Thursday, January 26, 2006

Who Really Cares About The Olympics, Anyway??

Much has been made (and by "much", I mean, very little) of the official naming of this year's Winter Games as taking place in "Torino", the Italian name for what I guess English speakers have been calling "Turin". I, myself, have only really come across this name when occasionally hearing of reference to the ever-mysterious "Shroud of Turin". Anyway, I guess some people think it's weird that we're using the Italian name for the city. My first response is "who cares, it's just the stupid Olympics", closely followed by my second response, which is "well, it seems reasonable to use the easily-pronounceable local name for the city". Which led to my third response, which was pondering the oft-considered issue of why so many European cities have English names that are radical departures from their "actual" names.

Normally, I would scour the internet for an answer to the origins of this practice, and would eventually either report or not report this information on this site, but if I were to do so I would wait until I had sufficient information to satisfactorily inform the reader. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find all that much information thus far, but NegativeMode told me that today is my day to post, so here is what I've found (I also want to apologize for the overuse, even for me, of quotation marks in this post, but this topic necessarily involves calling attention to particular words):

The Associated Press has a practice of using "English" names for cities, and thus is referring to these Winter Olympics as taking place in "Turin";

Wikipedia maintains a somewhat comprehensive list of European city names in different languages;

That's all.

I propose that for foreigners, Chicago be called "Kilgore" and that Pittsburgh, that great city that lies at the confluence of two great rivers, forming a third river, be called "Petco" (although I would consider different suggestions for alternate names (as you may have guessed, the purpose of this whole post was really just to take issue with the sometimes-misuse of the term "confluence" as referring to the "confluence of three rivers" when, in fact, it is just two rivers flowing together, forming a third, away-flowing river; what say you, NegativeMode?? (also, is it appropriate for me to refer to you as "NegativeMode" while posting on NegativeMode? Ah, mysteries within riddles...))).

Also, I just got a haircut yesterday, which went pretty well.

1 comment:

NegativeMode said...

I'm pretty certain that "Petco" would violate several trademarks and copyrights held by, well, Petco.

Perhaps a better foreign name for Pittsburgh would be "Ohiaheliagheny", which of course would pay homage to the three rivers that merge together in Pittsburgh.