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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": < TSHA&dbs=TSHA&shs_action=&multi=1&num_docs=50&query=town+name+change &searchButton=Search>) 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@...> <> "...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


Michael Poxon <m.poxon@...>
nicole dobrowolski <fuzzybluemonkeys@...>
Barry Garcia <barry_garcia@...>