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Tadpole's post today about NoEgg reminded me of how a certain city was named.

In the 1850's a British officer aboardf ship off the Alaska coast, noting that a nearby prominent point was not identified on his a manuscript map, wrote "? Name" at that spot on the map. When the map was recopied, the draftsman read the "?" was a "C" and the "a" as an "o", and hence noted it as "Cape Nome" -- and from there the official British Admiralty maps. The cape in turn gave its name to the city of Nome, Alaska.

Probably many other places were named oddly, though not necessarily by error. Anyone know of others?
 
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Well there is always Chicken. Alaska, though the story of how it got its name is probably apocryphal.

Glaubt es mir - das Geheimnis, um die größte Fruchtbarkeit und den größten Genuß vom Dasein einzuernten, heisst: gefährlich leben.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Read all about my travels around the world here.
Read even more of my travel writing and poems on my weblog.
 
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Or Yucatan in Mexico - which was the Mayan for "I don't know" - said to be the answer that the natives gave to the Spanish explorers when they asked the name of the peninsular.

Or that's how it was told to me.

Richard English
 
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I couldn't find validation of this, but we were told that when the Indians came to our village, they said "Winnetka", which apparently means "beautiful land" in the native Indian language.

Now, I looked on the Web for ideas for other city names, and I found this Web site about "Morgantown", which I just had to post about for Morgan!
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
Or Yucatan in Mexico - which was the Mayan for "I don't know" - said to be the answer that the natives gave to the Spanish explorers when they asked the name of the peninsular.


Similarly, I read somewhere long ago that "kangaroo," in response to the question "What to you call that weird jumping possum thing over there?" is Native Aboriginal for "Hey, you pasty-faced thug! Shove off!" or something to that effect.

Either story could be apocryphal. You know how these things go.
 
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I know I'm not the only Straight Doper around here.

Check it out:
Names, Nomes, and Kangaroos
 
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A mountain range near my home has an interesting name - Urewera. The story behinds its naming is amusing, possibly apocryphal, but definitely painful. On a more prosaic note, a river very close to where I live is called the Tutaekuri. I shall leave it to y'all to translate both names, to avoid upsetting any with delicate sensibilities.
 
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A long time ago, when the western part of North America was full of towns with no names, three characters, Al, a rather sickly man, George, and his young son Jim, were headed west.

Al had one goal in life. He wanted a town to be named after him.

One day Al got sick, so they had to stop, hoping his health would improve. In his delirium he kept raving about wanting a town named after him. George constantly reassured Al that he'd get better and eventually accomplish his goal.

Finally, Al decided that he could travel no more. He pleaded with George to take his son and go on, and he begged George to name a town for him. "Sure, sure, Al. I'll be sure to do that," said George.

The next morning, as George and Jim were fading into the distance, Al summoned all his strength to once more remind them of his goal. "Name a town after me, George," he yelled.

Jim, a very polite and respectful boy, shouted in reply, "I'll make sure he does that, Mr. Buquerque."

That's how Albuquerque got its name.
 
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Right....and the pope is Jewish, too? Big Grin

Welcome back, Jerry! We missed you!
 
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Quite possibly the oddest of all place names might be "Truth or Consequences, New Mexico." This came about from a challenge that the quiz show "Truth or Consequences" put out in the late 1950's for any town in the country to rename themselves after this show in exchange for them taping a program (or maybe a week's or a year's worth, I don't recall) there.

One town took them up on it but there are some residents who still see the name as being insufferably foolish and refuse to identify their hometown by anything other than by its original name "Hot Springs."


Similarly, there is a little town in the state of Montana that renamed itself after football legend Joe Montana.

I'm trying to get New York City to consider the name CJ Strolinville but so far have received no reply to my correspondence.
 
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While in Buffalo this weekend I saw highway signs mentioning the town of Fredonia, reminding me of the movie Duck Soup, in which Groucho Marx plays the president of the mythical country of Fredonia. The best data I can find is that that town was part of the vaudeville circuit on which the Marx Brothers performed. But this was also found:
quote:
The town's mayor wrote an angry letter to Paramount shortly after the film's release. "The name of Fredonia has been without a blot since 1817," he declared. "I feel it is my duty as Mayor to question your intentions in using the name of our city in your picture."

Groucho promptly composed a reply: "Your Excellency, our advice is that you change the name of your town. It is hurting our picture. Anyhow, what makes you think you're Mayor of Fredonia? Do you wear a black moustache, play a harp, speak with an Italian accent or chase girls like Harpo? We are certain you do not. Therefore, we must be Mayor of Fredonia, not you. The old gray Mayor ain't what he used to be."
 
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I'm trying to get New York City to consider the name CJ Strolinville but so far have
received no reply to my correspondence.
------------------------------------
You might try bluffing and say that Intercourse, PA was named after you. (That's verbal intercourse, of [inter] course!)
 
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Actually those Pennsylvania Dutch must have been quite wild because they also have the city names of Fertility, Desire and Climax! There is also a Blueballs, PA!
 
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Desire and Climax! There is also a Blueballs, PA!
----------------------------------------
Desire without Climax might result in Blueballs, but not otherwise, so those Dutch had things a bit askew.

The best we can do here in Oregon is Beaverton. We do have a phallic geographic formation that the prudish types renamed Rooster Rock from its original name, Cock Rock.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Asa Lovejoy:
Cock Rock.


Wasn't that a PBS series of very short animated features set to music for the purpose of providing five- to 10-year-olds the basics in sex education? (My favorite was "Sexual Dysfunction Junction.")
 
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(My favorite was
"Sexual Dysfunction Junction.")
-----------------------------------------
Right. They filmed it in Viagra Falls, NY.
 
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I don't know about the kangaroo, but I did hear that budgerigar means "good to eat".
 
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quote:
Originally posted by C J Strolin:
I'm trying to get New York City to consider the name CJ Strolinville but so far have received no reply to my correspondence.


Once upon a time I lived in the Bronx. The telephone number was OLinville 5-3190.

Now all you have to do is get them to add back the "CJSTR" and do away with all-digit dialing again !
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Asa Lovejoy:
The best we can do here in Oregon is Beaverton.

Don't forget Wankers Corner. It's just south of Portland, near Idiotville. (Wankers Corner seems to be a legitimate place, but I’m not sure about Idiotville. I suspect it’s just a joke. I’ve also seen references to Idiotville, CA and Idiotville, SD.)

When you tire of the night life in Wankers Corner, come on up to Humptulips, WA for a new experience. Or perhaps you might try Big Bone Lick State Park in Big Bone, Kentucky. If you decide to go to Fucking, Austria(pronounced “Fooking”), be sure to stop by Condom, France, first.

NationMaster lists several "interesting or unusual place names". (These are Wikipedia articles.) I doubt that all of these are legit.

Tinman

[This message was edited by tinman on Wed Oct 1st, 2003 at 23:52.]
 
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quote:
Originally posted by haberdasher:
Once upon a time I lived in the Bronx. The telephone number was _OLinville_ 5-3190.


Interesting! Once upon a time we were neighbors. I was born and raised in Norwalk, Connecticut and, as a teenager, would occasionally venture into the Bronx whenever I and my candy-assed suburbinite friends wanted to get our asses kicked. If we were feeling particularly reckless, we'd drive a few extra miles and antagonize some of the locals across the state line in New Jersey.

I swear, I'm lucky to be alive...
 
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From the web:

In 1927, two geologists, responsible for naming many of the small streams in Alaska, found themselves without inspiration. Their well of names had run dry, so to speak, yet there was still another river to name. So that's what they called it: Another River.
 
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Don't forget Wankers Corner.
-------------------------------------------
Obviously, I DID forget. I've been there many times, since my previous girlfriend, who lived in Lake Oswego, had friends in Wilsonville, and Wankers Corners is right between them.

Oh, yeah, a few miles up the road one finds a homophobic burial ground. I kid you not, in Oregon City there's the historic Straight Pioneer Cemetery!
 
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Urewera - burnt penis? Have I got that right? Eek
 
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Can't wait to hear from max on this. Eek How appropriate for a thread titled "oddly birthed" names.
 
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I vaguely recall hearing that Exton, Pennsylvania was named because the location, on a map, was marked by an x for the town.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Ros:
Urewera - burnt penis? Have I got that right? Eek


Yes, absolutely. The legend is that a certain chieftain hot a little too close to the campfire one chilly night. This in the time when the fashion was for a a skirt made of dried grass - a few well-placed sparks, and, Urewera!
 
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I found this website on Te Urewera. There are a lot of names in the article I wish I knew how to pronounce. Can you give us a brief primer, Max? I did find an online English - Mäori Word Translator
 
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I found this website on Te Urewera. Here's an online English - Mäori Word Translator. If you go to this website and click on "Who's linking to this site?", you'll get a long list of other sites. Here's one I picked out on Mäori language (it's a reprint of a Wikipedia article). What sites do you recommend, Max?

Tinman

[This message was edited by tinman on Mon Oct 13th, 2003 at 1:40.]
 
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Thanks Max! I have a book on the origin of New Zealand place names, but that rather coyly mentions "burnt" but refrains from explaining which bit of the chief was burnt!

The other one, Tutaekuri, is something to do with dogs, isn't it?

Ros
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Ros:
Thanks Max! I have a book on the origin of New Zealand place names, but that rather coyly mentions "burnt" but refrains from explaining which bit of the chief was burnt!

The other one, Tutaekuri, is something to do with dogs, isn't it?

Ros


Yes, it is something to do with dogs, or rather tutae is something done by dogs. tutae is coarse Maaori, and means shot, if you change the vowel. It amuses me to invite visitors to go for a swim in the Tutaekuri.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by tinman:
I found this website on http://www.hawkesbay.com/places/waikaremoana/urewera. Here's an online http://kel.otago.ac.nz/translator/Translate.php3?LANGUAGE_NAME=English. If you go to this website and click on "Who's linking to this site?", you'll get a long list of other sites. Here's one I picked out on http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Maori-language (it's a reprint of a Wikipedia article). What sites do you recommend, Max?

Tinman

[This message was edited by tinman on Mon Oct 13th, 2003 at 1:40.]


The Wikipedia article is very good, and I use the Otago translator a lot myself. I especially like the the comparisons between Maaori and Hawaaian in the Wikipedia site. The vowels in Maaori are pure, there are no diphthongs in the English sense -"ao" is pronounced exactly as "a" and then "o", just real fast. Before visiting San Marino earlier this year, I had been told that Maaori soldiers who fought in Italy in WWII found the language easy to pick up, perhaps at least partly because the vowels in both languages are identical. To test this, I asked some sammarinese friends to pronounce a Maaori phrase that I wrote out - every one of them pronounced it perfectly. So, if you speak Italian well, you have the hardest aspect of Te Reo Maaori down pat already. Ka kite.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Ros:
Urewera - burnt penis? Have I got that right? Eek


On a related note, a place name that shows hows some preoccupations are truly universal, transcending all boundaries of time, distance and culture - Urenui.
 
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Urenui = big penis?

Mäori pronunciation sounds very similar to Japanese, also. I believe the romanization of Japanese was based on Italian.

Tinman

[This message was edited by tinman on Mon Oct 13th, 2003 at 20:08.]
 
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quote:
Originally posted by tinman:
Urenui = big penis?

Mäori pronunciation sounds very similar to Japanese, also. I believe the romanization of Japanese was based on Italian.

Tinman

[This message was edited by tinman on Mon Oct 13th, 2003 at 20:08.]


Yes, Maaori vowels are similar to Japanese vowels, according to people I've met who speak both, and yes, Urenui does indeed translate as the name of Incontinentia Buttocks' husband.
 
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I assumed as much for Urenui - my book says it means great courage, but having decoded Urewera, it was pretty easy to see that the book was being coy again!

Ros
 
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I just stumbled on this report in the press:

The Butt of All Jokes: A British couple have been forced to move house because of the problems caused by living in Butt Hole Road. Paul and Lisa Allott have sold their £150,000 bungalow in Conisbrough, northern England after living there for just 15 months because they were fed up with the constant leg-pulling.

The site, for those who like that sort of thing, seems to have an interesting and frequently-updated selection of off-beat news stories.
 
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While not quite up to Max' standards, there are the Mountains here in the USA called The Grand Tetons. Translation from French: Big Tits.
 
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Without wishing to re-open the possessive apostrophe topic (and if you believe that you'll believe anything!) are we speaking here of standards that belong to, or are attributed to, Max?

If this is the case, then the possessive form is "Max's standards". And if you don't like that formation, then re-write the sentence!

Richard English
 
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I remember that some of us used to say "Shufitz' wife", before all this apostrophe talk. Sometimes there is a confusion, at least in the U.S., with apostrophes following "z's" and "x's".
 
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OK, go ahead and flagellate me! I forgot the "s."

Asa the idiot who can't type
 
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Asa the savant who can't type.
 
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Asa the savant who can't typpe.
 
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There is indeed. As there is also confusion about whether the possessive of "it" takes an apostrophe. The confusion is simply because those who are confused don't know which is right and which is wrong!

Max's dog; the fez's colour - those are right. Max' dog; the fez' colour - those are wrong!

Richard English
 
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Richard is, as he sometimes does, being a trifle disingenuous here. If what you would say (sort of phonetically and ignoring punctuation) is
"Shoe fits wife is Kalleh" then what you should write is
"Shufitz' wife is Kalleh."

On the other hand if what you would say is " Shoe fitses wife is Kalleh." then what you would write is
"Shufitz's wife is Kalleh."

When it comes to names the rules are not (necessarily) the same. With a name the "correct" form is whatever the person whose name it is chooses to say and use.

If I chose to spell my name Bob! Hale or perhaps Bob? Hale then that is my (admittedly idiosyncratic) choice and should be respected. With the formation of a possessive, I believe that it should reflect the chosen pronunciation - with or without an appended "iz" sound for words ending in an "s" sound".

Glaubt es mir - das Geheimnis, um die größte Fruchtbarkeit und den größten Genuß vom Dasein einzuernten, heisst: gefährlich leben.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Read all about my travels around the world here.
Read even more of my travel writing and poems on my weblog.
 
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The confusion is simply because those who are confused don't know which is right and which is wrong!
Now, Richard. You know I like you. I even drink your beer!

However, when we are posting here, sometimes we all make a few mistakes. Let's overlook them. Now, if the question had been about the use of the apostrophe, it would be one thing. However, it hardly would be useful....nor even fun....to look for everyone's mistakes.
 
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Indeed. But you did say, "Sometimes there is a confusion, at least in the U.S., with apostrophes following "z's" and "x's". I did not infer from that that the confusion was your own and thus my comment was not a criticism of your own use of English.

Bob is right, of course, people are allowed to use whatever idiosyncratic spellings of their names they wish. However, I am willing to bet that many of those who use constructions of the ilk "...Shufitz' wife is Kalleh..." will still pronounce the phrase as if it were written "...Shufitz's wife is Kalleh...".

Certainly I doubt that any of those who write "...my boss' office..." would pronounce it that way. They would say "...my boss's office..." and that's as it should be written!

Richard English
 
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Glad we got that straight. Yes, I did make that comment about "x's" and "z's", thereby opening up that discussion.

I was talking about the original apostrophe comment.
 
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If graphemes represent phonemes, why restrict the graphemes to letters and numerals? How about declaring to the World that the apostrophe in such words as "boss'" and "Shufitz'" is pronounced the same as the "z" ???
 
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OK, first off, I really don't think we need to be overly worried about any of us taking offense if any of our posts should happen to be the subject of some gentle and respectful correction or adverse observation. Not amongst the regulars, anyway. We all know each other better than that, right? As a case in point, if I were to suggest that:

quote:
Originally posted by BobHale:
Richard is, as he sometimes does, being a trifle disingenuous here.


is an example of some fairly tortured syntax, I doubt B.H. would take any serious offense. It's only slightly more of an error than a common typo, something that (thankfully) we almost never pounce upon as they do on other boards I've seen. I know that he's well aware that the verbs "is" and "does" are different and to contrast them this way can't help jar the sensibilities of the more linguistically sensitive among us. In fact, I'm mildly surprised I beat R.E. to the punch on this one.

I would have phrased it "R.E., that lovable old poop, is being a bit disingenuous here as is his wont" even knowing that the use of "as is his wont" is a bit dated and not often used amongst common people today. (The accent there is on the word "common" so no further comment is required.)


Now, the z's situation. R.E., you have caused me to see the light! Somewhat. In some cases, anyway...

From here on in, I will use "Max's dog" and "the fez's color" although not because of the rule as you state it but simply because both cases appeal to my sense of esthetics. They simply look better than "Max' dog" or "the fez' color." BUT! For reasons I myself don't completely understand, "Shufitz' wife" just seems correct and, as such, will continue to be my choice. Inconsistent? Of course, but English is riddled with similar inconsistencies.

As I've suggested before, whenever you are in doubt concerning this subject (or any other, for that matter) the best course of action would be to simply do it my way.

(There. That's settled!)
 
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quote:
Originally posted by C J Strolin:
I doubt B.H. would take any serious offense.


I demand an unconditional retraction and full apology for your remarks immediately.
You may be expecting a call from Disney's lawyers but you should also expect a call from mine.

Glaubt es mir - das Geheimnis, um die größte Fruchtbarkeit und den größten Genuß vom Dasein einzuernten, heisst: gefährlich leben.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Read all about my travels around the world here.
Read even more of my travel writing and poems on my weblog.
 
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