Name game

Jul 21st
Posted by shambo  as Language
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Let me say this about that.

The English language was quite useful for communication – that is until the Americans got hold of it.¬† You can’t really tell what something is just by the English name given to it.¬† Everyone has heard the old adage: “Why do Americans drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?”¬† But non-sensical Americanized names of people, places, and things¬† are all around us.

I used to own property near¬†the small¬† western North Carolina town Andrews.¬† Andrews sits in a valley between two mountain ranges.¬† The valley¬†is named¬†the “River Valley” because of the river that runs through it.¬† The name of the river is the “Valley River.”¬† Apparently this part of Appalachia has fewer words in their vocabulary than the rest of America, so they must economize.

And speaking of geography, where exactly is…¬†¬†¬† the “Deep South”?¬† Does the term describe depth or direction?¬† If you go as far south as you can¬†in the continental U.S., you find yourself in Key West.¬† And Key West, my friends, is about as opposite¬†to the “South” as you can get.¬† This small island town¬†is completely devoid of Bubbas, Rednecks, Crackers, Ridge Runners, or Hillbillies.¬† Outside San Francisco, Key¬†West is host to¬†the largest gay community in America, and¬†BMWs out number pickup trucks ten to one.¬† How many gay, BMW¬†driving, rednecks have you ever met?¬†¬†So exactly where is the “Deep South”?

And why is North Carolina in the “South” and¬†South Dakota in the “North”?

Sports is full of odd nomenclature.¬† For example, why are boxing matches held in a “boxing ring” when the “ring” is really a square?¬† In football, why is a ball that is kicked through a pair of posts called a “goal”¬† when the “goal” has already been achieved?¬† Before it’s done,¬†it’s not a goal, but becomes a goal only after it’s accomplished.¬† Weird.

Baseball has names just as goofy.¬† If a batter swings at a pitch, and misses, it’s called a “strike” even though the batter did not¬†“strike” the ball at all.¬† You can also “steal” a base, even though the base is never actually removed from the field of play.¬† I’ve actually seen a particular base stolen more than once in¬†the same¬†game because the first guy to steal it never took it anywhere.

The names given to people sometimes are the most curious.¬† I had a roommate my freshman year of college whose name was Alton Cherry.¬† He was the recipient of much grief from his buddies because of his effeminate sounding name.¬† There wasn’t much we could do with his family name, so we decided to help the young lad out by giving him a masculine sounding nickname.¬† And,¬†as¬†is the case with¬†most college age males, we felt the need to¬†demonstrate our high regard for social sensitivity.¬† So¬†we nicknamed him “Buster”.¬†¬† Good ‘ol Buster Cherry.

And, that’s all I have to say about that.

Shambo

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