CHAT: geographical nomenclature [was Re: Language of Tetril]
|From:||Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, December 12, 2001, 3:35|
Quoting Michael Poxon <m.poxon@...>:
> Your mention of "Venice, Italy" prompts me to ask a question I
> have been wondering about for a while. Does anyone know the
> origin of this practice (i.e., naming the Country as well as the
> City)? I've never heard it used on this side of the pond (UK) but
> it seems to be standard in the US. "Paris, France" for instance,
> sounds highly weird to me - what other Paris is there?
Because wherever Anglophone settlers moved in the US, and
in most of the rest of the former British Empire, they very
often gave the name of their settlement the same name as one
from their homecountry, or one they happened to admire. In Texas,
alone, for example, there is a Paris, an Athens, a Moscow, a
Vienna, a Dublin, a Stockholm, a Florence, a Lisbon, a Nottingham,
a Manchester, a Stratford, an Aberdeen, a Newcastle, and an Oxford.
Sometimes these cities become more prosperous than their etymons;
Philadelphia, PA, and Memphis, TN, are certainly greater than
the Egyptian cities after which they're named. Perhaps most famously
in American geographical nomenclature, the current town of
Bismarck, South Dakota, changed its name to its current status
back in the 19th century in the hopes that the Iron Chancellor,
who was then still in power, would encourage German investment
there. (Apparently, name changes have been very, very frequent
in Texas, and are sometimes entirely frivolous. My favorite
story is that of Bug Tussle, Texas:
A search at that same sight gives lots of "town name changes":
It's funny that you should mention this. During the dead time
when the list wasn't sending out posts, I had time to waste so
I was browsing through the online records of debates in the new
Scottish Parliament. One was discussing one of the latest
American holidays, Tartan Day, on which Americans of Scottish
descent (like myself) celebrate their Scottish heritage. Naturally,
a great deal of self-congratulation and navel-gazing ensued. (It
was almost surreal to hear one member of the SNP speak so approvingly
of Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich for getting that bill passed,
considering how antithetical the Republicans and the SNP are on
most issues.) It apparently came as quite a shock to them all
when one Parliamentarian mentioned that there are no less than
eight (8) Aberdeens in the United States alone.
What with so many small towns named after great towns, it's not
surprising that people would feel the need to differentiate.
Thomas Wier <trwier@...> <http://home.uchicago.edu/~trwier>
"...koruphàs hetéras hetére:isi prosápto:n /
Dept. of Linguistics mú:tho:n mè: teléein atrapòn mían..."
University of Chicago "To join together diverse peaks of thought /
1010 E. 59th Street and not complete one road that has no turn"
Chicago, IL 60637 Empedocles, _On Nature_, on speculative thinkers