Date: Mon, 28 Nov 1994 23:09:06 EST


Subject: The great California freeway isogloss revisited

I think we've had a couple of recent threads on the division separating the

southern Californians with their determined freeways (I was driving down the

605/the 101/the 880...) from their northern cousins who eschew the articles.

(I think it has to be a three-digit, or at least a two-digit, freeway number.)

I have another source to bring to the table. In the newest Sue Grafton

alphabet detective series entry, K is for Killer, on p. 124, there are THREE

different references to 'the 101'. From her airplane seat on the Santa

Teresa-San Francisco shuttle, Kinsey Millhone (protagonist and narrator)

'could see the 101' near Santa Maria and Paso Robles. She lands at SFO and by

11:05 'was on the 101, heading north toward the city'. And finally, in the

city itself, she continues on as 'the 101 dwindled down to a surface road'.

Crucially, both Kinsey and her creator are from Santa Barbara (although in the

former's case the city is referred to by its Twin Earth name, Santa Teresa),

thus extending the isogloss 90 miles north of L.A. I'm sure no

self-respecting San Franciscan would refer to the Bayshore Freeway (north from

the airport), much less (MUCH much less) Van Ness Avenue through the city as

'the 101'.

Well, at least the cliffside highway overlooking Big Sur has not yet been

redubbed 'the 1' so far as I know. Even by Angelenos.

--Larry Horn