S: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/mar/27/impact-communities-distribution-aid-typhoon-haiyan-philippines (last access: 4 July 2015); http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/11/131107-typhoons-pacific-natural-disasters/ (last access: 4 July 2015).
N: 1. Tiphon “violent storm, whirlwind, tornado,” 1550s, from Greek typhon “whirlwind,” personified as a giant, father of the winds, perhaps from typhein “to smoke” (see typhus), but according to Watkins from PIE dheub- “deep, hollow,” via notion of “monster from the depths.” The meaning “cyclone, violent hurricane of India or the China Seas” is first recorded 1588 in Thomas Hickock’s translation of an account in Italian of a voyage to the East Indies by Caesar Frederick, a merchant of Venice.
This sense of the word, in reference to titanic storms in the East Indies, first appears in Europe in Portuguese in the mid-16th century. It aparently is from tufan, a word in Arabic, Persian, and Hindi meaning “big cyclonic storm.” Yule (“Hobson-Jobson,” London, 1903) writes that “the probability is that Vasco (da Gama) and his followers got the tufao … direct from the Arab pilots.”
The Arabic word sometimes is said to be from Greek typhon, but other sources consider it purely Semitic, though the Greek word might have influenced the form of the word in English. Al-tufan occurs several times in the Koran for “a flood or storm” and also for Noah’s Flood. Chinese (Cantonese) tai fung “a great wind” also might have influenced the form or sense of the word in English, and that term and the Indian one may have had some mutual influence; toofan still means “big storm” in India.
2. A typhoon is a violent tropical cyclone, in meteorological term, which is a low pressure system occurring in tropical oceans. The winds above the ground circulate around the center counterclockwise for a typhoon occurring in the northern hemisphere and clockwise for that occurring in the southern hemisphere. As for the origin of the name, “typhoon” is generally believed to be a phonetic derivation from the Cantonese pronunciation for “windy”. But according to the study of Professor Shao-hao Lin, it is probably a phonetic derivation from the Southern Fukienese pronunciation for “phoon-ty” (wind sieve). As Ding-mei Lu stated in his revised Taiwan County Annals, “The so-called typhoon was a term used by native residents of Taiwan as symbolic description of the phenomenon of hurricanes storming around like a wind sieving the rain. The term was then phonetically transcribed into Chinese characters but misused in reverse order and later evolved into the term “typhoon”. As of today, the Southern Fukienese for typhoon is still pronounced like “phoon-ty” (wind sieve), which further solidifies Professor Lin’s argument. Aside from the digression of being either “windy” or “wind sieving”, typhoon is a violent tropical cyclone over the tropical Northwestern Pacific Ocean.
3. Confused about the difference between a “tropical cyclone” and a “cyclone?” A tropical cyclone is a generic term used by meteorologists to describe a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed, low-level circulation. Once a tropical cyclone reaches maximum sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or higher, it is then classified as a hurricane, typhoon, or cyclone depending upon where the storm originates in the world.
4. Cultural Interrelation:
- Related to Literature, we can mention the novel Typhoon (1899) written by Joseph Conrad (1857-1924).
- Related to Mythology, we can talk about Typhoeus or Typhon, the mightiest and deadliest monster in Greek mythology. He was the last son of Gaea and Tartarus, created as a last attempt to repel the Olympian gods from defeating the Titans during the Titanomachy. Latin, from Greek Typhōn. First Known Use: 14th century.
S: 1. OED – http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=typhoon (last access: 4 July 2015). 2. http://www.cwb.gov.tw/V7e/knowledge/encyclopedia/ty001.htm (last access: 4 July 2015). 3. http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/cyclone.html (last access: 4 July 2015). 4. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3537012-typhoon (last access: 4 July 2015); http://www.greekmythology.com/Other_Gods/Typhoeus/typhoeus.html (last access: 4 July 2015).