Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Brest Hill Castle United v Bear Guard Home Villa: Match Postponed

You'll need to click on this to increase its size I'd imagine, but it's worth it. From here, via the very wonderful Strange Maps, which also has a helpful commentary on the etymology.

But Language Log picks holes in the underlying thinking - and the underlying politics:

there's a ... fundamental flaw to this project. Calling these glosses "true names" is nothing more than the etymological fallacy on a grand geographic scale. Does rendering New York as "New Wild Boar Village" really tell you "what the people saw when they first looked at a place, almost with the eyes of children"? ..... Even when the toponyms are .... descriptive, rather than relating to the settlers' origins, the names are hardly pure and childlike. In many parts of the world, place names actually tell messy narratives of colonial encounters or other cultural contact situations. Wiping away all that history might make the world seem more like Tolkien's Middle Earth, but it doesn't tell us anything "true.""

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