Saturday, August 11, 2012

Simba, Pumbaa, and Other Swahili Names From "The Lion King"

Recently I decided to learn a bit of Swahili, and I have stumbled across a few things that I thought were quite interesting!  For instance, did you know that "Safari" meant "Trip" in Swahili?  I certainly didn't!  And the old movie entitled "Hatari!" actually means "Danger!" in Swahili!  Who knew! 

As I continued to learn more, I came across something else interesting.  As I was learning the animal names, I found that "Duma" meant "Cheetah," which excited me, as one of the main cheetah stars from BBC's "Big Cat Diary," one of the later seasons, is named Duma.  Next, I found out that "Chui" meant "Leopard...." and guess what?  There was a leopard named Chui, too!

Then, I found that "Simba" meant "Lion."  There was, of course, a lion that went by the name of Simba, in the first season of Big Cat Diary, I believe.  I had just assumed he was named after Simba from "The Lion King," which is still a possibility, but it could really go either way.

But I think it clear where the name of "Simba" came from for the Lion King.  As a matter of fact, many of the characters have names that mean something else in other languages.  For example, Ed, the hyena, is actually short for "Edward" in English.  Below is a list of others.

  1. Nala - Gift
  2. Pumbaa - Simpleton
  3. Rafiki - Friend
  4. Sarabi - Mirage
  5. Shenzi - Uncouth
  6. Sarafina - Bright Star
  7. Banzai - Skulk, or Lurk

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