in a number of locations in Manhattan, New York City: 13 Murray Street , 12 St. Mark's Place , 72 Greenwich . Joseph A. Gordon was listed as vice consul from Austria at 38 South Street in 1833. An Eric E. Petersen is listed as a “Danish & Austrian consul” at 118 Pearl Street in 1827. Alois had a summer house in Newburgh on the Hudson River as early as November 1823 when he was mentioned as a resident of Newburgh (Anonymous, 1824). On May 10, 1824, Alois appeared before a notary public in Newburgh, where the gave testimony concerning the value of Spanish money and interest rates in Spain."

Best Wishes, Van King
Johan Kjellman November 19, 2011 03:29PM
Van, could you please submit the direct google books link, I cannot find it!
Google books is great but it is not consistent in terms of searching/finding the books. Sometimes one find them through title sometimes through author sometimes other ways - very much "human factor" involved in the logging of the google books items...


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/19/2011 03:54PM by Johan Kjellman.
David Von Bargen November 19, 2011 03:58PM
Guide to the materials for American history in Swiss and Austrian archives By Albert Bernhardt Faust

Portrait of Lederer, with following note:
Alois, Freiherr von Lederer, K. k. Oest. Consul-general in North America, was entrusted in 1819 with the attachment of the diplomatic relations with the Republic of the United States. He New York as the most suitable central point was to fulfill his duty and knew it because his office there until 1838, which were then part of both States creirt Gesandschaftsposten. On 27 August 1829 he signed the first trade and navigation treaty with the United States of America.
Van King November 21, 2011 04:48PM
The portrait mentioned is certainly not an engraving, but possibly either a pencil sketch or even a painting. If someone went to the Austrian State Archive, Nottendorfer Gasse 2, 1030 Vienna, Austria, It might be determined what was sent in the quoted package. If it were a painting, it would probably be in a hall somewhere where diplomat paintings are hung. The reference I am looking for is an engraving that was published in a book and which may be a different image than the portrait. The Natural History Museum had access to the book, but would not reveal its title. The conflict of interest is that "for only 100 Euros", the would have sent me a "nice" photocopy. I've searched 19th century books using "diplomatischen Porträts von Österreich" as the keywords. If you add Lederer as a keyword, there are zero hits. Not surprisingly, when one searches Google images, few of the "hits" contain Lederer at the websites.

Best Wishes, Van King
Ken Doxsee December 09, 2011 10:48PM
On Some Interesting Derivations of Mineral Names
Author(s): F. M. Endlich; Source: The American Naturalist, Vol. 22, No. 253 (Jan., 1888), pp. 21-32

On page 31:
ZIRCON.-The derivation of this name is somewhat peculiar. For many years the Island of Ceylon furnished gems and half gems. Some of the latter were utilized to imitate their more valu- able associates. Such were called jargon in French.' Among them were some colorless crystals, and others of yellow and reddish shades, which turned white and clear under the application of heat. These were especially desirable for the imitation of diamond, and to them the name jargon finally attached itself almost exclusively. In the middle of the last century Linnoeus describes this mineral under the name of jargon in such a manner that its identity can be established. He states (Ed. Gmelin, 1777) that the (presumably German) jewelers' name for reddish jargons which turned colorless in the fire was " Cerkonier" (Cerkon), and that they exhibited the fire and lustre of the poorer quality of diamonds. In 1783, Werner, the famous mineralogist of Freiberg, produced the name Zirkon for this mineral. In ordinary parlance, the zircon is known as jargon in France to-day, so that the accepted scientific name is to be regarded as a corruption of the popular one.

1. Linnaeus mentions Fr. jargon and It. sargone, yellow diamonds- the inferior class-whence the name may have been transferred to the stones which counterfeited the valuable gem.
Van King January 19, 2012 06:11PM
Does this mean that Mindat has to change its explanation of the origin of the name "zircon"? The current cited name derivation would seem incorrect if your reference were correct.

Best Wishes, Van King
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