Friday, July 12, 2013

The Elephant Seal thing is probably going to have a negative impact on tourism...

The original intention for today was to do 17 orthographic thoughts about Limerick (The City), but I soon discovered that I didn't really have 17 orthographically themed thoughts about Limerick (The City) outside of the fact that in Irish it's name is Luimneach, and thanks to The Lord of the Rings everything written out in Irish looks like it's supposed to be sung by magical elves.

"Poguuuuuue MaHONE.....Ta lourahlourahlourah!"

*It's also apparently in the province of Munster, which is just neat

What I did however discover in my admittedly sparce  research, is that the center portion of the city is actually an Island (the river cuts around it on either side) which is now known as Kings Island.

But originally it was called Inis an Ghaill Duibh (insert singing elves here) which translates to 'The Dark Haired Foreigner's Island', which I'm choosing to interpret as evidence that at some point around 812 AD the island was visited by the Second Doctor.

The point that I'm trying to circle in on here - Before we started thinking about the naming of things as a formalized process, people just called things by whatever reference that they had on hand and everyone else was sort of ok with it.  And so you ended up with place names along the lines of 'The smallish hill next to that mean ladies house', or 'The beach where Joe got raped by that Elephant Seal'

Which reminds me a time a few years ago where someone was trying to publish a map of Olde London Towne circa the time of the Great Fire (That would be September 1666 for those Americans in the audience who might be forgiven for never having heard of the event as it didn't happen to us so why would we bother knowing about it.)

The problem that they ran into while putting the map together is that there were a number of streets whose names were a little more on the 'colorful' side than we modern folk are used to seeing.  'Shithouse Street' being one of the tamer examples that they actually were able to get away with printing.

In the Continental US things are a little different.  We don't have a thousand odd years of living here to have gotten used to the old names just sticking around.  Place names in the US are typically a zesty mixture of ridiculously optimistic praise selected by settlers who were just happy to have finally freakin' arrived at the damn place ( 'Eden Prairie', 'Golden Valley', 'New Hope', etc.), and adopted titles from the Athapaskan of Algonquin names for the region ('Shakopee', 'Keewatin', et al., which by and large probably are along the lines of 'the smallish hill by that mean woman's house', but since we don't speak the languages in question we simply don't notice.  That said, Shakopee could equally well be Ojibwe for 'Look at me, I'm a stupid pale moron who like to eat butt' and they just told the settlers it was someone's name as some sort of elaborate practical joke.  In fact, I kind of hope it does, now that I think of it.)

Look out for those elephant seals

-Vizsla Out

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