Date: Thu, 1 Dec 1994 00:04:22 EST
From: Larry Horn LHORN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YALEVM.CIS.YALE.EDU
Subject: Re: 'the' in place names (Kaye)
In relation to Vicki's comments below: First, El Bronx is better than Los
Bronx, etymology aside--after all, The Bronx IS (not ARE) up and the Battery
down. Second, I grew up in Washington Heights (163rd St.) in the late 40's
and early 50's and never heard "the Heights" for it. Brooklyn Heights, si;
Washington Heights, no.
As for those freeways, while I'm still in the autobiographical mode, I
concur with the suggestion that both the (optional) move from names to numbers
and the (apparently obligatory) move to the 'the 405' (in place of '405' for
what I remember as the San Diego Freeway) are fairly recent developments.
I do remember, though, 'the 605' for what was evidently named, but not
generally referred to as, the San Gabriel Freeway. I agree that the article
in these (and in 'the Mission [District]') represents a remnant from the full
moniker, e.g. 'the 405 freeway', on the pattern of 'the San Diego Freeway'.
Odd that one of these truncations seems to have occurred only in southern
California and the other only in San Francisco. I guess a Whorfian would
draw some sort of inference about the attitudes of Angelenos and San
Franciscans toward their freeways and neighborhoods respectively. --Larry
The most famous "the" anomaly in English geography may be
"The Bronx" (which can be explained historically, but is
still anomalous); the local Spanish press duly translates
this, and refers to "El Bronx" (though if one were to follow
the historical explanation, it should probably be "Los Bronx").
New York City also has two neighborhoods with "Heights" in their
name, Washington Heights and Brooklyn Heights, either of which
may be referred to as "the Heights," but that's a more
straightforward shortening, I think.
Associate Editor, Computing Reviews
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